In a move that has come sooner than we expected, Microsoft on Wednesday announced that the long-awaited official support for Office documents was now available on the iPhone. The Redmond-based company came to its competitor's platform through a new Office 365 app, which will require users to have a subscription to manage documents.
The app is now available on the App Store, and upon first boot will require you to sign-in with the Microsoft account associated with your Office 365 account. From there, you can access all your documents from SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro.
Supported documents include Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. Each type of document can be edited to your own satisfaction. Microsoft is aiming for a connected service across all platforms with its Office 365 product, so changes will also be reflected on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
The home page of the Office 365 for iOS app includes the ability to open any document found in your SkyDrive. A "Recent" section will display what you've been working on, but there's also an "Open" tab to get back to everything you've ever created in the cloud. Additionally, you'll find a "New" tab, where you can create documents from scratch.
Speaking about the possibility of an iPad app with the same Office 365 functionality, Microsoft points us in another direction.
"We built Office Mobile for iPhone to ensure a great Office experience when using a small screen device, similar to Office Mobile for Windows Phone," Microsoft said in a blog post. "If you have an iPad, we recommend using Office Web Apps that provide the best Office experience on a tablet. We have made great enhancements to Office Web Apps including an improved touch experience for tablet users."
Surprisingly, Microsoft wasn't keen on releasing a fully fledged documents to take on the likes of Apple's Pages, Keynotes, and Numbers that are a flat fee from the App Store. According to ZDNet in April, an Office for iOS and Android app was in the works for 2014. It's not clear if the Office for iOS app differs from the Office 365 for iOS app released on Friday.