Through the decades, we've never known anything else but Microsoft Word for Windows and Mac. In late March, however, Microsoft brought its monolithic word processing software to the iPad, a totally new paradigm from its PC legacy. Right away we see the familiar workings of Word, including cross-platform file compatibility. But it's also developed with many of the key technologies and User Interface concepts so well appreciated on the iPad. It's a sight to behold.
There is something very important to know about this suite of apps developed for the iPad. Microsoft claims that the software was designed from the ground up to be office, but at the same time, to be designed for the iPad. That is not just an empty marketing claim.
In this reviewer's opinion, that's exactly what Microsoft achieved. In reality, the company had little choice because it had to comply with all the iOS developer rules and implement the software within the iOS frameworks.
Against that, Microsoft then had to instantiate enough of Word's functionality so that imported files from a PC or Mac can maintain file compatibility and document change tracking can be achieved cross-platform. In my mind, is a distinct achievement, and it's so important for collaborative work.
This will be an unconventional review of just the Word app because of all the above. Word is a complex product, so the real question is, how well did Microsoft implement Word on an iPad? (And, as an aside, why iPad first and not Android? Daniel Eran Dilger explains.) Plus, there are some basics to know when it comes to get up and running. These are important, so I'll try to address the key considerations.
Much of this discussion also applies to the other apps in the suite: Excel and PowerPoint.
A section of one of my test documents.
Next: Part 2