7. Look and Feel
In the past, Steve Jobs accused Microsoft of not having good taste. That may apply to some areas, but it certainly does't apply to Word on the iPad. The first thing to notice is that the overall look and feel, the layout, the tabs, the selected fonts, the various shades of blue and gray, all make for a very pleasing look. A tasteful look. This is not just a powerful word processor; it's a handsome iOS app, better looking than many competitors. That's what comes from having the design talent of a major corporation at work behind the scenes and letting them bring their expertise to bear.
The design, layout, fonts and operation are tasteful.
The other thing that I noticed, starting with the feedback option and the app Settings (Settings > Word) is that the developers seem to think like iOS developers. Many shades of the Microsoft of old are gone, and the superb implementation on the iPad has brought forth a fresh and modern perspective about how to implement a word processor on an iPad. It's an great thing to witness. It makes one wonder if this app so outshone Word on the Surface that it was held back for just that reason.
OMG: Choice and disclosure.
Finally, the wording of the "Help us Improve" section is clear and affirming that Microsoft won't be prying, consistent with Microsoft's renewed, highly visible campaign to protect user privacy. Feedback is sent only via Wi-Fi (not cellular data), and you can opt out at any time.
Right now, there is no full, written manual. The closest thing to a manual today is a Microsoft for Office Product Guide for reviewers. (There is also a demo video.) Considering how long we've heard rumors about the existence of this product—that it was supposedly kept under wraps—there really isn't any excuse for not having a full PDF manual ready at launch. The rating was reduced a half point because of that.
As a partical offset to that there is built-in help in Document Icon > Help and Support. It's fairly basic, but it's well done, especially the Touch Guide.
Finale: The Write Stuff
Word for iPad 1.0 is notable because it looks good, feels good, produces identical documents to its Mac and PC counterparts, and was bug free in my testing. Most of all, it's an app that's in the spirit of the iPad (except for the lack of Dropbox support), and it's clearly written by developers who have mastered the iOS development process. With Dropobox support and a great, full-length PDF manual, the rating would have a whole point higher, that is 4.5/5. Subtracting a half point for each, however, left me with a final rating of 3.5/5, "Solid+."
Also, it's important to remember that this is Word. The goal is to generate, edit and view Word documents. Missing features in version 1.0, compared to other iOS apps, can be put in that perspective. Also, I am sure bugs will be found. And fixed. It wasn't my goal to find and report them all. There is a much larger issue at stake here, namely...
Microsoft has had its share of problems and detractors, but if this app is a sign of the new Microsoft under the leadership of Satya Nadella, (even though it was developed during Mr. Ballmer's time in office) then we have much to be thankful for. The app is well balanced which means that it has the essentials of Word but is a very good iPad app. Building a very good, balanced initial version of Word for the iPad that can impress this reviewer deserves kudos.