iPad Pro will need Office 365 subscription for editing

Anthony Caruana
28 September, 2015
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Microsoft’s licensing arrangements for Office 365 say that editing is only a free feature for devices with screen smaller than 10.1in. So, it seems editing documents, with all those cool features shown off by Microsoft at the recent Apple event where the iPad Pro was unveiled, will require a full Office 365 subscription.

This was confirmed by a Microsoft spokesperson in a recent interview with Ars Technica.

It’s not all bad news though. It seems Microsoft may relax that requirement, as it says, “The user experience has not been finalised or publicly revealed, and that it is too early to say precisely what will happen, if anything, when users try to run the software on the iPad Pro.”

There are some interesting implications here as we move into the post-PC era of which Steve Jobs spoke in 2010. Increasingly, the diversity of devices, processor platforms and operating systems means software developers will need to adapt to a great many changes. One of those is defining what user experience works best on different devices based on specific use-cases rather than hardware specifications.

We’re already seeing that with apps that dynamically resize and adapt to different screen sizes and orientations.

It’s possible, although we suggest unlikely, that applications will require different subscriptions or in-app purchases to unlock particular functions. For example, a ‘basic’ Office installation might support traditional keyboard-based input on the iPad Pro, but you’ll need a full subscription in order to unlock the Apple Pencil-based features.

We’re still a few weeks away from seeing the iPad Pro in the flesh, so we’d expect the situation to be clearer then.

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