updated 01:25 pm EDT, Tue October 8, 2013
Spells further delays for long-awaited iPad apps
Office for iPad "will be picked up when there's a touch-first user interface [for Office]," according to outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The comment was made at a Gartner event in Florida earlier today. Ballmer didn't elaborate, however, except to say that the touch-first UI is "in progress."
The statement suggests that iPad users will have to wait still longer for an iPad version of Office, which has been rumored since 2010. A touch-specific UI will premiere in the next Windows upgrade of Office, and then filter down to other platforms. At Microsoft's Build conference earlier this year, the company teased that touch was coming to a version of Office made for Windows 8.1. That OS update is due October 17th.
A variety of third-party apps have stepped in to provide limited Office support on the iPad. A first-party iPad app could incorporate a more complete featureset, however, and prove a boon to individuals and businesses with Office 365 subscriptions. An Office iPhone app exists, but is extremely limited, for instance requiring a 365 subscription to work.