Microsoft Announces Office Updates for Apple iPad Pro, iOS 9, and WatchOS 2

Microsoft Announces Office Updates for Apple iPad Pro, iOS 9, and WatchOS 2

In the wake of Kirk Koenigsbauer’s appearance at Apple’s press conference this week, Microsoft has formally announced coming new Office updates for the iPad Pro, iOS 9, and WatchOS 2. This expands on the information Mr. Koenigsbauer provided yesterday.

Note: none of these updates are available immediately. Instead, Microsoft says that it will update its Office mobile apps accordingly when the new iPad Pro, iOS 9 and WatchOS 2 are available.

Here’s what’s coming soon.

Slide Over and Split View. iOS 9 allows iPad Pro 2 and iPad Air 2 users to use two apps simultaneously. With Slide Over, you can literally slide a secondary app over the right side of the screen so you can get something done elsewhere without actually leaving the app you’re using. Split View works like Snap in Windows, allowing you to use two apps side-by-side onscreen.


Outlook and Office document attachments. The Outlook app will be updated to explicitly support Split View on iPad Pro 2 and iPad Air 2 for opening Office document attachments. When you do so, the relevant Office app (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) will open on the right so you can view and edit the document. And when you tap the Back button in that app, the changes will be saved and added to a new attachment in an Outlook email to the original sender.


PowerPoint Presenter View. The Presenter View mode in PowerPoint will support Slide Over on iPad Pro 2 and iPad Air 2 so you can see your notes in OneNote while the audience sees just the presentation.


Inking. On iPad Pro 2 only, the Office apps will support inking through the new Apple Pencil. A new Ink tab will provide pens, highlighters, a thickness controller, and a color wheel so you can draw on and mark up documents just as you would with pen and paper.


Improved search. Search results on iPhone or iPad—so, presumably requiring iOS 9; it’s not clear—will now include content in OneNote notes and Outlook email messages. This will include OneNote content that was handwritten (on Windows) or scanned, and RMS-protected Outlook messages as well.

Improved wireless keyboard support. Office has always supported using a wireless keyboard with iPad (or even iPhone), but now there’s onscreen help so you can learn the keyboard shortcuts: just type COMMAND to see a list of them. (These are app-specific, too.)

Outlook and Translator improved on Apple Watch. With the coming release of WatchOS 2, Apple is allowing app makers to put app data in complications, which are little windows on the watch face. So Microsoft is improving Outlook to display upcoming appointment and new email information. And Translator will be able to play recent and pinned translations through the watch’s speaker.


Interesting stuff. I’ll provide updates as these and other new Office features appear on Apple’s mobile platforms.

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