If Apple wants iPad Pro to appeal to PC users and replace Windows laptops, it needs to meet their requirements. For many, one of those is the Microsoft Office suite, which is now available as an “accessory” when ordering iPad Pro from the Apple Online Store.
Starting at $69.95 for a 1-year subscription and one license, Office 365 gives users access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and more Microsoft products and services. If you want to use it on your Mac or PC, too, there’s a 5-license pack for $99.95.
Although Apple offers its own alternative to Office in the iWork suite — which includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — it has clearly accepted the fact that the vast majority, particularly those who are or were PC users, prefer Microsoft Office.
It makes sense to sell Office 365 subscriptions with its iPad lineup, then. Seeing that Office is available on iPad could convince more PC owners to switch, and making it easy to find — rather than trying to encourage users to switch to iWork — removes a big hurdle for consumers.
But it’s interesting that Apple is offering it with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the iPad Air 2, and the iPad mini, since all Microsoft Office apps are completely free to use on tablets, laptops, and smartphones with screens smaller than 10.1 inches diagonally.
You do miss out on other Office 365 features, of course, but if you don’t require things like 1TB of cloud-based storage and free Skype calls, it’s something to bear in mind before buying a subscription with your new iPad.