Microsoft today announced that the Apple iPad Pro, which was launched on September 9, is not a true mobile device. The Redmond giant did not make the announcement to take a hit at Apple, but rather to motivate why Microsoft Office apps will not be available for free for iPad Pro users. Indeed, the company is not making its Office app suite available for iPad Pro users as they say the slate is too large to make effective use of the tools that they have to offer – and they might be right.
Microsoft didn’t actually say that the iPad Pro is not a mobile device, rather it clarified to Ars Technica that it’s not a “true mobile device”. The motivation is that the 12.9-inch size of the iPad Pro display is too large for it to be considered a mobile device and as such make use of the Office suite that is available to other iOS devices in the iTunes store. Although Office apps for iOS let you view and edit documents with only a few paid features that you can buy through in-app-purchases, iPad Pro users will need an Office 365 subscription in order to make use of the features.
The iPad Pro has a massive 12.9-inch display that Microsoft says is too big to be considered a true mobile device and which can’t make use of apps in the same way. Even though the device is optimized for multitasking and office work, thanks to the stylus, keyboard and the new features Apple introduced in iOS 9, it seems like Microsoft’s standards are still too high for the iPad Pro.
The iPad Pro release is set for November, when people will be able to buy them in stores and when shipping of pre-ordered units will commence. At that time, Microsoft will also most likely release a new subscription plan for Office 365 that targets iPad Pro users, because if it doesn’t make a good offer, iOS users might be outraged at the decision to make the productivity apps that they were used on the iPad Air 2 for example, paid for instead of free ones.
Hopefully, the Redmond giant will address the iPad Pro problem with Office and will find a way to make iPad Pro users happy. Many iOS users love Office apps and use them on their iPads, so it would be a bummer not to have the possibility of free access once they upgrade their devices. We will be back with more news on the matter as soon as Microsoft opens up about the issue.