Microsoft has detailed upcoming features for its Office suite on the iPad and Apple Watch that take advantage of newly unveiled capabilities for Apple's devices. These new features represent one of the biggest changes to Office on mobile devices, and give Redmond's own Surface Pro a run for its money.
Microsoft is bringing split-view support for its apps to the iPad. This is a new feature of iOS 9 that lets iPad users run two apps side-by-side, similar to Windows 8's tablet support. In a blog post, Microsoft describes a situation where a user can rehearse a PowerPoint presentation while reviewing notes in Word at the same time. The company has gone all-in with iOS 9 split view, making it one of the first developers to announce full support. Outlook will even automatically launch the relevant app side-by-side when an Office email attachment is opened.
One of the biggest features of the iPad Pro is stylus support, which like the Surface Pro will allow for drawing directly onto the screen with precision. The Office apps will support full inking capabilities on the iPad Pro, with PowerPoint getting shape recognition. "The apps turn the pencil into a first-class content creation tool," the company states.
Finally, Microsoft is bringing changes to its Apple Watch apps to take advantage of watchOS 2. Outlook will now support complications on the watch face, showing next appointments and incoming email. An update to the Microsoft Translator app offers a complication that displays common phrases in the local language based on time of day and location. For example, an English speaker in Spain in the evening will get the English-Spanish translation for "good evening."
The Office updates are set to arrive with the launch of the iPad Pro, watchOS 2 and iOS 9.