Apple iPhone users got their first taste of the first iOS native app for Microsoft Office over the weekend, with the release of Office Mobile on Friday. But only Office 365 subscribers can access the app and there isn’t an iPad or Android version planned for release just yet.

The app is free to download so long as you have an Office 365 subscription, Microsoft’s cloud-delivery option for its new line of Office software. The app will still work when no Internet connection is available, according to Microsoft. Recent documents will still be available to view and edit, and the changes made will by synced up once a connection is restored via cellular or WiFi.

Many have been waiting for a native Office app for a long time, but most people dependent on Microsoft’s productivity suite have since moved on to the many alternatives available on iOS. Apps like CloudOn, or even Microsoft’s own SkyDrive, have offered read and edit functionality on Office document formats for some time on iOS and Android devices alike.

Microsoft promises that formatting and layout will be preserved whether you view a document via Office 365 on a PC, tablet, or iPhone. That includes support for charts, animations, SmartArt graphics, and other visuals. While layout is maintained, the Office apps have been optimized for mobile display to make it easier to read and edit them with less screen real estate.

iPhone users will be able to access documents stored on SkyDrive and SharePoint. The recent documents view will include the documents you’ve recently edited on your own PC.

The app has already been rated 540 times over its first weekend of availability, receiving an average of 2.5 stars. Several reviewers giving one-star reviews bemoaned the requirement of the subscription for the app.

“Very disappointing. I waited years for this? Minimal editing options, no ability to insert images or create charts…heck you can’t even adjust items in an existing file! No undo/redo. It’s just really a lightweight app,” writes Jmd0116 in an App Store review. “On top of that it is only accessible if you have Office 365 subscription. I have Office 2013 Profession boxed – so despite paying a premium I am told to buy another subscription for $99?”


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