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Using Microsoft Office apps on the iPad Pro will require an Office 365 subscription

Published Sep 27th, 2015 1:50PM EDT
iPad Pro Microsoft Office

This weekend is all about the iPhone, but we do have a little bit of iPad news to share with you. With the iPad Pro launch now next on Apple’s slate of upcoming new products, Ars Technica has learned that Microsoft will require iPad Pro users to have an Office 365 subscription if they want to to be able to view and edit documents in Microsoft’s suite of Office apps.

The news might strike some as curious given that Microsoft lets iPhone and current iPad users view and edit Microsoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint documents free of charge. Explaining why the iPad Pro warrants special treatment, Microsoft told Ars that the iPad Pro, on account of its 12.9-inch display, is not considered a “true mobile device.”

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As it turns out, the internal threshold Microsoft came up with to determine if a device can enjoy free access to Office is 10.1 inches, effectively requiring iPad Pro users to sign up for an Office 365 subscription if they want to use Microsoft’s suite of productivity software.

The cheapest Office 365 subscription is for a single user license that will set you back about $69.99. The subscription, though, isn’t too shabby and includes access to Micrsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access on one PC and on one tablet or smartphone. The subscription also comes with 1 TB of cloud storage and 60 minutes of calling via Skype. A pricier Office 365 Home subscription costs $99 and will support upwards of 5 PCs and 5 tablets or smartphones.

We don’t have firm release date for the iPad Pro just yet, but it’s a safe bet that it’ll launch sometime in November before Black Friday. The base model (32GB of storage and Wi-Fi only) will retail for $799, with an accompanying Apple Pencil to be sold separately for $99.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.