Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 1st 2014 Contents A29
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The introduction of Office for iPad
last Thursday marked a crucial step
forward for Microsoft in its efforts to
expand its user base into widely used
tablet and smartphone platforms.
To be clear, the Redmond software
company isn t really selling Office on
these new devices, it s selling Office
365, a cloud based subscription service
(US$100 per year) that s now available
on Windows, Macintosh, Android and
now fully on iOS.
If the company decides to make a
version available for Linux, perhaps the
widely used Ubuntu build, it will stand
a good chance of reestablishing Office
as the preferred platform for workplace
productivity in an increasingly diverse
world of software and devices.
But getting here hasn t been easy.
The company dawdled along for long
years while smartphone and tablet use
soared and became entrenched as
mediums for not just media consump-
tion, but increasingly for widely varying
levels of productive work.
While it s been getting its own
approach in order, other software com-
panies have worked to fill the breach,
offering Web-based solutions that are
increasingly viable in a world in which
broadband is growing more pervasive,
or products that are networked at their
core, like the popular Evernote, which
trades word processing power for seam-
less synchronisation and a researcher s
palette of tools.
Increasingly, the golden bullet for
modern software is accessibility. People
want to access the same material no
matter where they are and which device
they happen to be using. Such users
will take advantage of the easiest,
cheapest tools that get them there.
Will that suite of tools include Office
365 and its various device incarnations?
Satya Nadella, the company s new
CEO, is banking on it and doing so
"Microsoft is focused on delivering
the cloud for everyone, on every device,"
he told the press at the launch of Office
for iPad last week.
"It s a unique approach that centres
on people---enabling the devices you
love, work with the services you love,
and in a way that works for IT and
I d seen Nadella in action seven years
ago at a Microsoft Convergence meeting
in San Diego back when we both had
more hair and most of it was black.
It s almost impossible to form any
kind of definitive opinion of someone
after just a few moments onstage, but
Nadella s pitch of the company s new
customer relations management tool
was even, sensible and clear, even to a
There was also no shrill rabble-rous-
ing on Thursday. Nadella wasn t selling
Koolaid, he was reminding users of the
value of Office, the tap water of cor-
porate productivity, and it was a refresh-
ing change from traditional pro-
Microsoft sales pitches.
This was a conversation with the
media that positioned the Office suite
as a useful cross-platform tool that
users should consider. But it s likely to
require more than just being available
to get users to dip in.
If you aren t currently an Office 365
user, Office for Android and iOS are
simply viewers until you pay for a sub-
scription. You can look at documents,
but editing isn t enabled unless you
pay to play.
Office for iPad uses Apple s in-app
purchasing system to do this. You down-
load the software for free then either
buy the US$79.95 version, which gets
you Word and PowerPoint or go for the
full suite, which includes Excel for US$20
more. For existing Office365 users, this
new edition of the suite is a no-brainer.
Log in, connect, get to work.
For some others, it will be a boon,
allowing them to press their iPads into
use as an extension of their existing
But it s the others that Microsoft will
have to work hardest on, building a
compelling user scenario that lures
them from tools they are already using,
such as Pages/iCloud, Evernote, Google
Docs and Dropbox which may not all
sport the power and elegance of Office,
but which have the advantage of being
first movers in the iOS space.
Office for iPad
Office for iPad.
Apple knows the addiction of
texting and understands the dan-
gers it can pose, especially if a
smartphone user is outdoors and
walking. Therefore, Apple has
planned to create walking-friend-
ly phones, which will enable
smartphone users to watch where
they are going while texting. A
patent for Transparent Texting,
as it has been called, has already
been filed by the firm.
According to an Ohio State
research of last year, emergency
room treatments of pedestrians
resulting from mobile-phone relat-
ed injuries doubled from 2005 to
2010. An alarming 69 per cent
were due to talking on the phone
while walking, whereas nine per
cent of the injuries were due to
texting while walking.
Meanwhile, even before this
study was conducted, Apple had
realised the dangers of texting while
walking and it had come up with
an idea to create walking-friendly
phones with the technology of
Therefore, somewhere in 2012,
Apple invented such a technology,
where the rear end camera of a
smart device can display images
on the texting screen and even-
tually be able to save many users
from undesirable injuries. Accord-
ingly, a patent was filed with the
US Patent and Trademark Office
in September 2012, but was only
learnt about this week.
Apple, in its patent application
20140085334 titled Transparent
Texting, said that it "has found an
innovative way to use an electronic
communication device s camera,"
where images of the surrounding
area can be continuously captured
and presented as a video within a
The application highlighted the
fact that "due to the visual nature
of a text messaging session" it is
often difficult for a person who is
texting to be able to equally divide
his or her attention equally
between the device and the sur-
Therefore, due to divided atten-
tion and the lack of focus on the
path being walked upon, such a
user can "inadvertently collide with
or stumble over objects in his
path," the patent application fur-
It is not known when exactly
Apple would create these walk-
ing-friendly, transparent texting
phones or when they would be
available for Apple product users.
There is a possibility that Apple s
upcoming iOS 8 system in Sep-
tember may make the technology
available to iPhone users but it is
too soon to speculate.
Apple to create watch-where-
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