Microsoft’s Surface line of tables has never been more competitive than it is today. With the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft has the perfect alternative to Apple’s MacBook Air. The newly announced Surface 3 is perhaps the best Windows tablet we’ve ever seen, regardless of maker. Still, Microsoft is focused on a two-part strategy and the other half involves delivering the best of its experiences on any tablet, regardless of whoever makes it.
The Microsoft apps available on Apple’s iPad are a perfect example of why offering your most impressive products to everyone is so important. Many are the best in their respective product categories. They’re feature heavy and together could lure users back to Microsoft’s products if that was ever possible. What’s more, they’re free, making them perfect long-term lures for those who adopt them.
Here are 5 Microsoft Apps Your to Add to Your iPad. All of them are free and all of them offer a best-in-class experience you simply can’t get anywhere else.
OneDrive for iPad
Microsoft’s OneDrive utility has quickly gained a reputation. It took Microsoft a bit to get serious about cloud storage, but once it did the company integrated it in a big way. OneDrive is the glue that holds Microsoft’s new ecosystem together.
Install the OneDrive app on your iPad and it can act as your digital camera roll, automatically uploading the images and video you capture to OneDrive servers. There they can be viewed online or on any other device with a OneDrive. On the iPad, OneDrive is incredibly useful since Microsoft’s new Office for iPad apps all integrate with it seamlessly.
Microsoft gives every OneDrive user 15GB of online storage absolutely free. Monthly plans allow users to add more storage if they need to.
Microsoft Office for iPad
Microsoft Office is Microsoft’s trump card. It’s why millions of users likely picked up Windows PCs back in the 1990s. Getting Microsoft Office used to be difficult and expensive. A few years ago Microsoft introduced Office 365, a cloud subscription service that lets users rent the full Microsoft Office suite of apps – that’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for as little as $6.99 a month.
For iPad users, Office for iPad is absolutely free, whether they have an Office 365 subscription or not. To be clear, getting an Office 365 subscription gives users 100GB of space to store their stuff from the apps, but editing and creating documents in Office for iPad is free.
MSN for iPad
In the early days of the internet, there were a lot less websites and only few ways to find what you were looking for. MSN, Yahoo and Google acted as gateways to the internet, packaging up everything you could do online and letting you find what you were looking for faster. For the most part, Yahoo still does this today while Google uses its search engine to power its other large businesses.
MSN, like the rest of Microsoft, is in the midst of reinventing itself. Today, the first place users go on the web isn’t MSN, Yahoo or Google its Facebook and the web portal has to adapt to that reality.
That’s why Microsoft introduced MSN News, MSN Sports. MSN Health & Fitness, MSN Money and MSN Food & Drink. All are web experiences packaged in tiny convenient apps for the iPad. Each section gets users the same content they’d get directly on the MSN website without having to dive into Safari. Previously, these apps were only available on Microsoft’s own Windows Phone operating system and tablets running Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
Bing for iPad
In the United States, Bing is just about the only competition Google has for search. What the Bing for iPad app does is take large parts of the Bing experience and make them easier to digest. Opening the app reveals a large search box with voice functionality. Below that box is a look at the day’s Bing picture. Users can download that Bing picture for use as a Home Screen background and more. Which is also available on the web. Special sections for searching images, news, videos and weather are all available to.
Outlook for iPad
Outlook.com, Microsoft’s web mail service has always been pretty decent, but its companion app simply wasn’t. It did offer integrated contact syncing and more, but naming it Outlook meant people expected it to connect with email services besides Microsoft’s own – just like the Windows Desktop version. Microsoft fixed that problem at the end of last year when it purchased app company Accompli and began integrating it into its offerings.
Outlook for iPad connects with all sorts of email accounts, then helps you organize them. You can quickly swipe to archive an email that you want to save, but don’t want taking up space in your Inbox. Outlook also sorts apps into the emails that are relevant now and what you should care about later.
Good luck with these 6 Microsoft apps. After loading them on your iPad and trying them out, you’re sure to see Microsoft for what it is today, an innovative maker of software on any platform.