Microsoft has been developing their popular Office productivity suite for Mac and Windows since the mid-90's. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and other Office apps have been commonplace in business ever since then. With every new release comes new features, and in some cases, new applications (the original suite offered Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Mail). When Microsoft released their Surface tablet in 2012, they also released a mor portable version of their Office suite to go along with it. Last week, Microsoft released their first version of Office for iPad, which includes Word, PowerPoint and Excel (OneNote is also available for iPad).
To me, it's obvious that Microsoft has been pushing the envelope by making their suite of Office apps available on more platforms (adding to its ubiquitousness). The one place where you won't find Office is on Apple TV... until today.
In a surprising move, Microsoft has announced the release of their Office suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint, for now) for Apple TV!
My initial concern was how to interface with the software. Typically, there would be a lot of typing, and because there is no physical keyboard for the Apple TV, I expected this to be a challenge. That is until I started to use Apple's silver remote that comes with the Apple TV. We've all used the remote to enter a password or short blurbs of text by scrolling through the onscreen keyboard using the up/down/left/right arrow buttons. It takes a little getting used to, but typing a full-blown business proposal this way is actually relatively fast and convenient. It only took me just over an hour to complete my first page. Here's a sample:
Creating spreadsheets and graphs in Excel and PowerPoint is just as easy as creating a Word document. Everything can be done using the 7 buttons on the Apple TV remote. Over time, I found that I could do everything Microsoft Office for Apple TV that I could do using a traditional computer or tablet. All in all, it seems and feels very stable and feature-rich.
Microsoft Office for Apple TV will be available to the public starting next month. As with the Office for iPad apps, you will be able to view documents for free. The ability to create and/or edit documents will be available to those who have an active Microsoft Office 365 subscription.
Happy April Fools Day!