Microsoft has updated the official iOS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications this morning with a few new features, but two in particular stand out: first, basic viewing and editing now requires a Microsoft account but not an Office 365 subscription. Second, all three are now universal apps that work on any iPhone or iPod Touch running iOS 7.1 or later.
While the apps have different interfaces, sharing the same code means you should be able to make the same kinds of edits on both your phone and your tablet, something that wasn't possible with the old, more limited Office for iPhone app. Even though the apps are now free-to-use, there are still many features that will require an Office 365 subscription, which can be purchased from within the app or directly from Microsoft's site. The apps are mostly the same as they were when we originally looked at them back in March, but the update brings a handful of new features, including the previously announced Dropbox integration.
Microsoft also teased a version of Office for Android tablets. It will be offered as a preview now to anyone who signs up, and it will be generally available in "early 2015." The long-awaited touch version of Office for Windows will apparently be released alongside Windows 10, but other details are scarce. We'll go hands-on with the new iOS apps later today, and we;ll look at the Android apps when we receive the preview versions.
Update: ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reports that Microsoft is offering partial Office 365 refunds to anyone who bought a subscription specifically to do basic editing with the iPad applications. If you bought an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription after March 27, 2014 and activated it before November 6, you can get a pro-rated refund for the remainder of your subscription period. Microsoft has published a page outlining the process—if you're interested in doing this, make sure you get it done before January 31, 2015.