back to article Office 365 for the iPad will feel a little more desktop-ish now Microsoft has tossed it trackpad, mouse support

Microsoft has finally introduced trackpad support for Office Microsoft 365 on the iPad. The update – which covers Word, PowerPoint, and Excel – is designed to help these apps more closely resemble their desktop counterparts when it comes to things like selecting text, resizing page elements, grouping spreadsheet cells, and so …

  1. Dwarf


    Tablets are for different purposes to fully fledged laptops and desktops. Buy the device you need, don't try and force a different way of working on a completely different device that has a completely different user interface, its like trying to use a hammer to solve every problem.

    I'm just wondering how long until we see a mouse and keyboard working off a mobile phone or someone trying to do the same on a train.

    Actually, forget that, trains are a thing of the past for most.

    1. Boufin

      Re: Madness

      Why should a device not support different interfaces? I use a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard with my phone all the time, have done for years. I hate typing (and copy/pasting) on glass, and Android has the support baked in. Much easier for bashing out a text or whatever when I am at my desk. The Microsoft apps support it really nicely too on Android - all the common keyboard shortcuts work too.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Madness

      Sure, but the iPad Air 4 outperforms the 10900K on single thread workloads, and is about 37% of the speed of a 10900K on multicore. So it is definitely fast enough to do desktop-type tasks. Yes the screen is a bit on the small side, and external monitor support is not that great, but the idea of an iPad as a desktop/laptop replacement is not a completely crazy idea.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Madness

        .. and I have been using an external BT keyboard on an iPhone for years (my kids are WAY faster on glass, but when I'm at home I don't see why I can't make my life easier - that's what IT is for :) ). I would have just loved keyboard shortcuts, though, I'm not a mouse fan.

        Shortcuts are *way* more efficient in my experience.

    3. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: Madness

      I've found my iPad to be the perfect portable writing tool, so much easier to pop an iPad with keyboard case into my backpack than even the smallest laptop & PSU.

      The Office 365 Apps on iPadOS are more than adequate for general writing tasks, but having to switch from keyboard to touchscreen is way more frustrating that keyboard to mouse.

      1. Sandgrounder

        Re: Madness

        Probably was true in 2014. Not so these days. Take for example the Microsoft Surface Go. Similar size to an ipad, but is a real computer that runs a grown up OS, not a Fisher price version. Perfect when you have real work to do as well as watching Netflix.

        1. Lazlo Woodbine

          Re: Madness

          Did you see where I said laptop?

          The smallest usable laptop we have around work is a Dell Inspiron 5000, it's still bigger than my iPad and case, plus my iPad can be charged from any USB port, whereas the Dell needs its power brick or a 45w USB C charger.

          The Surface devices are nice, but the Go isn't as smooth to use as an iPad and actually more expensive than the basic iPad, which is all I need.

          I'm not an Apple lover, but the iPad is exactly what I need for writing on the go

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Madness

            I've heard the same from quite a few decision makers. When they travel, an iPad is all they need to check on email, write the odd response and review proposals and presentations. I presume if it's anything heavier they delegate it anyway :).

    4. MrReynolds2U

      Re: Madness

      Android has supported mice for as long as I can remember.

      I used to carry a mini one with a USB adapter in case I needed to RDP onto a server while out-and-about.

      1. ThomH

        Re: Madness

        Better than that, the Nexus One still had a vestigial trackball and was therefore the only phone I've ever accurately been able to place a text cursor on.

    5. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Madness

      It's since 2013 I've been using a Surface as a tablet and a laptop. Sure it's not my primary device since I do most of my work on a desktop, but when I travel is far better to bring with me one device only instead of two.

      Apple had to admit Microsoft was right - as it did adding the pen....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Madness

        I must admit that adding a pen to an iPad made it one of the best digitisers I've used in years. There's no parallax between pen tip and screen - it's very well done.

    6. GraXXoR

      Re: Madness

      That just doesn't make sense...

      Buy the device you need?... What if you need both functions but don't want to pay the Apple Tax / Microsoft Tax twice?

      Surely having the exact same device being able to more than it could before is a win for the consumer?

      Conversely, purposefully limiting and separating the functionality into discrete compartments is exactly something Apple does to make you buy two devices when one as powerful as a modern iPad Pro should be able to do absolutely everything a laptop can.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Madness

        Nope, different environments.

        My laptop becomes a desktop when at home as it'll get hooked up to a mother of a screen (LG's 43" USB-C connected beast), but when I have to travel a lot (now less, obviously) an iPad was more useful because I am then not creating original content. I can hook up the iPad to HDMI, and it has VPN access to the office WebDAV resources so I still can use the same contents, but it's a lot lighter to travel with than the Macbook Pro.

        It's also personal - lots of people now use the Watch. I don't see the need for myself, and that's fine. For me, all of these devices have a defined function and role, and a Watch doesn't fit in that picture - it may do for others.

  2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    it feels like a massive oversight for a company that once took pride in its meticulous attention to detail

    Perhaps they were trying not to break legacy apps.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      No, it's more a problem they can never admit to have been wrong.

    2. Sandgrounder

      The same sheer bloody mindedness that won't let them put touch screens in their Mac books but prefers to invent ridiculous touch screen function keys instead. Comes with a free reality distortion upgrade that tells users that less is more - like their disappearing ports and jacks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Touch screen laptops and desktops were the dumbest idea ever to come out of Microsoft. The screen is by design placed in an inconvenient place to reach, and fingerprints on a monitor make small text hard to read if you are working.

        1. nichomach

          Speak for yourself - my touchscreen HP is very pleasant to use, and I find it a useful adjunct and occasionally much better than using the touchpad.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "and fingerprints on a monitor make small text hard to read"

          Is it a problem on your mobe, on an even smaller screen with smaller text?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is good.

    We have phones and tablets that are more powerful than my desktop PC and probably on par with the laptop I use.

    Most executives in my company use iPads so allowing them to completely get rid of the laptop will be a good saving.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      They're also easier to replace. Saves time, and you don't need to keep spares as they can be quickly obtained in a shop or online, and restored that way too if they use cloud based storage - and that almost anywhere in the semi-civilised world.

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