updated 04:30 pm EST, Mon December 12, 2011
OneNote for iPad crosses into rival territory
Microsoft started the week by posting its first-ever productivity app for a non-Windows tablet OneNote for iPad (free, App Store) brings the features of the mixed-format organizer to the larger screen. The app relies on a two-pane approach that providers a larger, dedicated area for the content of the notes themselves while letting users navigate independently.
The update, which also extends to the 1.3 version of the iPhone title (App Store), brings a tabbed user interface, quick note creation in unified notes, table rendering, and the option to sync a full notebook of notes only over Wi-Fi. Several new countries and languages can now use the app as well, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and China, as well as much of Europe, Latin America, and parts of the Middle East and southeast Asia.
Every version needs at least iOS 4.3 or later to run, as well as a Windows Live account to put notebooks in the cloud through SkyDrive. OneNote is free up to 500 active notes and has an in-app purchase to go to unlimited, which costs either $5 for the iPhone or $15 for the iPad.
Microsoft is no stranger to writing apps for rival mobile platforms and has sometimes posted apps for the iPhone and even Android before Windows Phone. Supporting the iPad is a major step for Microsoft, however, as its self-consciousness about its stability has made it clear the company sees the Apple tablet as a fundamental threat to Windows PCs. With the iPad having outsold every Windows tablet ever made in its first nine months, Microsoft may not have much choice but to write iPad apps to remain on a majority tablet platform.
OneNote supports theories that Microsoft is building a full Office for iPad, albeit likely broken up into individual apps like iWork. If so, OneNote's $15 unlimited-use price maybe a clue as to what's charged for mobile versions of Excel, PowerPoint, or Word. Microsoft may not be as concerned about undercutting the price of a regular Windows version given that its version for Windows 8 tablets is likely to represent a full desktop version that it can wield as a perceived edge.