Story by Kathryn Kriss
Microsoft recently launched several apps that allow iPad users to use Microsoft Office on their tablets. Word, Excel and PowerPoint make up some of the most downloaded apps in the last week.
Sophomore Qisheng Zhang said he was not aware of the app release. He doesn’t own an iPad and says he doesn’t really want one.
“I don’t like to type on it, it’s easier to type on a laptop or even a phone,” Zhang said.
He said he thinks students mainly use laptops to get serious work done, but introducing the capability for the iPad could be convenient in some situations.
Apple currently offers apps that fulfill a niche similar to the Microsoft Office Suite.
They have been on the market for a while and are predicted to be Microsoft Office’s main competitor.
“I have Pages, Numbers, and Keynote,” Zhang said, mentioning that they are similar to Word, Excel and Powerpoint, “ … but I don’t really use them. I prefer to use Microsoft.”
Students who own an iPad have usually heard of the application but have not yet downloaded it.
Junior Sarah Kehm uses hers for checking grades on Blackboard, sending emails or checking social media and wouldn’t use it to type papers unless she had to.
She said she thinks iPad Office apps would be most useful for those who don’t have a laptop.
“A bigger screen and not having to use a touch screen would be nicer,” Kehm said, preferring to use her laptop for jobs requiring lots of typing.
Junior Matthew Wright also has an iPad and is relieved that Office is finally coming out for tablets.
“It’s about darn time we had a word processor in i-products,” Wright said.
He plans to use the app, saying that while it may not be as easy to use as a laptop, the benefit lies in its portability. He recognizes that there are competitors on the market who can perform similar functions, but agrees that Office more popular.
“It’s not necessarily that Word is better, but because everybody already uses it. It makes no sense to switch,” Wright said.
Seeing tablets as an option in between smartphones and computers, he thinks students use them for a variety of reasons and many will end up using Office in their day-to-day life.
Some students agree that serious schoolwork is not usually the primary function of iPads, but if given the option of a word processing application, they would use it.
First-year pharmacy student Diane Schreier roughly estimates that 10 percent of the student body owns an iPad, but nearly 60 percent own a tablet of some sort.
These tablets mainly serve as a home base for emailing or social media, while the laptop bears the brunt of the essays and research papers.
The recently added option of word processing on the iPad could add an additional level of ease and convenience and could change the role of tablets on campus.