A few days after Google updated its productivity apps with multitasking support for the iPad, Microsoft has added a new Draw tab to its suite of Office apps for the iPhone. Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word users can now use their finger to write, draw and highlight documents on their iPhone. This is a great feature for iPad owners who are used to using their Apple Pencil to annotate Microsoft projects.
Even though touch screen typing has seen constant improvements from both Apple and developers since the debut of the iPhone, it still feels like there are miles left to go in terms of really perfecting the concept. As the average iPhone user becomes more and more savvy – and as the ability to type quickly and accurately on your device becomes more important – the need for a typing tool that can make the process effortless becomes even greater.
While there is certainly no shortage of great typing apps on the App Store, the most interesting of them all may be coming to us soon from a most unlikely source.
Microsoft has officially launched its digital personal assistant Cortana to the App Store. iPod touch, iPhone and iPad users can now use the Cortana app to set reminders, make appointments, send emails and more. Microsoft's personal assistant differs from Siri because it works with your PC. For example, users can create an appointment on their home computer and Cortana will send them a reminder on their iPhone when it's time for their meeting.
Microsoft is attempting to make email relevant again by launching a new " in-and-out email" client for the iPhone. Send is another Microsoft Garage project that aims to make emailing more like sending a text message. The app eliminates annoying email requirements, such as a subject line, to allow users to quickly respond to their email contacts.
The official Outlook email client has arrived on iOS. This all-in-one free app provides access to Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, iCloud, Gmail and Yahoo Mail. Calendar and attachment access is fully integrated, with easy access to Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and other accounts.
Microsoft Outlook is based heavily on the former Acompli app, which the company acquired in December. Like Acompli, Outlook promises to unify calendar, contacts and attachments with email to improve mobile productivity. To top it off, Quick Filters and recent contacts make it easy to search for emails, meetings and files.