Seen @ Macworld/iWorld 2013: Office2 HD

Sections: Conferences, Features, Hands On / First Looks, iDevice Accessories, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Macworld

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Seen @ Macworld is Appletell’s column highlighting our experiences at the recent Macworld/iWorld Expo. Appletell stopped by several booths that featured interesting products; some were longtime pillars of Macworld with updates to established products, many were new companies showing innovative and exciting product for the first time, and a few featured accessories, apps, and products we didn’t even know we needed before we hit the Moscone West show floor. Here we feature buzz from the show floor and details of our conversations with the makers, inventors, and companies whose products were on display. Be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld/iWorld 2013.

Appletell first encountered the ByteSquared team and their Office2 HD app at Macworld 2012, and came away impressed by this upstart app that delivered a solid Microsoft Office replacement for the iPad. Since January 2012, the ByteSquared team has been busy; midway through last year, a major update shipped with new features including Track Changes and document comments, and at Macworld 2013 the team had even more updates to show off. Available as either separate apps or as the Office2 Bundle, Slide2, Sheet2, and Doc2 give you presentation, spreadsheet, and word processing apps that will be instantly familiar to users of Microsoft’s Office.

Office2 HD

For My Next Trick

Many of the features shown at Macworld are not yet available in the Office2 HD app for iPad or Office2 for iPhone, but will be released shortly via app updates. The biggest and most welcome change is the implementation of an autosave functionality in all the apps, which mimics the MS Office autosave feature by creating an automatic backup copy of your document at specified intervals while you work. Office2 still features a Save button (still represented by an archaic floppy disk icon) that lets you save your documents, but one of our major complaints in last year’s review of the app was the possibility of losing work if you forgot to save when switching to another app or quitting. With the new autosave feature, your changes are automatically preserved; if you switch to Safari to research something and end up Wikipedia diving, your brilliant research paper won’t be lost. You still have to manually save your changes, but Office2 keeps track of them in between taps of the Save button.

Doc2 was the initial app the ByteSquared team released, and it now includes the features that a majority of users utilize most of the time. This maturity allows ByteSquared to focus attention on their Sheet2 and Slide2 apps, and both had updated features to show off at the expo. Slide2 gets two major updated features, including the ability to better support Microsoft Smart Art (not all of which is hideously garish, so you can punch up your mobile presentations) as well as support for dynamic charting from data in a table. Anyone presenting sales figures or metrics on the go will appreciate the computer-free convenience of in-app chart creation.

Sheet2, the spreadsheet app, is getting a more under-the-hood update to better support file fidelity. While the app is capable of opening/importing MS Office formatted files, it strips out pieces it doesn’t understand, such as Macros or complex formatting. With the update, Sheet2 will be able to preserve features it doesn’t support when saving, so you can open complex spreadsheets on the go, make changes to numbers, and then send the full file on to a desktop user with all the features still intact. You can’t edit a macro on your iPad, but now you can still share without causing interoperability issues in the office.

The Good Stuff

In addition to the app feature upgrades on display, the ByteSquared Team was also talking up their partnership with Good Technology, a Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile Application Management (MAM), and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) company that builds software to help enterprises secure their iPhones and iPads.

Office2 Pro for Good for Pad (rather an unwieldy name) features the same text, spreadsheet, and presentation editing capabilities as the regular Office2 suite of apps, but the app runs inside a secured container on your iPhone/iPad. This allows corporate administrators to control access to sensitive documents and information, so you can’t just grab a copy of a confidential business memo on your phone and email it out using your iCloud account. In addition, both the Pro and regular versions of Office2 feature a built-in version history, allowing you to roll back up to 10 versions of a document to recover from unwanted changes.

You can see all the features of Office2 for iPhone and Office2 HD for iPad at ByteSquared’s website, and be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld / iWorld 2013.

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