Microsoft Pushed out a new preview of Office 2016
Microsoft unleashes a new preview of Office 2016 along with its release date, price, news and features.”
Microsoft windows grabs a big deal of attention, of course – and Windows 10 has been generating a predictable media storm, particularly since this is a vital operating system to get right for Redmond given the failure of Windows 8.
However, don’t not forget that Microsoft has another major cash cow, Office, which has been gradually transformed from a Windows-Centric productivity suite of five core products into a vibrant ecosystem of applications.
In Microsoft’s own words, this time around, the company has reimagined the traditional Office experience for a mobile-first, cloud-first world – one where Office 2016 is expected to play an increasingly lesser role compared to Office 365, a previous version.
Few Important things
What is Office 2016 ?
It is the new version of Microsoft Office, the first one that is designed and built from the ground-up for mobile and cloud.
Its releasing date?
Office 2016 expected to launch in October 2015, at the same time as Windows 10 in what could well be Microsoft’s biggest launch ever.
Its cost will be ?
The office suite will be free for consumers on mobile devices and smaller tablets (with limitations, mind you), and probably as cheap as £95 (around $145, AU$185) for a likely “Office Home & Student 2016” edition, though the RRP of the 2013 version of this flavour is £110 (around $165, AU$215), with the subscription version of the suite (Office 365 Personal) running to £60 (around $90, AU$120) per year.
Microsoft’s Office 2016 (which is coincidentally the 16th iteration of the suite) will be launched in the second half of 2015 according to Julia White, the general manager for Microsoft Office, and it will likely arrive in October alongside Windows 10. It will still be best suited to a PC with a keyboard and mouse, a setup that Microsoft seems to believe is the best way to achieve optimal productivity.
Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore has previously shown off touch and mobile optimised versions of Word and PowerPoint on Windows 10, both of them on Lumia smartphones and part of a new offering called “Office for Windows 10”.
To have a look at the show, click here.
More recently, Microsoft further teased these apps at Mobile World Congress, showing off some changes in the aesthetics department, with Excel benefiting from a considerable makeover, and additions including snap functions and smart scrolling to make tapping in your spreadsheet data an easier process. A new Insights feature will seamlessly bring web references and definitions (powered by Bing) to your Microsoft Word reading experience, too.
To have a look at the show, click here.
Microsoft’s Office for Windows 10 will be released in two flavours; one for smaller 8-inch or less tablets and smartphones, and the other for larger tablets, hybrids with touchscreens.
Its not completely clear that exactly what the deal is with these apps, including pricing – it seems licensing fees will apply for business usage, though it’s not exactly clear how that will work at this point (and while consumers will get free access on smaller devices, it will be with caveats and no advanced features – a familiar enough story).
The Pictures of how Office 2016 might look like surfaced back in September of last year showing a dark/black colour scheme, and a new “tell me” help feature. The latter is already available for Office Online and Office for iPad, and offers a help assistant to guide you through how to perform various tasks.
Perhaps, Microsoft will also add automatic image rotation to Office apps, to help with the positioning of pictures in your documents, as well as additional sync options for its Outlook email client.
A point to be noted that InfoPath (the electronic form designing and filling software) will be dropped from Office when the next version of the suite emerges, though Microsoft says it will continue support for InfoPath Forms Services through to 2016
It has also revealed that a new version of the suite is coming to the Mac, finally, after Mac users have been left with the 2011 edition for the last half decade. Office for Mac has witnessed the introduction of a range of new features designed for Apple’s computers, including full support for Retina Displays, plus the user interface has been overhauled and brought up to date as was badly needed, boasting a refreshed task pane among others.
Microsoft Office 2016, promising that “compelling new experiences” will be part of the new suite, and yet it will remain the “comprehensive Office experience you’re long familiar with“.
The default choice for Microsoft’s Office is the subscription model, which is the company’s preferred method of delivery and currently maintains 24 different SKUs (stock keeping units) spread between home, education, enterprise, government and non-profit.
The company currently has between 9 and 10 million Office 365 Personal and Home users (and more than 50 million Office Online users), a tiny fraction of the estimated total 1.2 billion Office users that have deployed the productivity suite.
To try out Office 2016 on Windows, you can get hold of the Consumer Technical Preview for Office 2016 to give it a whirl. If you wish to do so, head over here and follow our instructions – all you need to do is a quick sign up and enter your email for access. However, bear in mind that you’ll be bound by an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), of course.
For Mac users, there’s a preview version available. If you want to have a look at the next incarnation of Office for OS X, then click here to grab the Preview for Mac.
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