Apple has pushed the idea that the iPad is an alternative to a laptop for years, without ever really convincing anyone. With the launch of iPadOS a year ago, the company took its argument up a notch. Now iPad has functionality and multi-tasking. It's not a laptop, but it's getting closer.
Even Microsoft is on board, giving some Office apps Split Screen support, and OneDrive Multiple Windows support. Earlier this year, we reported on Microsoft also wants Word and Excel to have mouse and trackpad support on iPadOS.
At the time, we said the support would likely come this fall. And so it seems, with Microsoft now testing trackpad support through iPadOS TestFlight.
According to MacRumors, Microsoft has been testing the support on beta versions of its Word and Excel Office apps. Both apps are in preview on version 2.42, available on Apple's beta service TestFlight.
It is worth noting Apple only brought cursor and trackpad support to iPadOS in March. While Microsoft may not want the iPad to become closer to a laptop, there's no doubt Word and Excel will become more usable with support. In other words, this move will benefit both the iPad and Microsoft's apps.
Microsoft clearly has long term plans to make Office apps more functional on iPad. Cursor support, Split View, and separate applications could all be available before the end of the year.
While Apple and Microsoft are currently trading blows over Cupertino's steep App Store revenue rules, Apple clearly sees Microsoft as an important developer for iPadOS. In fact, when the operating system was launched, the company's Craig Federighi suggested Microsoft Word integration with Split Screen was something users would like.
“Two Microsoft Word documents side-by-side, I mean that's enterprising right there!”