The new iPad has a great price tag and good features but a hidden price trap for Microsoft Office users.
It has a 10.2” screen with support for important accessories like an external keyboard and Apple Pencil.
The trap is in the screen size, at 10.2” it’s 0.1 inches more than Microsoft allows for using Office apps without an Office 365 plan.
Why does Office cost more on a 10.2” iPad?
Microsoft uses screen size to ‘draw a line’ between mobile devices (which can use Office apps for free) and computers (which need a paid Office licence).
There’s a lot of overlap between a tablet device and a laptop. Tablets are now powerful, can multi-task and have physical keyboard. Even some smartphones can get a screen, keyboard and mouse to make a desktop computer of sorts.
Like it or not, the dividing line is set at 10.1” and the new iPad is just over that limit. The same rule applies to Android tablets, though Android based tablets seem to be a dying breed.
What does it mean for the Office apps?
It means the larger screen iPads need an Office 365 ‘subscription’ (Home, Personal, Uni or business) to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook.
Any of Office 365 plan is enough. Some reports wrongly suggest that a ‘new’ Office 365 payment is necessary or that a $99 Home plan is required, that’s nonsense.
If you have an existing Office 365 plan, just install the Office Mobile apps. Login to your Office 365 account and the apps will work.
If you don’t have Office 365, pick up Office 365 Personal for one person on multiple devices and computers. Office 365 Personal officially sells for $70 but should be available for a little less (as always, never pay retail for Office 365 and never buy direct from Microsoft)