Microsoft Office 13 - iPad in Hand

Microsoft Office for iPad could make its debut before July. According to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, the oft-rumored version for Apple's famous tablet, codenamed "Miramar," is being fast tracked to market ahead of Microsoft's touch-first version of Office, which is be designed specifically for the company's Metro environment. Sources say officials within Microsoft are eager to debut Office for iPad as soon as possible. Earlier rumors suggest it wouldn't be out until fall 2014.

While sources have confirmed the software exists, Foley said it wasn't clear how Microsoft will make Office for iPad available. Supposedly it'll require an Office 365 subscription, and integrate heavily with Microsoft's OneDrive cloud service (soon-to-be-renamed from SkyDrive), with options to save locally as well. Office 365 isn't new to iOS users, as Office Mobile for iPhone has been available for awhile now.

Apple's tablet is still the most coveted of slates on the market, and Microsoft putting Office for iPad ahead of its own touch-based Office for Windows 8 says a lot. There are certainly alternatives to Microsoft's Office suite, including software within Apple's own ecosystem, which are now free with every new iOS device (and Mac) that users purchase. Office for iPad will certainly be a welcome addition for power users, but it might not be the must-have it once was. In any case, we'll see if all of Microsoft's work was worthwhile when Office for iPad hits before July.