References to Office iOS apps spotted on Microsoft’s support site

Microsoft’s long-rumored Office suite for iOS and Android is like a unicorn: everybody’s talking about it and yet no one but a rare few have seen it. The Redmond-based Windows maker may have just “inadvertently” (conspiracy theorists, rejoice!) leaked another solid proof that Excel, PowerPoint and Word apps are coming to both the iPhone and iPad.

It’s interesting because previously we were wondering whether the mobile Office suite would only run on the iPad or target all form-factor iOS devices. This looks to be the case as Microsoft appears adamant to give Apple and its iWork productivity apps a good run for their money…

MacRumors points us to this discovery by Mac4ever.

Apparently, this document on Microsoft’s US support site mentions custom numeric formats in Excel 2013. Nothing strange about it – that is, until you hop over to the French support site which make mention of “PowerPoint for iPad”, “Excel for iPad” and “Office Mobile for iPhone”.

Here’s another screenshot.

MacRumors did several searches for these phrases across Microsoft’s support site, confirming they all “yield a number of other references”.

Don’t get yourself too excited as these product tags may have been applied improperly to support articles, though Microsoft is probably implementing support materials for Office iOS apps ahead of the official launch.

Last time we checked, Microsoft exclusively told The Verge that mobile Office for iOS and Android should be expected in early-2013. A spokesperson for the firm additionally confirmed that “Office will work across Windows Phone, iOS and Android”.

And if Microsoft product manager Petr Bobek from Czechoslovakia is right, the deadline for iOS Office apps is March 2013. Rupert Murdoch’s shuttered The Daily was first to produce physical evidence  of Microsoft’s work on the official Office for iOS suite back in July of this year.

The Office for iPad app icon, first published by The Daily

Unfortunately, it would seem mobile Office apps won’t offer the full experience on the go because Microsoft cunningly will provide limited editing functionality in order to upsell people to its full-blown desktop Office suite.

Luckily, a number of credible alternatives are available on the App Store for folks who really need to edit documents on their smartphone/tablet. And if  your daily productivity stems from Google Apps, you can store your files in Google Drive and edit spreadsheets and docs using the free Drive app for iOS and Android.

My favorite third-party Office alternative?

The awesome Quickoffice suite.

Oh, wait