While still afflicted with reticence over providing a native iPad version of Office, Microsoft has updated OneNote for iPad in a way that, according to the company, makes it independent from its desktop counterpart.
Specifically, note-takers can now create notebooks and create, delete and rename notebook sections on their OneNote for iPad.
The new features come in response to requests from users who wanted to do "everything from within OneNote" in the iPad, Avneesh Kohli, a program manager on the OneNote team at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post Friday.
With this update, Microsoft also tried to address typing latency experienced by people using OneNote for iPad in Japanese, and cut in more than half the download size of the iPhone version of the app. Also new is automatic detection that a user is typing a list, so that the formatting doesn't have to be done manually.
Despite massive interest in a full-fledged, native version of Office for the iPad, Microsoft has resisted, and the unwillingness is most likely due to a concern that taking this step would benefit iOS and hurt Windows 8.
The porting of OneNote to iOS is an exception, along with several others including SkyDrive. Microsoft does offer browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote via Office Web Apps, and it recently improved this suite to work better on iPads.
A few months ago, Microsoft came out with a version of Office for the iPhone, but it's only available to people with an Office 365 subscription, and the feature set of the applications has been criticized as limited and inconvenient to use.
Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.