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Apple has quietly followed up a week of surprises with a massive one - an iPhone version of Microsoft Office.

The app, available from today in the US and internationally early next week, is free to download but only for iPhone, not iPad, and it only works for those who subscribe to Microsoft’s Office 365 service, which is around $5 a month.

The suite also only offers Microsoft's three core Office programs: Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Microsoft is seemingly trying to tread a fine line as it tries to sign more people up to Office 365 subscriptions, without removing a key advantage that Windows tablets have over iPads - the ability to run Office.

With the app, users can edit existing documents started on other screens from Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and can also make new Word and Excel files from their phones on the spot.

Analysts have played down the move however, describing it as "underwhelming."

"It's a step in the right direction, but it feels late and too small," said Frank Gillett, a Forrester Research analyst.

"They should have done an iPad version along with one for the iPhone sooner."

The app also works with Office 365’s cloud capabilities, meaning that changes you make on your iPhone will show up on other devices.

"With Office 365 Home Premium and Pro Plus, we promised they'd work across all of your devices," says Julia White, marketing manager for Microsoft Office.

"Now that those are out, it's time to expand think about other end points our users have said are important to them."

Look out for the app on your iPhone sometime early next week.

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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun. He also writes for Junkee and Fasterlouder. You can email him at david.swan@itwire.com or follow him at twitter.com/mrdavidswan

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