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No iPad Office in Thailand

Microsoft has 'no plans' for additional languages

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Some weeks ago, Microsoft released Office for the iPad. Many users had already made alternative arrangements in the three years since the device appeared. Nonetheless, it was a significant release and although Office apps are free, users need an Office 365 subscription. 

Office for iPad in iTunes App Store (not Thailand).

In the Asia-Pacific region, Office for the iPad was unavailable in Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand. I asked Microsoft why (with particular reference to Thailand, of course) and if there were plans to release it in those countries. Initially, the few replies I received were not helpful. Last week my persistence paid off and an email arrived with some information.

A Microsoft spokesman had this to say:

“Currently we do not have plans to release Office for iPad in additional languages. However, as we develop plans for future updates, we will consider expanding our market coverage in addition to weighing customer input regarding additional features and enhancements.

“An Office 365 subscription is required to experience the full capabilities of Office for iPad and we currently do not offer Office 365 consumer subscriptions in Japan.

“We are committed to launching consumer subscriptions of Office 365 in Japan by the end of 2014.”

Local users will be aware that many other apps (including Pages) are capable of using Thai fonts. There is no Office for iPad available in Arabic or Hebrew either (languages in which the script runs from right to left).

Screenshot from Pages showing fonts available (including Thai font).

Apple released the 10.9.3 update to OS X late last week along with several other downloads, including Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 5.0 with more cameras listed, and iTunes 11.2 with changes to podcasts (plus an update to the iOS Podcasts app). Along with 10.9.3 was an update to Safari, which is now at version 7.0.3.

Although my updates for the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the iMac went fine, some found that the Users folder had become hidden. This was caused by a permissions problem if Find My Mac was activated. Several fixes were put online by Friday evening. On Saturday I found that a second iTunes release was available: version 11.2.1.

When I updated the older 15-inch MacBook Pro late on Saturday, the iTunes version that was offered with the bundle of updates was the latest (11.2.1) version.

I do not use the 15-inch Mac much these days. A friend said he might take it off my hands and it sits waiting. I use it mainly to double-check apps or sites: as a reference point when working on the 13-inch MacBook Pro. When I opened the screen, I was annoyed with myself when I saw the amount of dust it had collected. Sooner or later that could cause problems.

For the screen and body of the Mac I use some Elecom damp wipes I bought from iStudio. The tissues stay damp as the container is sealed. They can be pulled out one by one like Kleenex. After wiping the screen gently, I go over it again with a lens cloth. Some liquid cleaners are fine, but must be used carefully: poured onto a soft rag or tissue first. Too much liquid will damage a keyboard (I know, trust me) or even the internals of a computer; and that is not a repair covered under warranty.

There may also be particles that become trapped between the keys. To remove these may require the use of a light brush. When using a brush, however, there is a risk of accidentally pressing a key. There is an application for that and I downloaded Andreas Hegenberg’s KeyboardCleanTool (one word) that locks the keys until the start button is pressed again. It is still at version 1.0, but before it will run it now needs Assistive Devices to be turned on in the Accessibility Preferences. It also needs access confirmed in the Privacy tab of Security and Privacy Preferences.

This application is not available in the Mac App Store as it cannot be sandboxed. It is available from a number of online sources, including Andreas Hegenberg’s own blog (blog.boastr.net) where there is information about other apps he has developed.

In two weeks’ time, we will be in the middle of Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) which runs from June 2 to 6 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. A thousand Apple engineers and 5,000 developers are expected to attend. The images created to publicise Apple events sometimes offers clues as to what might be expected, but apart from half-closing my eyes and seeing an apple, there’s not much to be gleaned from this year’s WWDC icon.

So far, all we have is speculation and rumours. At the opening keynote speech, usually given by Tim Cook and members of his team — probably Craig Ferlinghetti, Phil Schiller and others — we may hear the first concrete information concerning new products and updates to come from Cupertino in the next few months: iPhone 6, new Macs, operating systems, software and surprises?


Graham K. Rogers, of Mahidol University’s Engineering Faculty, has OS X-flavoured web pages at www.extensions.in.th/index4.html

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