Noticed first by technology blog WinFuture.de, a screenshot of retail marketing materials indicate that the planned launch date of Office 2016 will be on September 22, 2015. The Office 2016 suite has been specifically designed for touchscreen users in mind, basically anyone on a smartphone, tablet or computer with a touchscreen monitor. Office 2016 also brings a focus to cloud storage of content, ideal for accessing the same batch of files across a variety of devices.
On a page called the Office 2016 Launch Hub, the marketing materials read “On September 22, 2015, we’ll release Office 2016 – with updates for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Skype for Business, Project, Visio, Access and Publisher. The innovation wave continues in Q2 with the release of Office 365 E5 and Skype for Business, and on-premise servers will follow.” Q2 is a reference to the second quarter of Microsoft’s fiscal year, which is between October 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.
Of course, it’s likely that the new touch-enabled version of Office has been timed to release prior to the upcoming launch of Windows 10 Mobile as well as a new Surface Pro tablet and multiple Windows Phones. The software has been public preview mode for weeks, basically available to anyone with an existing Office 365 subscription. However, anyone without a subscription can download the Office 2016 on a trial basis to test out the new features.
Microsoft has yet to announce any pricing details related to the release of Office 2016. It’s likely that the software will be priced similarly to Office 2013. On the Microsoft Store, Office Home & Student 2013 is being sold at a $139.99 MSRP with licensing to install on a single PC. That includes access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, but does not include access to Outlook, Publisher and Access like Office 365. Office 2013 also comes with 15GB of online storage as well as online sync with a OneDrive account to store important files.