Until today, you had to use the Dropbox-like Google Drive app or web interface to access Google Docs on iOS. But now Google has released official apps to work on documents and spreadsheets, called Google Docs and Google Sheets, respectively, for iPhone and iPad. An app for presentations called Slides is coming soon.
You can view, edit, and share any documents or spreadsheets stored in your Google account through the apps. And unlike Office for iPad, everything is free.
Google shows your most recent files when you open either app, and there’s an offline mode for working without an internet connection. Each app is obviously more tailored for its respective tasks than the more generic Google Drive app. They share the sleek, minimalistic design taste Google is well known for. Google will start sending users of the Drive app to the App Store to download Docs and Sheets.
The new mobile productivity apps follow Microsoft’s debut on the iPad with dedicated Office apps for 365 subscribers and new iWork apps from Apple last fall. The main differentiator between Microsoft’s, Google’s and Apple’s productivity suites is that Office can’t edit documents without a monthly Office 365 subscription. Apple and Google both offer their productivity apps for free to customers, although Google is certainly more platform agnostic.
Google has also released dedicated Docs and Sheets apps for Android.