Several people have asked me about Office 2013. What's new? Is it available? Will I be offering lessons for it?
Right now, there is a free trial preview download of Office 2013 available from Microsoft's web site. You can check it out, but you need Windows 7 or 8 (sorry Vista and XP users).
What's new? Well, I've done a lot of reading about Office 2013, and the major new features are:
1. Microsoft is now offering a subscription-based model for pricing. Instead of having to pay for the software up front, MS is hoping more people will switch to a monthly or annual subscription model in an attempt to generate a more regular income for themselves. This new subscription model is called Office 365.
2. Office 2013 has much better "cloud" integration. Your documents (and software, if you're a subscriber) now live "in the cloud" which is basically a fancy way of saying all your stuff is now stored on Microsoft servers and you can access it from any Internet-connected device.
3. In keeping up with Windows 8's new "Metro" interface, Office 2013 has been redesigned to be more "touch screen friendly" so that it works on tablets and phones. Again, no big deal for desktop users. Don't worry, they didn't completely get rid of the familiar Ribbon [that they forced everyone into with Office 2007 - no I'm not still bitter about this!] but it's now more customizeble and easier to use on tablets.
That's basically it. There are a bunch of minor upgrades and enhancements for all of the apps. Engadget has the best review of Office 2013 I've read so far.
As far as my specialty goes, Access 2013 really only has one new major upgrade: they've made a lot of improvements for making web-based databases. I'll admit from what I've read it seems promising. I have yet to play with it though. It appears that there's now a way to bundle your Access web database up into an APP that you can distribute via Windows Store (Microsoft's equivalent to iTunes or the Google Play store/market). For the tiny percentage of people who actually have a Windows phone, this might be worthwhile. I'm personally an Android user myself, but if this technology looks like it's going to take off, I might consider picking up a Windows Phone just for this. See: What's New in Access 2013 on Microsoft's site.
Aside from that, nothing seriously new or groundshaking is coming in Office 2013. From what I've read, it's not being released until April 2013, so we've got quite some time yet... and it looks like EVERYTHING in my Access and Excel 2010 classes will work just fine in 2013. I'll of course be running through them as soon as 2013 is finally released just to make sure.