Microsoft has released two new apps for the iOS platform, Microsoft Lync 2010 for iPhone and Lync 2010 for iPad, targeted at enterprise users with an Apple gadget in their pocket or bag. Both free downloads - though requiring a Lync Server or Office365/Lync Online account in order to actually function - the two apps offer instant messaging, audio conferencing and VoIP calls while on the move.
Real-time availability updates are given, as well as single-touch Lync conference call participation to avoid having to punch in lengthy passcodes. There's also transport layer security (TLS) and perimeter/internal network protection, neither of which demand a VPN, for increased data security.
Although of little interest to non-enterprise customers, the new smartphone and tablet apps are a sign that Microsoft's software teams are taking Apple's iPhone and iPad market penetration seriously. The company obviously has its own tablet strategy in the pipeline, with Windows 8 expected to show up on models from ASUS and Dell in the latter half of 2012, but that doesn't stop Microsoft from spreading its reach to those who call on its Cupertino rivals instead.
Earlier this month, Microsoft released a version of its Kinectimals game for iPhone and iPad, until that point only available on Windows Phone. The software push does also give the company's engineers some practice making tablet apps, something we're hoping gives them a head-start when it comes to Metro UI apps on Windows 8 tablets next year.