The Daily, which first reported Microsoft's plans last November, says the prototype software is far enough along that its submission to Apple could be only a few weeks away.
Adapted for the iPad's tablet form factor and touch interface, a brief hands-on with the prototype reported in the article says the software will have an interface similar to Microsoft's OneNote, but also include elements of Metro, the design language used in Windows Phone and also for the software giant's forthcoming Windows 8. OneNote is a note-taking and information management app.
Office for iPad will let user create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files both locally and online, but it's not clear if other Office apps will be available. An updated iOS version of OneNote will show more of a Metro influence, according to the report, which also said an Android version of Office is not in development.
Earlier reports indicated Microsoft is likely to sell Office for iPad for around $10, the same price Apple charges for its Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps.