Your answer regarding reading or writing MS Word files is correct, if by the term "natively" you mean in a program created by Microsoft. As you know, Microsoft has not written a version of Office for the iPad. I doubt they will. So "native" in that sense is not possible, but valid Office documents can be opened, created, imported and exported in one of several Office apps for iPad. No need to rely on Pages. I use Pages, too and actually prefer it, but often I need to create Word documents and conversion between Pages and Word is perfect. By the way, I should mention that I don't work for makers of Quickoffice, but I have been using it since I got my first iPad (gen 1) and use it now on the new iPad (gen 4).
Quickoffice Pro does have its limits. As another responder mentions, it does not have all the bells and whistles that the desktop version of Microsoft Office has, but it is very capable for most daily applications.
You are incorrect about the use of the charging/syncing cable. I use <span id="INSERTION_MARKER">the charging/syncing cable that comes standard with an iPad to transfer files frequently. You can even mount your iPad as a drive then drag-n-drop files to and from many apps individually. Quickoffice is one of those apps. While many like to import documents via email, iTunes, Dropbox and SugarSync (I use these methods also), you can also use iTunes to import Word documents directly into your chosen Office app using your charging/syncing cable or via a WiFi connection.
Using iTunes, you can drag-n-drop multiple documents into your app window in the "File Sharing" section under "Apps" tab on a connected device. Click "Apply" to transfer all dragged files over. After a transfer you can view, open and edit your files from within the app on your iPad. You can even create folders within the app to organize your files. You can do this with most apps that save files to your iPad. I often transfer larger documents this way. It works in reverse also. I drag files directly from app file sharing windows directly to my desktop.
Additionally, there are applications to zip, unzip and download files. Those applications will allow you to unzip files then use the iOS "Open in..." function to open the unzipped file(s) in your chosen Office app.
Finally, some apps (again, Quickoffice Pro is one) will allow "on-the-fly" ftp access through your browser. When the function is turned on, you are given an address an address to point your browser to that will show a list of files you can click on to download. There is a great deal of flexibility in methods of putting files on adn taking files off of an iPad.