Microsoft launches new Outlook for Mac — and cuts off some features while „work is in progress“
Outlook is a monolith in the Windows-world and although Microsoft is heavily trying to catch up with the Windows-app when it comes to the Mac-derivate, there is still a lot of work to do.
A next step of closing the lines has now been made while other, ground-solid features, have been removed — but let’s talk about that later. First of all, Microsoft is further pushing the on-premises-app for macOS to match the new lookalike of the forthcoming macOS 11 „Big Sur“ as Forbes quoted. Second, it may be a coincidence, but it fits quite well that the new version if being distributed to the customers while the support for older versions has been put to the grave.
Anyway, Microsoft Outlook for Mac-users might already have stepped over the pop-up message showing the „Introduction to the new Outlook“. If you haven’t: Don’t worry, it may be just a matter of time — I reproduced the effect by downloading the latest Outlook-version from the App Store. After connecting my Microsoft 365-Family account and my Outlook-com-E-Mail-account likewise, I didn’t see anything specific. After closing the app and opening it again, the dialogue appeared and I was — literally spoken — able to make the „switch“ to the new user experience. This — of course — may be reverted at any time by swiping the switch to the left at the upper right corner of the app-window, putting everything back into the old optics after a mandatory restart.
As stated before, the refreshed design brings the visual style of the Outlook-app much closer to the forthcoming new macOS 11 and fits really well into the Beta 20A5395g I am currently working with on my 2017 MacBook Pro. Anyway, it wasn’t an actual software-rollout from Microsoft if there wasn’t at least a big „but…“ in the calculation: Somehow (and we all may try to solve this riddle) Microsoft managed it to wipe away the essential support of iCloud- and IMAP-mails and even the support to connect the new Outlook-app to on-premises installations of Microsoft Exchange, entitled these as „coming soon“. Besides, the new features — according to Microsoft — are a revamped search engine, a new People (or „Contacts“)-section that allows you to start Microsoft Teams conversations straight from Outlook and the ability to create meetings by clicking and dragging over vacant time slots in the Outlook calendar — stuff the Windows-version is carrying around for quite some time now.
While users not using Microsoft 365, Outlook.com or Gmail may easily revert and go back to the „old“ Outlook-app, it is utterly bizarre why Microsoft pushes a new version of the app onto the market while it is still lacking the support for essential E-Mail-services. Personally, I don’t mind if Yahoo Mail is ditched, but especially IMAP (the service also iCloud.com is based upon when it comes to mailing) should be integrated before a messaging-app is released. Okay, of course we may switch back by all means, but the bad taste of yet another „nearly-ready“-release from Redmond comes in my mind and everyone thinking of the current quality management especially when it comes to Windows-update-cycles will know what I mean.
Putting this big contra-aspect aside, the app fits quite well into the design of macOS 11 Big Sur and feels even a little bit faster although it doesn’t match the speed of Apple’s onboard Mail-app at all. Anyway, „fits well“ and „looks fine“ may have been some kind of pro-argument in earlier times but cutting of the essential support for most of the E-Mail-systems outside Microsoft’s microcosm is — hopefully — just an accident and not the purpose, especially in times where Microsoft is doing many things right instead of sticking in its own bubble. Let’s hope that „Coming Soon“ will be part of the final app when the final version of Big Sur is released sometimes this Autumn — it’s definitely better this way or the try to overhaul Outlook on the Mac will be nipped in the bud!