Microsoft’s big changes to Outlook don’t end with an updated iOS app — Outlook’s Mac version will also get a major facelift in October, just in time for Apple’s macOS Big Sur release.
Announced as part of Microsoft’s Ignite developer conference, the new Outlook features new icons that more closely tie-in to the rest of the company’s apps, along with lots of rounded corners and semi-translucent panels to let whatever’s behind the app shine through slightly. In other words, it’s all clean, friendly and flat, much like the redesigned Big Sur apps Apple first showed off over the summer. At first blush, these might be unusual changes to an app that historically has been as straightlaced as it gets, but Microsoft was apparently keen to make Outlook feel “natural” when it runs on OSes other than Windows.
“We wanted you to feel at home while using Outlook for Mac without sacrificing what makes Outlook, well, Outlook,” said Microsoft marketing program manager Jessica Wilczek in a blog post.
Of course, Outlook’s new aesthetic isn’t all Microsoft has been working on. The company is also touting extra customization options this year, and folded its My Day smart list directly into the main Outlook canvas so users can more quickly grapple with the rest of their agenda. What we haven’t seen much of is Outlook’s new approach to viewing and managing the folks you work with — Microsoft says its new People view “helps you separate your contacts and colleagues from your messages and events by providing a central place to manage and explore those you collaborate with often.” (Here’s hoping Microsoft dives into these changes in more detail soon.)
All told, there’s really just one notable absence from this Mac-focused update: While the new Outlook continues to play nice with Office 365, Outlook.com, and Google accounts, it won’t support Apple’s iCloud email accounts at launch.