I have been wondering over the past month whatever happened to the next version of Microsoft Office for Mac. The current version dates back to 2011, and while there is nothing inherently wrong with it, it would be nice to see some of the innovations in Office for Windows and Office 365 from the past few years applied to the Mac world. Friday saw a surprise release from Microsoft of the next version of part of the next release: a new Outlook.
Today we are announcing the new Outlook for the Mac, which delivers improved performance and reliability and a fresh look and feel that is unmistakably Microsoft Office. This release offers a more familiar and consistent experience between Outlook on the PC, Outlook on the web and Outlook Web App (OWA) for iPad, iPhone and Android devices.
You have to be an Office 365 subscriber to get the new Outlook for Mac, but with Microsoft’s tie in of doing anything useful with the Office apps on iPad with an Office 365 subscription, that might not be too much of a stretch for people.
In their blog post, the Office 365 Team also announced updated timeframes for the other applications that make up the Office suite: beta in 1H2015, and final release in 2H2015. It’s loose, but good to know.
I installed the new version on Saturday (New Zealand time). It installed fine, transferred my message store across from the old version, and has given a good first days experience. The translucence along the top is a nice touch.
(From the 90 odd pages of comments on the blog post, it seems like some / many people have experienced issues with getting it to activate. And some features from 2011 have been eliminated in the first release, which is causing some consternation for Mac users.)