Demystifying the versions of Office Outlook for PCs, Phones, and Tablets

Microsoft is unleashing a bevy of names and editions of the next version of Microsoft Office Outlook. It’s hard to understand which version of Outlook you will need on PC, Mac, phones, and tablets.

Here are a list of known platforms on which the next version of Outlook will be available.

PC – desktops and laptops running Windows 10
Phones – iPhone, Android, Windows-based phones
Tablets – iPad, Android tablets
Special Tablets – Surface tablets, other tablets running Windows OS 10

Next, let’s list every brand name that Microsoft has used so far to describe the next version of Office Outlook.

Outlook 2016
Outlook for Mac 15
Outlook Mail for Windows 10
Mail for Windows 10
Windows 10 Mail app
Outlook for iOS
Outlook for Android
Outlook Web App for Office 365

Outlook 2016

This comes as part of the conventional Office productivity desktop suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) that we have used in the past. Outlook 2016 has a refreshed UI, tight OneDrive integration for cloud document management, and a machine-learning algorithm that learns how to “de-clutter” your inbox.

This suite is for people who want the full Outlook experience (Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, and Categories working seamlessly together) on their desktops and laptops like in years past. Pricing tiers are unannounced. Availability is Fall 2015 with no specific date yet.

Outlook for Mac 15 (aka: Outlook for Mac 2015, New Outlook for Mac)

This is the Office productivity suite for Mac users. It is designed to take advantage of Retina displays and Full Screen views available in modern Macs. Microsoft is promoting this version as a convergence in feature-set with the PC Office 2016. The prior version (Office for Mac 2011) took a public beating because it failed to do things that its PC counterpart could do.

Availability is scheduled for the second half of 2015.

Outlook Mail for Windows 10 (aka: Mail for Windows 10, Windows 10 Mail app)

This is a basic and feature-lite version of Outlook. It comes pre-installed on phones and tablets running Windows 10. These are Microsoft’s phones, Surface tablets, and other small tablets designed by other manufacturers that will support Windows 10. This lite version of Outlook gives you Mail and Calendar functionality. There are no Contacts, Tasks, or Notes in this feature-lite version. Support for Categories is unknown. The UI is streamlined when compared to Outlook 2016 for desktops. You can connect to EAS, Office 365, Gmail, and Yahoo accounts.

Here’s a video that shows the app.

Outlook for iOS (iPhone and iPad)

This app is available from iTunes App Store for free. It handles Mail, People (ie – contacts), and Calendar. People is limited to view-only data. This means you can search and view contact details of people in your address book, but you cannot add, edit, or delete records. There are no Categories or sort options.

Outlook for Android

This app is available from Google Play Store for free. Like its sibling iOS app, it handles Mail, People, and Calendar. People is view-only, no Categories, and no sort.

Outlook Web App (aka: OWA, OWA for Office 365)

This is the online version of Outlook that can be accessed from any desktop or mobile browser. If you have Office 365, you navigate to a web page to log in. If your organization used Exchange, they would provide you with a URL and credentials to log in to the Exchange Server.

The web interface handles Mail, Calendar, People, and Tasks. Categories and Notes do not work.

Microsoft also released native apps for iOS and Android called Outlook Web App. This was Microsoft’s recommended method to access Outlook on mobile devices prior to their recent native Outlook apps for iOS and Android. Page This ZDNet article claims Microsoft is planning to sunset these OWA apps in favor of the new Outlook apps for iOS and Android.

“…Microsoft plans to “sunset” Outlook Web Apps and the Outlook.com app for iOS and Android by summer, officials said.” (Source)

If you have heard of any other names used to describe the next Office Outlook, please share that with us in the Comments section.

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