Microsoft Outlook is now a fully featured Apple Watch app. An updated version of the iOS application released today added the new smartwatch functionality, which includes the ability to quickly glance at your inbox from the Apple Watch face, access pre-written replies, emoji and voice dictation, get custom notifications, schedule items for later, and more.
The iOS and Android versions of Outlook were first introduced in January, following Microsoft’s acquisition of the cleverly designed mobile app Acompli – an app whose focus was on reinventing email for the mobile age. The Outlook apps themselves were very much like Acompli’s original apps, making them seem more like a rebrand of that service rather than something Microsoft built itself. The new Apple Watch app has the same feel.
While of course, the Apple Watch has its own mail client built in, the Outlook app has become a preferred email app for many users because of its enhanced feature set involving support for attachments from cloud services, quick filters, calendar integrations for easy meeting scheduling, a “focused” inbox (for your most important mail), a variety of Mailbox-like swipe gestures for triage, custom notifications, and more.
Plus, the app works with Gmail, iCloud and Yahoo Mail, in addition to Outlook.com, Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange.
With the Apple Watch release, the app is more than competitive with the Apple’s default mail client, which also offers you the ability to receive only important email notifications (“VIP” messages), and the ability to view your inbox, flag and delete messages. But Outlook’s version is very feature-rich, with support for responding to emails from the Watch, while Apple’s Watch User Guide suggests that email is better handled on your iPhone. Outlook, however, lets you pick from quick replies, use emoji or dictate your response, similar to Apple’s Messages app.
Outlook’s notifications also show you more of the email’s text than those from Apple’s client.
At launch, Outlook for Apple Watch shows you your “Focused Inbox,” which is a better experience since this is your more mission-critical email. You can visit an “Other” tab to the see the rest, however. Beneath that, the app also offers you a calendar view.
You can also manage your inbox from Outlook on Apple Watch, including deleting, flagging, archiving, marking read/unread, and scheduling items for later, which are accessible from within a message or Force Touch. You can configure custom notifications for important messages. And there’s a “Glance” (an Apple Watch widget you access from the Watch Face by swiping up), which means you can more easily view your inbox without having to scroll around on the app screen. (Which frankly, I don’t find myself doing a lot.) The Glance displays your emails and your next calendar appointment, which makes it a multi-functional widget.
In other words, Microsoft’s email app for Apple Watch just topped Apple’s.
You can grab Outlook for iOS, which includes the Watch app, here.
In addition to the new app, Microsoft also launched wearables.office.com which highlights the company’s productivity apps for Apple Watch and Android Wear, including also Wunderlist, Yammer, Microsoft Translator, OneDrive and OneNote.