Microsoft’s Outlook team has had a busy year. After the acquisition of Acompli and its transformation into the official Outlook app for iOS and Android, the email and calendar app has been put into use by nearly 30 million people. And today, the company announced that it’s further refining the look and feel of the app, but it’s sacrificing a popular standalone calendar app in the process.
The visual overhaul brings both the iOS and Android apps closer into their native environments. By leveraging material design on the Android front, Outlook looks right at home on Google’s mobile platform. The calendar section now shows more events at a glance and users’ inboxes are filled with contacts’ pictures to quickly see who’s sending emails.
On iOS, icons and other small details give you all the information you need at a glance without overly cluttering the screen. Again, the calendar section gets an update to make things clearer. The inbox now has dynamic icons to show when messages have calendar invites attached, complete with the date of the calendar invite right in the icon. Attaching content is streamlined as well, with a simplified file picker that focuses on photos.
Many of these design improvements come as the Sunrise team, which joined the company when Microsoft bought the calendar app in February, fully integrates into the larger Outlook team. However, that also means that Sunrise isn’t going to be developed much longer on a standalone basis. The cross-platform calendar app gained a lot of traction before the acquisition, but much of the functionality is being rolled into the main Outlook mobile app in future updates.
“All of this means Outlook will eventually replace the current Sunrise app,” vice president of the Outlook team Javier Soltero wrote in a blog post. “We will leave Sunrise in market until its features are fully integrated into Outlook, the exact timing of which we will communicate in advance.”
This is not welcome news to certain Sunrise users.
I LOVE Sunrise, and am not interested in using Outlook. Why are you doing this to me
I'm just a guy
— nilay patel (@reckless) October 28, 2015
However, Outlook users should continue to see improvement to the calendar section of the mobile app thanks to the design and engineering talent gained from the Sunrise team. Microsoft’s other big cross-platform acquisition this year, Wunderlist, is still being updated independently of other Microsoft products.