Microsoft acquired email app Acompli last year, and calendar app Sunrise earlier this year. Both are the best email and calendar apps for iOS, and now Microsoft is merging them together to create an even better version of Outlook for iOS and Android. The first signs of the combined result will be available today in the form of an Outlook for iOS update. While the features of Sunrise won't be available just yet, Microsoft is tweaking the design of the entire Outlook for iOS app and improving navigation in the calendar.
It's a refined look that brings small, but useful, features like the date on the calendar button, and visual cues to make it easier to navigate Outlook for iOS. Calendar event details have been tweaked to provide more information, and overall the app just looks a lot better. Microsoft is also bringing a similar overhaul to its Outlook for Android app with lots of Material Design, but it won't be available just yet.
All of the best features from Sunrise are coming to Outlook for iOS and Android
"Over time we're going to bring all of the best features from Sunrise to Outlook for iOS and Android," explains Microsoft's Pierre Valade, director of product for Outlook Mobile. "At some point down the line we'll discontinue Sunrise. We'll give people enough time to switch, but we want to make sure we focus on Outlook where there are already 30 million people using it." That means the standalone Sunrise app will eventually disappear, and you'll have to use Outlook to access the calendar features. That might disappoint some people who use other email apps, but Microsoft is clearly focusing on the 30 million active users of the Outlook app for future updates.
Microsoft's Sunrise and Acompli teams are now working together on the combined app under a single Outlook Mobile team. In future updates we'll likely see 3D Touch integration, allowing iOS users to load directly into the calendar. It's something that Valade speculated about during an interview with The Verge, noting that the team can "do some cool stuff" with 3D Touch. While these new features are rolling out to iOS and Android users, it's likely that some of these new design principals and features will eventually make their way over to the Windows 10 Mobile version of Outlook.
Microsoft hasn't set a time for the removal of Sunrise just yet, and the company says it will keep the app available until its features are fully integrated into Outlook. If you want the freshly redesigned Outlook for iOS app then it's available immediately in the App Store, and the Android equivalent will be arriving soon.