Tech giant Microsoft has validated the Apple Watch -- as if the smart watch needed any more validation -- by rolling out a new batch of wearable productivity apps for the iconic device, including Outlook for Apple Watch.
Redmond already rolled out wearable apps for OneDrive, OneNote, PowerPoint, Skype, Yammer, and Cortana, among others, as part of its stated mission to reinvent productivity on all platforms. Outlook for Apple Watch, though, is the one that’s getting the most attention.
“You know the feeling -- you’re close to a critical deadline, working hard to finish that report, app or blog post (ahem). You are jogging in the morning, managing meetings or juggling life -- but you still can’t afford to miss key inputs that could risk your project, or your day,” said Carlos Bohórquez Marín, product manager for the Modern Collaboration team, in a blog post. “In this highly connected mobile world, you must remain focused and deliver on time.”
Outlook for Apple Watch is essentially an extension of Outlook for your desktop. Microsoft said it will help Apple Watch users keep up with e-mails, calendar and other aspects of their lives.
Focused Inbox Watch notifications are a big part of the experience. But you can also do other things you typically do on a PC, like browse and read full e-mails and delete, flag, archive or schedule the messages to appear later.
“We’ve also added Quick Replies, with pre-written responses and voice dictation for a more personal touch,” said Marín. “Finally, you can see unread e-mails and your next calendar appointment on the Glance screen.”
Is It a Good App?
We asked Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, for his take on Microsoft’s Apple Watch apps. He told us if you can’t sell your own devices then you have to build apps for other brands' devices.
“If you don’t do it, somebody else will,” Entner said. “Microsoft is doing the right thing and bringing its apps to every device, even forward-looking ones like the Apple Watch.”
Next question: Will anybody use Outlook for Apple Watch? Entner countered that question with another question: Is it a good app?
“If it’s a good app people will absolutely use it. Outlook is one of the most popular ways to access e-mail,” Entner said. "Microsoft makes some terrific products. They make some bad ones, too. But when they do something great, it’s really great. People will vote with their feet.”
More for Android
Microsoft is encouraging Apple Watch users to add on Wunderlist, which creates a to-do item based on a verbal command (like “take the dog to the vet Thursday at 9 a.m.) and automatically adds a due date and reminder.
Redmond also introduced Yammer for Apple Watch -- coming soon -- to help you stay on top of important conversations and take action. Then there’s Microsoft Translator for Apple Watch and Android Wear that lets you speak into your watch to get translations in 50 languages.
Also on the Android Wear front, the new OneDrive promises a better experience than the last version. Every time you activate your watch, for example, you’ll see a photo from the last 30 days. OneDrive notifications keep you up to date on shared documents. Microsoft has also rolled out OneNote for Android Wear to help users keep track of notes.