One of the applications bound to bring along a series of changes when coupled with the upcoming Windows 8 platform is Outlook.
As part of Office 15, the next-generation productivity suite from Microsoft, the application will deliver optimizations for use on touchscreen devices, and will also provide an experience affected by the Metro UI interface in Windows 8.
In a recent article on winsupersite, Paul Thurrott offers some details on the main changes that Microsoft plans for Outlook 15. He also offers screenshots with the upcoming application to exemplify these changes.
As he notes, hundreds of millions of people are currently taking advantage of what the application has to offer, and they will find the same features and capabilities in the upcoming release as well, through a series of tweaks added into the mix.
Outlook 15 will arrive with integrated add-ons such as Outlook Connector and Social Connector, so as to offer support for Hotmail and for social networking, including Facebook, LinkedIn and more.
This will ease the process of adding Hotmail accounts to Outlook, and to keep an eye on favorite social networks through a new interface specifically designed for that.
The application will also arrive with a new feature called Peeks, which has been designed to provide users with the possibility to receive info on objects in Outlook without having to leave the current window.
For example, Outlook component links are moved to the bottom of the screen, and pop-up peeks appear when moving the mouse over module names, such as Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks.
Apparently, these peeks are also context-sensitive, which makes them even more useful. When writing a message for a specific contact, a People pane will appear at the bottom of the screen, similar to the old Social Connector.
The new Outlook also comes with a new approach to replies. While in the former version a new window appeared when replying to a message, the new app comes with inline replies.
Overall, it appears that Microsoft is bringing the new version of Outlook in line with other email and calendar clients (such as the Windows Phone version, which also features a “People” module instead of “Contacts”).