It's been a long time since Microsoft made a real productivity push on the Mac. OneNote has kept up with the times, but every other app in Microsoft's Office suite still has "2011" in its name. Thankfully, a new leak suggests that the next big version of Office for OS X could be nearing release. Chinese site CnBeta has published a number of screenshots that reveal Microsoft's latest Outlook app.
The email client (and its dock icon) are now fully optimized for Retina displays, according to the report, and Outlook also supports Apple's native pop-up alerts and Notification Center. Microsoft will make cloud syncing and Office 365 an even bigger focus this time around, judging by the screenshots. In terms of design, everything's a bit cleaner and there are transparency effects that should help Office feel like a better fit running on OS X Yosemite. Some of the icons seen here quickly ruin that sense of cohesion, however. If nothing else, it's slightly better than what we've got now with Office 2011.
The next major Office update for Macs is rumored to arrive sometime this year. Apple recently released an updated version of its iWork productivity suite, which has likely benefitted from Microsoft's lackadaisical approach to building new software for OS X. Obviously Windows remains the focus, but it's good to see that there's progress being made for users who need more than what iWork (or Google Docs) can offer.
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