Outlook users, we have good news and bad news. First the good stuff: thanks to April’s SP1 update for Office 2011, Outlook 2011 can now use Apple’s Sync Services to sync your calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes over the air with MobileMe. That’s a big improvement over Outlook 2011’s original release, which was limited to syncing just your contacts. Better yet, activating the new syncing options is drop-dead simple.
The Outlook for syncing is good, especially if you like USB cables.
To get started, just launch Outlook and click Tools > Sync Services, then check the boxes beside the types of data you want to sync (you can also get there by clicking Outlook > Preferences, then choosing Sync Services). Now Outlook will happily update your information across Sync Services-aware applications like Address Book, iCal, and MobileMe the way it should have done all along. Sounds great, right? It is, but unfortunately this feature won’t last as-is longer than the next Charlie Sheen joke.
And Now, For the Bad News
Starting May 5 (and right now, if you’ve already updated your MobileMe calendar per Apple’s emails), you won’t be able to sync your Outlook calendar over MobileMe. You’ll still be able to sync it to an iOS device by connecting to your Mac with a USB cable, however. The reason for this apparent bait-and-switch is that Apple is transitioning MobileMe to CalDAV, a standard which is unsupported by the latest Outlook update. We sometimes give Microsoft grief, but we can’t consider this hiccup to be too big a surprise. After all, Apple only announced the change a few months ago. Still, here’s hoping Redmond and Cupertino can get in sync –– see what we did there? –– in a future Office update. Outlook users shouldn’t have to keep one foot in the 20th century to manage all their data.