Outlook Web App for iPhone and iOS

Overnight Microsoft has made available Outlook Web App (OWA – formerly known as Outlook Web Access) apps for iOS that enrich the Apple users experience when using Exchange on an iPad or iPhone.

While iOS natively supports ActiveSync users are still forced to use the built-in mail, calendar and contact apps.

As a former iPhone and iPad user myself I know the challenges and limitations of these.

Despite Office 365 and Microsoft pushing for a clean UI via the web and supporting offline mode, users on iOS devices most likely would remain in the native apps unless they needed some extra functionality hat only OWA offered.

Having these apps available allows the very large iOS population to now get the best of both worlds.

While this works with Office 365, it also works with Exchange Server directly – either on-premises or hosted elsewhere in private or public clouds.

You can download the apps here:

iPad – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/owa-for-ipad/id659524331

iPhone – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/owa-for-iphone/id659503543

 

The Office 365 update process and its affect on humans

Since Office 365 vNext / Wave 15 / service update was made available on February 27 this year the hottest question has been “when will my tenant be upgraded?”.

I can tell you as a Office 365 MVP and one of it’s top partners there was a certain sense of entitlement that my company’s (Paradyne) tenant would be upgraded early.

It would make logical sense wouldn’t it?

Speaking as a MVP I thought that as an advocate of the platform it would make sense that I be using the latest and greatest. And as a partner we need to be on the latest releases so we can demonstrate them to our customers.

Those points are true – but the service update has a process to be followed and there are no exceptions.

I have heard customers and partners saying the process is rigged against existing customers. That’s simply not true.

Think of a car fleet – people who sign up now get the current model, those who signed up previously have to wait until they are scheduled for a refresh.

There are countless analogies that can be used but at the end of the day they all hold one thing true – there is a process that needs to be followed, and it was set as such for very specific reasons.

We have had customers approach us as they cannot wait and want to be manually migrated to a new tenant. The thought has crossed my mind for my own production tenant as we have done this before when the BPOS transition was felt to be too slow (for both customers and ourselves). There are pros and cons for this approach and each organisation has to think about how it applies to them before simply leaping forward to use the shiny new version.

I won’t be doing a manual transition to a new tenant for Paradyne as it is a business platform that needs to be fully functional – rather than have access to the latest bells and whistles.

Do I feel slighted by Microsoft that my tenant isn’t being given priority? No. We are part of a global update process, one that I chose to be a part of when I signed up for the service and shut down our own infrastructure.

Fellow Office 365 MVP Sean McNeill has written a great blog post addressing those who criticise the upgrade process. As people who represent Microsoft as both MVPs and partners we have access to inside information. We also have priority access to technologies. Sometimes however we are part of the system and have to be content to be treated as such. Sean’s speaks to that.

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