Microsoft is known to be working towards unifying Outlook across platforms, something that the company discussed during its Ignite conference last year. The email client is expected to move to a web-based platform powered by what the firm calls Outlook on the web Powered Experiences (OPX) and is rumored to be in the works under the Project Monarch codename.
While the app is expected to be released in preview form later this year and is set for a 2022 public release, Microsoft seems to have posted what looks to be screenshots of the possible offering in the release notes for the latest Office Insiders Beta Channel build.
The notes contain an image consisting of two Outlook windows, with the window in the foreground showing off the new Organization Explorer feature. The one in the background, however, sports a new design housing new icons, a refreshed left pane, and rounded window corners. We can confirm from our testing that this is not something that is rolling out to Insiders, letting us believe that this is either a slip-up from the company or a mock-up of the upcoming email client, and not the finished product itself.
Additionally, the design in the image shares more in common with the desktop version of the client than the web app – which is what the unified version is expected to be based on. Though, there are the title bar icons like the web version, making the screenshots look like an amalgamation of the desktop and web clients.
It is possible that the Redmond firm is preparing a refreshed design for the desktop version to align with the rumored Sun Valley update for Windows 10 before moving to the OPX-based version. It is also not clear if the design is what is being readied for the next perpetual version of the productivity suite.