Lync for Mac 2011 – A First Look

Two weeks ago I announced that the Lync for Mac 2011 client was coming and got super excited.  Today, Lync for Mac 2011 became available through Microsoft Volume Licensing and thus generally available to most.

I’ve downloaded and installed it on my MacBook Air running OSX Lion and can now provide a first look at the new Lync client experience for Mac.

What’s New

What isn’t new? This client looks almost completely different to the old Communicator for Mac second class citizen. It feels A LOT more like the Lync client on Windows.

Incoming call/IM notification

Firstly, the incoming call/IM toast looks totally different. We now have a much more “Lync” looking toast going on, with the user’s name and title listed, number they called on and a preview of the IM.

Lync for Mac 2011 - Incoming call toast

We can now also deflect incoming calls to voicemail, mobile, reply with IM or set to DND. Can I get a hell yeah?

Lync for Mac 2011 - Redirect call to mobile

Photos

We can see from the IM session below that photos are now visible in Lync. This is something I think that is a real perception changer for Lync. I know it was one of the first things I noticed about the new client back when I saw previews of Wave 14, so it’s great to see the same experience on Mac.

Lync for Mac 2011 - IM conversation

Unfortunately, we can’t specify an internet URL for our photo though. Only the default corporate photo from AD or no photo at all is configurable. And yes, I have checked the Photos option in my Client Policy on Lync. 😉

Lync for Mac 2011 - Photos in Preferences

Call Control

We now have call forwarding options available in Preferences. This experience is the same as that in the Lync client on Windows, and means Mac users have the same control over incoming calls as Windows users.

Lync for Mac 2011 - Call forwarding options

Online Meetings

This is where the big improvements have been made. The Lync for Mac 2011 client can now join and create online meetings created by Lync, no more Web Scheduler!

Meet Now

From the menu bar, I can now create a meeting on the fly and select Meet Now.

Scheduling an Online Meeting

Now directly from Outlook for Mac 2011, we can schedule online meetings. Be aware this requires the 14.1.3 update (Service Pack 1) for Office for Mac 2011.

From the New Meeting screen in Outlook, I click the Online Meeting button in the ribbon and select Create Online Meeting.

Outlook then populates the meeting request with the meeting details from Lync, ready to send to your participants:

Joining an Online Meeting

Once I click Join online meeting in the meeting invite, my default browser fires up and accesses the simple URL on the Lync Server:

After this, Lync for Mac 2011 opens and joins the online meeting. Yeah I know, I’m deep in thought in this screencap.

Lync for Mac 2011 - Group ConversationI can then do things like share my desktop, and I can see the stage that shows me what content is currently being shared. Click the image to see it at a larger size.

Lync for Mac 2011 - Stage

Pretty sweet huh?

What’s still missing

Even for all the improvements, there are still unfortunately a few things that aren’t in Lync for Mac 2011:

  • Can’t tag a contact for status change alerts.
  • No feeds tab or conversation history tab.
  • No ability to create a team-call group.
  • Can’t specify an internet URL for your photo, as mentioned above.
  • Can’t save conversations to Conversation History folder in Outlook.
  • Still no streamlined USB audio device support, however my belief is that this is a Mac OSX limitation.

Improved Experience

This is just a quick first look at the new Mac client, but as you can see Microsoft have made some huge improvements here over the old Communicator for Mac that was really just a skinned Mac Messenger. It looks and feels more like Lync, and the meeting join experience is dead on the same now. Great to see an on-par client experience across platforms now.

28 thoughts on “Lync for Mac 2011 – A First Look

  1. Pingback: Lync for Mac 2011 now available | Lync'd Up

    1. Justin Morris

      Hey Michael, it depends on your organisation’s Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft as to whether it’s available on the Volume Licensing site, so this might by why you can’t see it yet.

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Første test av Lync klient for Mac. | Blog for prosjekt samordnet kommunikasjon

  3. Kevin Mortimer

    On the USB devices, its not actually a limitation of Mac OS X. Plantronics Blackwire and Jabra Biz devices work fine with Skype.

    Lync for Mac sadly has no separate audio setup controls and relies on the Mac default sound preferences.

    Muting of iTunes, etc would also be a useful feature.

    RCC controls and USB pairing is also a limitation of various vendors for devices like the CX700 or Aastra 6725ip

    Reply
    1. Michael

      Hi Kevin,
      We have a few issues with Lync on MAC, using Jabra headsets – the sound is distorted – like beeing in a bath and it has an echo. Can you please be so kind and tell me more regarding this issue or possible solutions?

      Reply
  4. Cristian

    Hi,
    Thanks for the run through. I have a problem with online meetings. As I click on the link in the calendar invitation, Safari opens the link and then initiates the meeting as an app in Safari – the actual Lync app doesn’t start! The same thappens if I paste the URL within the Lync client – the meeting starts in Safari! Any ideas why are highly appreciated!
    .c

    Reply
    1. |Kayleigh Miller

      Did Cristian ever find a solution to his issue, we have the same issue with our Mac Lync clients?

      “I have a problem with online meetings. As I click on the link in the calendar invitation, Safari opens the link and then initiates the meeting as an app in Safari – the actual Lync app doesn’t start! The same thappens if I paste the URL within the Lync client – the meeting starts in Safari! Any ideas why are highly appreciated!”

      Thanks in advance

      Reply
  5. Richard

    Hi Justin, I dont seem to have the “Create Online Meeting” button in Outlook. I have reinstalled lync and I have the latest Office version 14.1.4. Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Richard

    Reply
    1. Justin Morris

      Hi Richard, do you have the “Online Meeting” button in the ribbon when you open a new Meeting Request in Outlook at all?

      Reply
        1. Justin Morris

          I’d suggest completely uninstalling and reinstalling both Office and Lync on your Mac and then give it another go.

          Reply
  6. Sam

    Hi Justin – Do you happen to know if there is a Mac compatible Lync desk phone or handset available? My organisation just moved to unified communications using Lync and while there are a host of device options available for PC users, none seem to work with OSX. Thanks, Sam

    Reply
  7. Michael

    Have not seen a way to use the call me at feature when joining audio in a scheduled meeting. I this not support in Lync for Mac

    Reply
  8. smgj

    Hi. I’m quite desperate now and wonder if you may be able to point me in the right direction.
    We have a lync domain configured with split-brain dns. We have av front end, a tmg and an edge server (tha last two in routed dmz). We also use vpn when out of office.

    Status is as follows:
    External to internal calls works fine for both pc and mac. (Ditto for opposite initialization of the calls.)
    internal – internal as well.
    For external calls via VPN to LAN (sonicwall netextender client) this works for pc, and connection, status and IM works for mac, but audio/video/desktop sharing does not.

    The vpn client is configured to use the remote dns (Target lan DNS).

    The setting clientMediaPortRangeEnabled = false.

    We’re not using split tunneling.

    All ideas greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Justin Morris

      Hi Selma,

      Can you confirm that users whilst they are connected to the VPN can route to the subnets internal users are on? This sounds like a connectivity issue.

      Reply
  9. smgj

    Hi – yes, I’m sure of that. We have two internal subnets, the adresspace for vpn users and the main LAN. The file server is in the same subnet as the frontend server and as the exchange server (main LAN 10.x.y.z) . The VPN users get another IP-range (172.x.y.z), but reach file server and the other mainLAN IPs without problems.

    And the VPN/pc users have the same published routes, the same DNS as the VPN/mac users… So basicly the Mac and the PCs should at least function identically – but they don’t….

    Reply
  10. smgj

    To clarify – we have internal users and internal servers in the same subnet (10.x.y.z) so if the client reach the servers, it also reaches the internal clients.

    Videocalls initialized while on pure external net and kept active while enabeling the VPN are staying up. Probably because these are kept outside the tunnell until a new call is made.

    Reply
  11. Julia

    Hello, when I am in confernce an when the presenter is sharing, an error appears in my Mac: “The presenter is sharing a type of content that is not supporte” coul you please help me with that? I cannot see when stage is sharing.

    Reply
    1. Justin Morris

      Hi Julia, do you know what type of content they are presenting? Lync for Mac 2011 only supports viewing PowerPoint presentations and application/desktop sharing, not whiteboard or polls or other presented content.

      Reply

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