IBM's Lotus Notes 8.5 enterprise e-mail application is now available for Apple computers running the Mac OS X Leopard operating system, months after rolling out to Windows and Linux users.
Key to Lotus Notes 8.5 for Macs is an integrated user interface that lets users access and manage e-mail, team rooms, instant messaging, to-do lists, calendar, browsers and other tools from one screen.
The new release also interoperates with Web calendar applications from Google, Yahoo, and other public Web calendars, allowing users to display their Lotus Notes work calendar and their personal Internet calendar on the same screen.
IBM noted in a statement that this "social" feature in Notes will let workers keep tabs on customer meetings, lunch with the boss, the parent-teacher conference, and their children's athletic contests in one view.
Such a feature is as useful to corporate workers using Notes as it is an ominous reminder that the lines between work and play have blurred as they solider on in 2009.
IBM said "giving people a holistic view of their entire work world on one screen is a hint of things to come," but this is already happening, according to research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, who found in a recent study that:
"Outside of formally scheduled activities, work and play are seamlessly integrated in most of these workers' lives. This is a net-positive for people. They blend personal/professional duties wherever they happen to be when they are called upon to perform them -- from their homes, the gym, the mall, a library, and possibly even their company's communal meeting space, which may exist in a new virtual-reality format."
IBM, whose executives are mostly road warriors and aren't strange to mixing business with pleasure, is simply getting its Notes users ready for this on Macs. IBM customers can expect to hear more about this notion, and perhaps some news surrounding this blending, at IBM's Lotusphere in two weeks.
This new, more social brand of Notes for the Mac comes as IBM is seeking to better compete with Microsoft, the dominant messaging and collaboration software provider.
Microsoft is also busy making its productivity apps more social, integrating tools into SharePoint that keep users in the suites longer. However, Microsoft does not a social computing suite for customers, something IBM has offered in the form of Lotus Connections.
IBM also said Lotus Notes 8.5 has a storage savings feature that ensures that only one copy of an attachment is kept on the mail server, an attractive trait at a time when corporations are concerned about saving as much storage space as possible.
IBM also said its new Lotus iNotes 8.5 software is ready, allowing Notes users to access Notes through their Apple Safari browser from anywhere. iNotes, for example, allows the user to integrate the Notes calendar with Google calendar and also supports most standard widgets.
Finally, Lotus Symphony, the document, spreadsheet and presentation software suite IBM offers free to lure users from Microsoft Office, will be available later this month for the Mac.