Lion brought with it many iOS like advancements; enhancements to Multi-Touch Gestures, Full Screen apps, Launchpad, Resume/Auto Save/Versions, an iPad like Mail interface, iCal and Address Book highly styled like the iOS counterparts, auto termination of applications again borrowed from iOS, reversed scrolling to better match up with touch screen devices, and many more things that all spell out one thing; OS X is borrowing heavily from the design of iOS.
With each iteration of the OS since Leopard, Apple has made it easier to integrate Exchange Messaging Services with OS X native productivity applications — Mail, iCal and Address Book. Apple's latest Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 Lion, has been out for some time and Apple has made significant changes to some of the native apps including Mail and iCal that make setup and use of Google services even easier. Last year I wrote about how to do this under Snow Leopard. Let me show you how to do this under Lion.
## System Preferences ##
The simplest method to setting up Exchange Messaging services on OS X 10.7 is via the _System Preferences_. OS X Lion System Preferences has a new option called _Mail, Contacts & Calendars_ under the _Internet & Wireless_ section. Select it.
## Mail, Contacts & Calendar ##
This section reminds me a bit of the Mail preferences pane in iOS. From here we can set up various email and calendaring services from Yahoo, AOL and others. To setup a particular service, click the _Add Account…_ button and select the icon for the service. In this case, we are setting up Exchange so select _Microsoft Exchange_.
You will be prompted to enter some information about your Exchange account. Click _Continue_.
After entering your account information it will take a few seconds for OS X to connect to the Exchange server and discover any exposed services. Click _Continue_.
You may get a confirmation screen where you can add more information or correct inaccuracies. Click _Continue_.
If all goes well, you will be prompted with the following screen. If everything looks good, click _Continue_ or click _Go Back_ to make changes.
You will then get one more confirmation screen where you can disable any Exchange service you do not want to sync to your Mac. Once you have enabled the services you want click _Add Account_.
Your Mac is now setup to use Exchange email via Mail, Exchange calendar via iCal, and Exchange contacts via Address Book.
Once I had setup the OS X 10.6 VPN and had a working connection to my employers' network I wanted to use the native OS X 10.6 applications to access my email and calendar. I have a copy of Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 which includes Entourage. Entourage is Microsoft attempt at providing an Outlook type experience on the Mac. While it works it does not work well (the software is as slow as molasses) and the user experience is not up to par with what a Mac user might expect. I only had one copy of Office 2008 for Mac and I wanted to be able to check my corporate email from any Mac on which I had an account.
Apple promised that Snow Leopard had native support to Exchange mail and calendar and I wanted to test their claims. Setup was much easier than I thought but you'll need to know the address of your Exchange server. You can get that from your Exchange server administrator. After connecting to the VPN, launch Mail and selected Mail->Preferences->Accounts. Click the + to create a new account and enter the email address and password for the account. Mail will attempt to scan for the mail server. If it does not find it, no problem - just select Exchange 2007 from the menu and enter the relevant information. At this point, I also selected the check boxes to set up iCal and Address Book. These can be done later but doing it now made things easy. Once this is done you should have an entry that looks like this.
You do not have to use Mail to initiate the setup. You can also use any of the other apps, iCal or Address Book. I did encounter one issue that I have no been able to resolve. iCal is not able to connect to the Exchange server at all. I've Googled around and hung around Apple forums since Snow Leopard debuted looking for a solution to no avail.