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Help with Mail, Contacts, Calendar and Documents for iPhone

I spent ten years in an Exchange environment and only since retirement do I appreciate what it did for me.  I am now using a MacBook Air running all latest Apple OS (10.7.2).  I also have MS Office 2011 for Mac.

Short Version of Question:  iCloud is not a desirable solution for me.  Will Google work if my goal is to have contacts, mail, calendar and documents sync with my iPhone from anywhere at anytime?  

Supplemental Questions:  (1) Can I easily upload my existing mail (from multiple folders and/or .pst files and/or multiple apps such as Outlook and Mail), contacts and calendar items from my laptop;  and (2)  Can I use Outlook on my Mac instead of Mail, Address Book and iCal if I am using Google?

Long Version of Question:  My attempts at arranging my own solution have resulted in what can only be described as a complete mess and pathetic failure.  My iCal syncs fine, but I can't invite to a meeting from the iPhone.  My Address Book seems to sync fine as well.  My email syncs, but it is POP (not IMAP) so it doesn't sync folders or mail sent from iPhone to desktop.  Moreover, I find the three applications inelegant compared to Outlook which provides all three functionalities in one application...except that Outlook won't sync to iPhone directly and when I turn on "synchronization services" in Outlook it leaves me with 46,000 (not kidding) contact cards named "no name".  I also can't get my contacts imported into Outlook (it crashes, as documented on any number of forums), save and except for one .pst file that consisted of email only, and which sits on its own and won't sync or merge to or with Mail.  And even if I could figure all of this out, it won't give me access or synchronize from anywhere (i.e. in the cloud).

I can appreciate that for most of you this is too easy to be worth answering, and so feel free to let me know what a stupid mess I have created out of something simple (even though I know this already).  The real issue is that my personal life was divided into Exchange and non-Exchange and now I need to merge them into a non-Exchange that still gives me most of the same benefits of Exchange environment.

Thank you.



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Watch Question

I had a similar issue and spend days if not weeks on this and finally ended up buying http://spanningsync.com/ as you do not want to waste your time again when Apple decides to change the sync preferences with their next release.

Read the full story: http://macbitz.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/entourage-and-google-calendar-still-all-synced-up/