Okay, so I got around to setup Outlook 12 with my pop3 mail, and I give it my name and email, and click next. It spent some time thinking, and then it configured itself on its own. As someone who has gone through countless of those setups, this is very cool.
Since the server configuration is mostly standardized, it is easy to see how they do it, I even read somewhere that they give the server a way to hint to Outlook what the settings are.
It is easy of the surface (I'm sure that there are many pitfalls under the cover) and it is very sweet.