1 2 Previous Next 25 Replies Latest reply: Jul 21, 2012 3:33 PM by etresoft
conejo61 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

This is a combination of a question and a rant, I suppose. When I first came to the Mac platform back in 2003, I looked to see what the best email clients were and was surprised to find nothing that I thought was really strong. I started with Mail, hated it, switched to Entourage, and then since that time  I've used or demoed about everything I can find. Powermail, Eudora, Mailsmith in years past, and more recently Postbox and Sparrow.  I find all of them sorely lacking and it just keeps begging the question in my mind: why hasn't anyone yet created a truly professional-grade email application? I honestly think there's a huge market for it, and I think a lot of people would be willing to spend $30-50 for an app that got it right.

 

Right now, I use Mail with the add-ons MailTags and Mail Act-On, and  I've got my workflows and practices down to a pretty tight level. I am an adherent of inbox zero concepts/GTD and I practice them. Like many of you I get a lot of email, probably 200-300 per day.  There is no application I use on my computer more intensively than email, and yet it's the one app that is probably the most lacking from a development standpoint.

 

here are some of the things I'd love to see:

 

- support for IMAP, POP3 and Exchange

 

- an attractive, Mac-like user interface. Could Mail get any uglier? Why yes, yes it could, we now have Mail in Lion! Holy crap, were they incentivized to make it as dull and unattractive an app as they possibly could? If so, that team must be getting huge bonuses this christmastime.

 

- industry compliant tagging

 

- robust search functionality. Let me do quick spotlight-based searches, or give me a search dialogue box where I can construct more complex queries.

 

- robust smart folder functionality. Mail does ok here, but it could be a lot better.

 

- global rules (which Mail has but an app like Postbox doesn't), and then the ability to either have the rules applied automatically to all messages, or to fire a rule "on-demand" with respect to a single selected email (in other words, build in Mail Act-On functionality)

 

- integration with social media. Postbox does a nice job with this. Hit their info pane button and you see a nice summary of all the links and possible social media interactions available via that selected email

 

- integration with cloud-based file storage, and apps like Evernote, DevonThink, Omnifocus, etc

 

- an intuitive, flexible layout that allows me to see my accounts and folder structures the way I want to see them, not the way the app forces me to lay them out.  Mail does a much better job of this than Postbox, for example.

 

- integration with industry-standard archival practices. For example, integrate with MailSteward.

 

Mail is honestly not that far away, but they've been "not that far away" for the last 8 years I've been using a Mac.  I keep thinking SOMEBODY has to get this right and step up to fill this need, and nobody does. What  I'd really love to see is the OmniGroup (the guys that make fine apps like Omnifocus, Omnigraffle, Omnioutliner, etc...) step up and make "OmniMail". Give me an interface and a user experience I look forward to using, not one I use in spite of the interface. Give me a simple, efficient structure with depth and power under the hood that I can customize and tailor to my workflows.

 

if any developers read this, I am begging you: create this product. I've read every email app review I can find, visited a ton of blogs, user forums, etc..., and I think there is a huge demand for this kind of an app. If I did such coding, I would take the project on myself, but I'm just a user, not a developer.

 

Hope it happens someday. From my perspective, it's sorely needed.


MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.2)
  • 1. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    CT Level 6 Level 6 (15,515 points)

    Have you tried Apple's Mail?  It's pretty good!

  • 2. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    conejo61 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Did you actually read my post?

  • 3. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    sig Level 8 Level 8 (35,770 points)

    To long a rant. Post your comments here:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html

  • 4. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    conejo61 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sigh.

     

    No, it's not feedback for Apple. Apple has gotten plenty of feedback over the years about Mail's deficiencies and has obviously decided to do little about it. This was written to and for other users, and developers. If it's too long, don't read it.

     

    I own my own business (a couple of them, actually) and have spoken with a half dozen other guys in similar situations to me who are all mac-based, and all of us have the same mindset: no one has made a genuinely pro-grade email app, and we all want fairly similar functionality. I hope that someone who is actually interested in this subject reads and joins the conversation.

  • 5. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    Cattus Thraex Level 4 Level 4 (1,715 points)

    ‘why hasn't anyone yet created a truly professional-grade email application? I honestly think there's a huge market for it, and I think a lot of people would be willing to spend $30-50 for an app that got it right.’

     

    Yes, you are right. In our age, at the beginning of 3rd millennium, we really need a pro e-mail app.

  • 6. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    sig Level 8 Level 8 (35,770 points)

    This may not be the venue you are seeking for your "question and a rant." In any case have you tried Gmail? Thunderbird?

  • 7. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)

    I wish people would stop jumping on the OPs use of the word "rant" (always ill-advised) and take seriously the point. If you don't have anything to add, just stay out of the thread.

     

    I've tried Thunderbird, but went back to Mail because the interface was too busy and it sometimes didn't sync properly (thought that could have been due to early Lion issues).

     

    In any case, I'm supportive of the OPs suggestion. I don't mind Mail that much, but I have often wondered every time there's a Mail update or an OS upgrade why its so feature-thin. My biggest 'wish' for Mail would be more flexible Rules and better archiving.

  • 8. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    mulligans missus Level 2 Level 2 (370 points)

    conejo61 wrote:

     

    I own my own business (a couple of them, actually) and have spoken with a half dozen other guys in similar situations to me who are all mac-based, and all of us have the same mindset:

    Pretty much a good way to corner the market. I run an Entertainment business and Apple's Mail has never yet let me down. I refuse to compromise it with any third party add ons though. Gets better each update of OSX. A dozen of my mates use nothing else.

     

    Cheers

  • 9. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    conejo61 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    sig....I honestly don't know why you are participating on this thread. You've done nothing but criticize it. Just leave it be and take your criticisms elsewhere, please.

     

    re gmail and thunderbird, or course I've looked at them. Go look at the feature list I write above. Do you honestly think either of those comes remotely close to that? And add in Thunderbird's reputation for instability and you've got a double whammy.

     

    The closest app I've found to my feature list above is Mail with MailTags and Mail Act-On added in. Without them, Mail is a very pedestrian application. With them, it is FAR more powerful, but still doesn't fit my desired feature set above. And aesthetically, Mail may be the worst app in the Mac market. Why Apple can make such beautiful hardware and then leave this app to be so incredibly plain is beyond me.

     

    Softwater.....thank you.

     

    mulligans......if you run your own business, I would strongly recommend you take a look at MailTags and Mail Act On. They don't "compromise" Mail, they tremendously enhance and improve it.

     

    Bottom line, in this day and age it's ridiculous to me that these 4 things are not simply in every email app available:

     

    - industry-compliant tagging

    - robust search

    - global rules that can be nested and applied either automatically to all messages or on demand to one

    - an attractive GUI

     

    Those are not pie in the sky requests and yet there is not ONE SINGLE APP that has them, and that's absurd.

  • 10. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    Rob Gendreau Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)

    I agree completely; email applications on the Mac lag (and I agree with the OP's frustration with responses as well).

     

    I also have settled on Mail with Mail ActOn and MailTags; this functionality should be incorporated into the OS. I actually like using Outlook in Win 7 better; it's super easy to connect files, contacts, email and other stuff right from one application. And Win 7 has better preview and tagging built in, better than QuickLook. On the server side we desparately need gmail to use tags, but I don't see that happening. I still prefer the labeling scheme it has over Apple's mail, however. But I also find that it confuses many users (labels vs folders).

     

    There are also other applications that integrate email functionality, like SOHO Organizer, or Contactizer. Good, but not the email holy grail.

     

    I'd like to see communications built into the Finder or system, which badly needs an overhaul. It hasn't changed much since the 90's and shows it. Communication, whether it be email, tweets, social media posts, sharing, etc, is such an integral function of all work you do on a computer it should be better, um, integrated into all applications. You should be able to send data from any application to others in a variety of formats without having to go into an email application. Sure, you can now do this to a certain extent with either built-in menu items or services, but it's clunky. For example, when you write something you can either "save" and write to disk somewhere, or "export" in a different format, or maybe "email." All of those choices should at least be part of one dialog; it's just as likely you want to email, post, share or tweet what you just wrote, so just  having a "save" dialog is way outmoded.

     

    So, yeah, somebody get on this.

     

    Rob

  • 11. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    Ziatron Level 4 Level 4 (3,265 points)
    Why do we still have no pro grade e-mail app for the Mac platform?

     

    Since you are using Lion, it should be pretty clear that Apple is heading in the opposite direction.

  • 12. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    conejo61 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks Rob.

     

    that's one thing that Postbox gets right. If you get an email from someone who has facebook and/or twitter accounts, for example, there's an info pane that will show you all the links and actions you can take re social media from that one emailt. It's a nice feature and you're right, it would be nice if the OS itself integrated such cross-application sharing/communication.

     

    Mail specifically, and the operating system in general, could all be FAR more efficient. They need to recognize that the software/apps environment has radically changed since 10 years ago. And yet it feels like Apple keeps polishing and advancing technology designed around a software world that doesn't really exist any longer. 

     

    There's a lot I really like about Lion, but I still shake my head at some of the things that Apple's apps and their OS still fail to integrate. And like you said, we're talking about low hanging fruit here. Some of this stuff would generate both a lot of power and efficiency as well as 'wow, how cool' factors without requiring a tremendous amount of effort and re-coding.  I dunno, maybe Steve Jobs had some weird 'thing' about Mail and insisted on seeing it a certain way. i hope whoever is in charge now takes a more proactive and expansive view of what a Mail app should be.

  • 13. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (24,265 points)

    Have you read some of the questions here in the forums about Mail? E-mail is perhaps the most thankless application there is. No company, big or small, wants to deal with e-mail. It is considered a service that should be free and have 100% uptime. My web hosting provider, Dreamhost, is one of the best. They stopped offering their own e-mail service years ago. Now they just provide re-branded Gmail. People's web sites would be down for hours and no one would notice. If their e-mail server went down for 11 minutes they would get flooded with support calls.

     

    All of these problem apply to the client side as well. There are umpteen different e-mail clients and almost all of them are free. By your own admission, Apple Mail comes closer to the "pro" standard than anything. Just stand back when someone tries to compose an e-mail message with an image and tries to send it to three different people, each running a different vintage of Outlook. Outside of SPAM, e-mail volume is going nowhere but down. People are texting and tweeting and facebooking. What developer in their right mind would want to venture into this market?

     

    Could you elaborate on these parts?

    - integration with social media. Postbox does a nice job with this. Hit their info pane button and you see a nice summary of all the links and possible social media interactions available via that selected email

     

    - integration with cloud-based file storage, and apps like Evernote, DevonThink, Omnifocus, etc

     

    - integration with industry-standard archival practices. For example, integrate with MailSteward.

    Apple Mail could be enhanced with plug-ins to perform some of these features. That would be a feasible project. A new e-mail application is a non-starter.

  • 14. Re: Why do we still have no pro-grade email app for the mac platform?
    conejo61 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I don't disagree that developing an email app may not be an economically viable proposition. Or maybe it is. I don't have the data to draw a conclusion either way. But I know email isn't going anywhere.

     

    re the question you asked about elaboration.  I mentioned above how Postbox integrates social media links and actions into a separate info pane. They also do a nice drop with the second item you asked about. Can easily send dropbox links instead of actual attachments, can seamlessly forward emails to Evernote, OmniFocus or Things, etc...

     

    re tags, that's self exlanatory. Give us industry-compliant tagging. Mail has no tagging functionality whatsoever unless you add MailTags (which is an excellent add on).

     

    and then could they please for the love of all that is holy give at least a modicum of attention to making Mail halfway attractive?

1 2 Previous Next