The Twitter hype machine went into overdrive on Thursday as Mailbox, the new, much talked about mail app for the iPhone, went live in the App Store. The hype was generated by two factors:
1. The app looks genuinely slick and a real move away from how we usually deal with email on our mobile devices.
2. The app was launched in a way rarely seen before, in that you had to register in order to use the app. Once you did register, you were placed in a seemingly endless queue of other users who also inexplicably wanted a new mail app.
This above photo is what you’re greeted with when you first open the app. If your Twitter feed is populated by any type of tech or social media content, you can be sure it has been filled with talk relating to the above screen over the past few days, as people scramble to get their name on the list and others impatiently wait for their little blue number to drop to zero.
Not very exciting, but it’s a genius ploy to let the app slowly gather momentum in the online community and get some serious word of mouth. It has worked, to say the least.
The reason Mailbox is a game changer is how it approaches the very concept of email. On first glance, it doesn’t look too different from the likes of Sparrow and Apple’s own Mail app, but that all changes once you dig a little deeper into Mailbox’s intuitive UI.
It seems the guys behind the app want you to see an empty inbox more often than you currently do, as they understandably feel that a cleaner, flexible inbox is the only way forward. If you finish your day or week with your inbox full, Mailbox hasn’t done its job.
Mailbox really shines once you begin noticing how quickly you can power through both your new and read emails. Mailbox borrows several user interface cues from what I feel is the most intuitive iPhone app out there: Clear. You can swipe from left to right to archive your mail and right to left to delete. It is a much easier way of dealing with your mail and getting rid of the ones you know you won’t return to.
It still seems to be missing the option to delete emails in a batch, but its still only version one, and when the ‘swipe to delete’ gesture is this fun to use, we can live without it for the time being. More and more apps seem to be integrating the gestures made popular by Clear, so long may it continue.
The biggest game changer Mailbox brings to the table is the ability to ‘Snooze’ your email when you get it. Let’s say the family are visiting on a Saturday afternoon and you get an email from the office you really cannot deal with until Monday. No problem! Simply swipe the message, and you’re given a new window asking you when you want to deal with it.
When you arrive back in the office on Monday, you will be greeted with the message again, even if you’re on your desktop or laptop. It’s a very clever idea, and one so simple, it makes you wonder why it has taken so long.
So far, the reviews for Mailbox have been overwhelmingly positive and it seems it’s truly the next generation of email. Time will tell if it will topple the behemoths that are Apple and Google in the race for the number one mobile email app.