1. Mail.App Rant + Is Apple Abandoning Its Core OSX Apps?

    Apple has been slow to update it’s venerable Mail application. I have some comlaints… and a new alternative to look at.

    It’s been the standard email app for most Apple OSX users for years, and it’s been the brunt of jokes from Windows “power-users” with their bloated Outlook programs. When I first switched to a Mac, it took me awhile to get used to the simplicity of Mail.app, but like most Apple programs, you get into the grove and modify your behavior to work around the applications functionality… however, now I’m starting to see some holes.

    It’s 2010, why hasn’t Apple added the ability for us to change the layout of of the program to suite our needs? Users have to install extras and addons like WideMail — which are often disabled with each software update.

    You might think that this should be a minor issue, but really, it’s a huge usability failing on the part of Apple, and I think they know it. Even in MobileMe (another service I love to use) they’ve enabled the 3 column folders > messages > reading format as the default! Why haven’t these improvements translated over to the native Apple apps?

    Is it just me or does threading just suck in Mail.App? The UI is frustrating and clunky. Again, Apple has embraced the new universal inbox and proper threading in their mobile apps but it hasn’t translated to their desktop application.

    The above items are my biggest gripe against Mail.app. Overall, it’s a clean product, lets me get my work done and it has a perfect blend of features and simplicity to the point where it doesn’t intrude too deeply into my workflow… However, Mail.app seems to be slipping behind the pack, even Apple itself when it comes to seemingly minor (and yet vital) features like threading and layout.

    The Big Picture Problem

    What really concerns me, isn’t the fact that this is just an example of Apple failing to work on their OSX products and applications. You see changes and improvements being rapidly rolled out to MobileMe, and the iPad & iPhone applications, and yet, basic features like good message threading get a back-seat when it comes to native OSX applications.

    This lack of attention from Apple is giving developers like SparrowMailApp the chance to step in and create a truly unique email client. This small development team has created a beautiful application that has some incredible potential. It is dominating Gmail and will soon allow people to access their MobileMe account, potentially endangering Mail.App’s market share. In a nutshell, they are creating an application that I would expect from Apple…

    I realize that the mobile space has created incredible growth for Apple in the last years, however, I don’t think it can afford to allow it’s core suite of products to rot while they throw all the cash and talent at their mobile dept. I am a fan of products that work really well, that are well thought out, reliable, and aesthetically pleasing. The instant OSX stops being that, I’m gone. I feel that this is the mindset of many people — even if they are fan-boys.