If you’ve been yearning for a good, native, Gmail app for the iPhone, you might not have to wait much longer. MG Siegler claims that Google “is on the verge of launching their native Gmail app” and have likely already submitted it to Apple for review.
Although Google has a good web version of Gmail that is optimised for the iPhone and is also supported by iOS’ inbuilt Mail app, many have long wanted a fully native Gmail app and experience on iOS. Probably the biggest reason for a native Gmail app is push notifications (in the native Mail app, Gmail only supports fetching every 15, 30 or 60 minutes). Yet according to Siegler’s sources, the app is also “pretty fantastic” - something that many users of Android’s Gmail app have also often commented on. His understanding is that this is Google’s first iOS app since they began their recent commitment to design and that “all indications point to it being a good [app]”.
The native Gmail app will likely bring other key functionality as well: like Priority Inbox and one-click starring of messages. Other possibilities include some of the stuff Google is about to roll out for Gmail proper: like contact icons, better threading, and deep searching functionality. Maybe there will even be some Google+ integration, which Google is also hard at work on for Gmail.
The big question is whether Apple will approve the app, because to date they have rejected alternative email apps that would compete against the native Mail app. However, Siegler believes Apple probably will approve it, in which case it could mean that we could also soon see other third party Mail apps on iOS. One such example could be Sparrow for iPhone, after the developers revealed in August they have started development on such an app. In an interview with Business Insider in August, Dominique Leca from Sparrow noted that it would be highly inconsistent for Apple to continue to reject alternative Mail apps when Apple has since allowed replacements for Safari on iOS in recent months.