Today as it launched version 2.1 of Outlook for iOS, Microsoft announced a new feature for the app: add-ins. Add-ins are a form of integration with both third-party and first-party services that provide multiple new ways to manage your email, and they're available only to Office 365 customers.
Posts tagged with "email"
Airmail, the most powerful email client for iOS and my 2016 App of the Year, has made integrations with third-party apps and services the central element of its experience, allowing users to deeply fine-tune their email workflows. With version 1.5, launching today on the App Store, the developers at Bloop are further expanding Airmail's integration roster with the ability to create custom actions as well as Workflow support to craft automations tailored for messages shared from Airmail.
Competition among email clients on the Mac and iOS has heated up over the past couple of years. With that comes innovation, making email clients one of the most interesting app categories.
Today, Readdle released Spark for Mac, bringing its popular iOS email client to the Mac for the first time. Spark excels at bringing order to the chaos of your inbox and providing tools to help you quickly triage common types of email individually, or in bulk. But perhaps the greatest benefit of Spark for Mac is that it’s a solid free solution for fans of the iOS version of the app who felt constrained by the lack of a macOS version.
It's been a busy year for Italian indie studio Bloop. Airmail for OS X has been around for a while, but Airmail for iOS was introduced just seven months ago as an iPhone-only app. A couple months later, Bloop brought Airmail to the iPad with extensive keyboard support and great new features like smart folders and saved searches, which was enough for Federico to switch to Airmail full time. Today, Bloop released version 1.2 of Airmail for iOS, which picks up where version 1.1 left off with some great new functionality.
One of my favorite features of Airmail is its integration with other apps and services. Airmail makes it simple to get information out of my email and into the apps where I need it whether that's sending an attachment to Dropbox or the text of an email to 2Do. Version 1.2 adds additional integrations including the ability to send attachments to iCloud Drive and emails to Day One or Ulysses. Bloop's expansion of integrations into even more apps and services is smart and should make the app appeal to an even wider audience.
Notifications have also gained new functionality. You can now turn on 'Do Not Disturb' on an account-by-account basis, which should be a great help to people who manage multiple email accounts. Notifications can also be tied to a location. I can imagine this coming in handy if you're on vacation and don't want to get notifications until you get home. Email senders can be muted, which eliminates notifications from those senders. Blocking senders is similar, but in addition to muting the sender it automatically archives the email you receive.
In addition to the foregoing, Airmail 1.2 adds:
- Undo send, a feature that already existed in Airmail for OS X and that can be set to delay the sending of an email 5 or 10 seconds to allow you to prevent its sending;
- Email Label sync when your iOS device is connected to a power source;
- An Apple Watch complication that launches Airmail's Watch app from certain Apple Watch faces;
- Dynamic Type support;
- Preview support for EML and Win.dat email file formats; and
- MDM server support to configure and manage Airmail for teams.
Bloop has covered a lot of ground since the beginning of 2016. After having seen so many free email alternatives come and go, it's reassuring to see Bloop continue to innovate and refine Airmail on iOS and the Mac and charge a fair price for an excellent app.
Airmail 1.2 for iOS is available on the App Store for $4.99.
When Federico reviewed Airmail 1.1 last month, I liked what I saw. I downloaded Airmail and started playing with it. I appreciated the ability to customize nearly every aspect of the app, but it wasn’t sticking because I couldn’t do the same on the Mac.
Like a text editor, my email client is the kind of app for which I prefer a consistent feature set and setup on iOS and OS X. While I was tempted to go all-in with Airmail, the very advancements that made it so attractive on iOS held me back because most of them were unavailable on the Mac.
This changes today with Bloop’s release of Airmail 3 for Mac, which brings Airmail’s best iOS features to the Mac. If you work on both platforms regularly, deal with a lot of email or email accounts, and want to customize your email client to match the way you work, the combination of Airmail 3 for Mac and Airmail 1.1 for iOS is a terrific choice and one to which I am now fully committed.
When I first covered Airmail for iPhone, I noted how the vision of an email client for power users on iOS was only halfway there due to the lack of an iPad app and a variety of glitches and technical issues. Airmail showed that it was possible to build an email app for power users on mobile devices – asking for a fair price in the process – but I couldn't switch to it as my full-time client yet.
That's changing with today's update to Airmail for iOS, which I've been using as my only email client on the iPhone and iPad for the past several weeks. In addition to an iPad app – which mostly follows in the footsteps of its iPhone counterpart in terms of UI and navigation choices – Airmail 1.1 brings powerful new features such as saved searches, customizable keyboard shortcuts, support for send later and read receipts, and more.
While the majority of "modern" email clients are focused on reinventing email with new display options for the inbox and novel interfaces, Airmail wants to redefine how much control you're given over your email on iOS. Which is to say – Airmail is the most powerful email app for iOS out there right now, treating iPhone and iPad users with the same respect and attention other developers would only show for their Mac apps.
Since my original review in May 2015, Readdle has been steadily improving their email client for iPhone, Spark, with changes that addressed many of my initial complaints. Over the past 10 months, Spark has received support for HTML signatures, the ability to select multiple messages and send multiple attachments; it's even been updated with customizable swipe gestures and better handling of attachments from cloud services. And in the aftermath of Mailbox's demise, Readdle (cleverly) rushed to update Spark with full-featured snooze options reminiscent of Dropbox's email client.
What Spark hasn't gained over the past year is a clear business model and an iPad version. The good news is that at least one of these omissions is being rectified today with the launch of Spark for iPad, an expansion to the bigger screen that I've been testing on my iPad for the past month.
If you want to drive an average tech nerd crazy, try to talk about email clients.
Over the course of (almost) seven years of writing for MacStories, I've seen email pronounced dead (multiple times), reinvented, redesigned, and, most recently, made smarter with machine learning and cloud services. Email has been deemed unfixable, unmanageable, and unhealthy. And yet, for better or worse, we keep using it.
Despite its archaic nature and stale protocols, email works – it's the closest thing to a common standard for digital communication we have. Messaging services may rise and grow and fall and shut down, but email will always be there, humbly humming along, hoarding thousands of unread messages in your inbox. You have to believe that, if this planet were to end tomorrow, cockroaches and IMAP would survive it.
I have written my fair share of email client reviews since 2009, and I've made my stance on what I'm looking for abundantly clear. I like my email client to bear the speed and polish of Microsoft's Outlook, the clever touches and integrations of Dispatch, and, if possible, the smart options of Inbox and Spark. The fact that, eight years into the App Store, I'm still cherry-picking my ideal set of features for an email client says a lot about the landscape. Every time a new email client is released, you will find users who are perfectly content with it, others who prefer the built-in app on their devices, and some who are intrigued, but still unhappily waiting for the email client of their dreams to be made.
In case you're wondering, I'm that guy in the last group, assembling yet another email client review, making a list of ideal email features for an iOS app.
And I actually love it, because the past 12 months have brought a ton of interesting changes in the email market for iPhone and iPad. Perhaps most notably, Microsoft surprised iOS users with a solid client, evolved from an acquisition and quickly improved to accommodate fast search and notifications, calendar integration, and full iOS 9 support. Outlook – a runner-up to my App of the Year in 2015 – is the email app I recommend to anyone who wants to try something different than Mail. Spark, launched by Readdle last year, has received a series of improvements with the promise of future Mac and iPad versions. The power-user oriented Dispatch has also continued to grow, with an eye for iPad users adopting iOS 9. And, reinvigorated by the demise of Mailbox, dozens of other developers have tried (or have kept trying) their hand at improving email on iOS. There was a time when Apple didn't even accept third-party email clients on the App Store; today, you can find hundreds of similar and drastically different takes on email on the Store.
Developed by Italian indie studio Bloop, Airmail was first released on OS X in early 2013, capitalizing on the shutdown of Sparrow with a design reminiscent of that popular client acquired by Google (which, in turn, borrowed heavily from Loren Brichter's Tweetie, the grandfather of those kinds of interfaces). Through the years, Airmail has become one of the most powerful email apps for the Mac, with support for multiple accounts, keyboard shortcuts, and a long list of preferences to tweak the app to your needs. Airmail is up there with MailMate in the club of desktop email clients that allow you to configure and fiddle with settings to make email as welcoming as it could possibly be.
Bloop is hoping to replicate its desktop success with Airmail for iPhone, launching today on the App Store at $4.99. I've been trying Airmail for the past couple of months, and it brings some unique features and options to the table, but, as usual, the road ahead is going to be long.