Last month we wrote about Mailbox and I had a bunch of questions about the app. Sure it looks awesome, but there wasn’t a lot to go on. Today we have word that the app will be released in the “coming weeks”, but there’s a catch—you need to reserve a spot in line to use the service.
The folks at 9to5Mac have been testing Mailbox (no, no I’m not jealous at all-grrr) and have nothing but praise for it. Mailbox certainly sounds like great alternative to not only the default Mail app, but Gmail for iOS as well (which it my primary email app on all my devices). When I wrote my original article I had two main questions:
- How much?
- Push support?
We have answers to both those questions now (I know that the push support was resolved, but now we have a better idea of what might be going on behind the scenes).
According to Mailbox, the app will be free and will remain so (at least that is their hope and plan), Mailbox will make money through additional premium services (which they haven’t announced yet). As for push notifications, Sparrow ran afoul of Apple because they were using a VoIP protocol to pull it off. To support push on an email app, you need to have some server infrastructure in place to act as a go-between. Sparrow (pre-Google purchase) didn’t have the resources to do that (nor did they want to get into the sticky mess of having to secure and protect thousands of email logins—that’s a big job that comes with a lot of trust).
I’m guessing that since Mailbox is requiring reservations and a slow rollout because—
We can’t wait to put Mailbox in the hands of everyone who wants to use it in the coming weeks. But we need to be careful about how we do that because this is email and email has to be reliable. Mailbox depends on servers in the cloud in order to deliver email as fast as possible to the phone, support push notifications, and facilitate email snoozing. While we’ve designed our system to handle lots of users, we want to be careful not to add everyone at the same time.
which means servers, which means they will be following Apple’s rules, I’m confident that push won’t just be in Mailbox at launch, but will stay in Mailbox in the future.
Now this reservations thing.
If you want to be in line for Mailbox (man I wish I had given them my phone number in December now—I didn’t see an email option a month ago—if I had I’d be closer to the front of the line now), you need to reserve on the Mailbox website. The reservations, much to the consternation of folks outside of North America, seems to only take a North American phone number (non-NA folks, can you confirm this?). There isn’t an email option that I can find.
Last thing I wonder about is how Mailbox will work with SaneBox, which I have come to rely on for keeping my email clutter-free, because as Mark at 9to5Mac says:
There is no desktop version of Mailbox, but its Gmail account integration means that your Mailbox email sorting will appear in a special Mailbox folder inside of your Gmail account. This works for Gmail on the web and on non-Mailbox applications on other devices. Regarding security, Orchestra says that it encrypts all communication to and from the app.
Meaning, that Mailbox will fuss with my incoming email, like SaneBox does, which is fine just as long as I can still use both Mailbox as an App and SaneBox for my email sanity.
As a reminder of why we’re all so excited about what Mailbox is offering, here is their promo video:
What do you think? Ready for a new approach to email? Like what Mailbox is offering?