Remember when email access was the main draws of owning a smartphone? Since then, email on smartphones has sort of spiraled out of control.
Checking email on your phone often leaves your inbox a lot less organized than when managed on a computer. I use labels, folders, and stars excessively, but even I find myself lazier with my inbox when I'm checking it from my iPhone. How many people really take the time to organize their emails on-the-go?
Between some people calling Mailbox one of the best email email apps for iPhone and my spot on the waiting list behind over 460,000 other people, I'm thinking that the Mailbox app must have potential to do what its slogan promises: put email in its place.
The app, which for now only works with iOS and Gmail, hit the Apple App Store on Thursday, but downloading it won't give you immediate access. They are rolling it out on a first-come-first-serve basis, with reservation sign-ups within the app.
Downloading the app during the roll-out allows you to join the waiting list, and view your spot in line. Opening the app shows you how many users are in front of you and behind you in line. Users will receive a push notification to unlock all of the app's features when you get to the front of the line.
The waiting list is to avoid overloading the servers that the app relies on. As more users get access to the app and the developers have a chance to fix snags that may come along, they'll start to increase the rate at which they fill reservations.
The anticipation that the process is building is also helping increase the hype around the app. I have to admit that everyone tweeting about their reservations is what got me looking at the app and making a reservation of my own.
So, what's so special about this new app that makes it so much better than the other mobile email clients out there?
The goal behind Mailbox is to rethink the way we use email on mobile altogether. Orchestra, the startup behind the app, recognized that when people check email from a smartphone, they are trying to make quick decisions about how to handle each message. According to Mashable, Orchestra CEO Gentry Underwood refers to this as email "triage."
Designed for Mobile Email Triage
Mailbox brings us a completely "mobile-first" approach to email. The UI looks like a more colorful version of iOS's native mail app and is swipe-based. A short swipe to right will archive a message, while a longer swipe right moves it to the trash. Swiping a message to the left will either add the message to a list or "snooze" the message.
Speaking of "snooze," let's talk about the app's coolest feature. In performing "email triage" from other clients, if you choose to skip a message to deal with later, it remains in your inbox. Sure, you could move it to a folder, but you'll probably forget about it then.
But Mailbox allows you to "snooze" email messages. Swipe a message to the left, and choose when you would like to deal with the message. You can choose to forget about it until later today, tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, next week, next month, or someday. If those options aren't enough, you can pick a custom date.
Snoozing the message moves it to a separate folder until the selected date, at which point it will reappear in your inbox. If you decide to take care of the message before then, you can get to it by visiting the "Later" folder in the app.
Little Rewards for Inbox Zero
For a lot of people, an empty inbox is both a big accomplishment and a state of mind. Being completely caught up with email and activities discussed via email is a goal that people work towards. Some people think of achieving inbox zero like they do winning a game, so much so that it's even been turned into a game. "The Email Game" gives you 90 seconds to view an email and decide what to do with it, earning points for positive actions and losing points for skipping messages.
While Mailbox doesn't literally turn the quest for inbox zero into a game, it does have a little something special for users who achieve the great feat. Every day, Mailbox shows a different picture within the app logo on the empty inbox screen. From there, you can click to view a full-screen version of the picture or visit the photographer's Instagram profile.