About a year ago, I tried a slick new iPhone App called Mailbox as a replacement for the default Mail app. I was drawn in by rave reviews, a slick, clean interface, and the promise of an app that played nice with Gmail, which handles the e-mail for TheTechOfJoe.com. The main feature of Mailbox is numerous swipe gestures that help you quickly get to “Inbox Zero”, a state of nirvana for which you are rewarded with a zen image of the day.
You can short swipe right to archive a message, long swipe right to delete it, or long swipe left add it to a list (To Buy, To Read, and To Watch are the defaults, and you can easily add others). But the killer feature is the short swipe left, which allows you to “snooze” a message. This gets the message out of you inbox for now, but brings it back in the future. So you get to Inbox Zero by pushing off the emails that you need to deal with, just not right now.
Though there were many aspects of the app that I enjoyed, especially the snooze feature, I had been using the Apple Mail app for so long that it was difficult to get used to the new interface. Further, at the time there was no app for my Mac, so I was using two different interfaces. I eventually gave up.
But then, three things happened. First, Mailbox was acquire by Dropbox, which means they now are well-funded. Second, Mailbox released a public beta of their Mac app in October. And third, I got an e-mail stating that I’d get another Gigabyte added to my Dropbox account if I downloaded the new Mailbox iOS app and signed in with my Dropbox login info.
I have been using Mailbox for about a week. While the interface is still different from my trusty Mail app, it is a bit closer with the new release. Having the Mac app working in conjunction with iPhone and iPad apps has helped immensely. But it’s the “playing nice” with Gmail that has sold me this time. It searches through archived e-mail as quickly as if it were on the device. And when I delete something, but want it back, undo actually works (it doesn’t for me on Mac Mail-believe me I’ve tried to fix it!).
So I finally hit the Help Me Get to Zero button yesterday. I was afraid, because the default badge for Mailbox shows you the number of messages in your Inbox, not the number of unread messages. My number said 10,000. I think it’s stops counting at that point, because I actually had 16,000 messages in my Inbox. By clicking the button, Mailbox took every read message in my inbox and archived it. I never would have done this with the Apple Mail interface, because searching through archived messages was always spotty.
So I reached my first Inbox Zero image of the day (that’s actually it above). When you click on it in the apps, you get to see the full image. Then sit there and reflect on more important things.