Monday, March 23, 2020

Apple Mail’s Magic Mailboxes

Chris Hynes:

One of my proudest achievements on the team (and at Apple) was brainstorming with my team members and pushing an idea we internally called Magic Mailboxes and eventually became called Combined Mailboxes.


The 4 “combined mailboxes” (INBOX, Drafts, Sent, Trash) would get top billing, positioned at the top of the list, with unique and large icons to distinguish themselves


Clicking on any of the combined mailboxes would show the union of all the messages in all accounts

Flipping open a disclosure triangle on one of the combined mailboxes

Remember that drawer?


Update (2020-03-27): See also: Hacker News.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Love finding out how this came about. The way handles multiple accounts with this piece of UI is still one of its greatest strengths.

I remember that drawer and miss it. I suppose I'm a bit biased though, as I miss drawers in general.

Contrarian opinion: I can’t believe this passes as peak innovation in the world of email, even that long ago.

Email is how old? The protocol is idiosyncratic but successful. The clients? Still woefully inadequate after all these years.

Em@iler was the last time I felt like an email client had a proverbial revolution and not a painfully trivial evolution.

Sören Nils Kuklau

There's still innovation happening, such as scheduling (e.g. in Outlook for iOS): rather than flag, or leave unread, mark an e-mail as "scheduled for tomorrow, 10 AM", and it'll pop back into the inbox then.

I think e-mail suffers from having too broad, poorly-defined a scope, a lot like Google Wave. But unlike Google Wave, it doesn't even have a driving committee that can agree on anything.

It's the low-level default of communication, but it's not good communication.

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