The wait for Sparrow on the iPhone is over. The popular Mac mail app now has a counterpart that promises to bring its fluid, minimalist interface to the iPhone and iPod touch. It largely succeeds, creating the best mail experience for iPhone users.
Sparrow on the Mac is a slim application that syncs well with Gmail, yet leaves out some of the clutter. Labels, draft messages, archives, and other elements of one’s inbox mirror the contents within Sparrow. Over time the application has added support for other mail programs and cloud services, such as Dropbox.
At $2.99, it will serve as a welcome antidote to those who suffered through the disappointing Gmail app that Google released for iOS a few months back.
Sparrow creates an elegant application that uses swipes to easily move through mail management tasks. My favorite was tapping on the inbox text at the top of the app; this moves one through the unread and starred messages.
Gmail power users will love the integration with labels and the slick method for maneuvering through them. It allows users to finally do what is not possible with the default Mail app – manage one’s email.
Sparrow has one Achilles heel: it does not support push notifications. The developers explain why on their site: they don’t have the server capacity to securely store everyone’s login credentials, which is currently the only manner in which to offer this. Currently, only VoIP apps (such as Skype) can run in the background and check in with a remote server. Without this ability, Sparrow is unable to do this. Sparrow also does not work in landscape mode, which may disappoint those who prefer to type with the larger keyboard.
Despite these caveats, Sparrow is a wonderful app for iPhone. Anyone looking for an alternative to the default option is unlikely to be disappointed.