Archive for May, 2008

Leopard review part 5: Mail

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Along with all of its 300 spiffy new features, many of the bundled Apple applications have had a makeover with the release of Leopard. In this multi-part review I’ll be concentrating on three of the main ones: Mail, iCal, and Preview. In this part: Mail.

When I watched the keynote introducing Leopard a couple of years back, I remember being distinctly nonplussed by the “improvements” to Mail. Now that I have my hands on the new Mail, I am still distinctly nonplussed. In many ways, Mail is one step forward, two steps back.

First, the good news. Searching is now lightning fast, thanks no doubt to the improvements to Spotlight. I managed to search my entire mail account – some 60,000 messages weighing in at just under 2GB – in around 10 seconds. Previously this would have taken over a minute. (This, along with the improvements to Spotlight itself and the new Quick Look, all help me work faster and get more done with my Mac, which is wonderful.) In addition, the Mail interface, like the Finder’s, generally seems more responsive than it did in Tiger: windows pop open with no delay, messages render quickly, folders instantly snap open.

My issues with Mail are twofold. Firstly, the new features in Mail are, on the whole, fairly useless (for me). Secondly, the new Mail is buggier than the Mail in Tiger.

New features

New Mail features include the ability to create Notes and To-Do items, decorate mail messages with stationery, and read RSS feeds with an integrated RSS reader. Let’s take a look at each of these.

Notes and To-Dos. I’m happy that Apple finally included a decent notes feature in Mac OS X, but what on earth are Notes and To-Dos doing in Mail? To-Dos are already in iCal. Notes would surely be better as either part of iCal, or as a separate app, replacing Stickies. It’s all rather confusing. (more…)