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Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion GM: Mail 6.0 & Notes

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
In OS X Mountain Lion, Apple has split Notes off from Mail as its own app, mirroring iOS. Additionally, Mail gets new VIP contact, notification and search features, while the all new Notes app for OS X provides a new option for drafting ideas that are kept up to date across all your devices via iCloud.

Mac OS X Mail origins

Mail is one of the original apps Apple bundled with OS X, in large part because it was derived from NeXTMail, a key bundled app of the NeXTSTEP operating system developed by Steve Jobs' NeXT prior to its acquisition by Apple in late 1996. While Apple subsidiary Claris already had its own "Em@iler" client app, the company decided to drop it in favor of NeXT's, which despite being much older was also more sophisticated.

Leopard's Mail 3.0


Mail on OS X debuted (above) with support for such features as multiple accounts and rules-based message management. In OS X 10.4 Tiger, Apple added junk mail filtering and changed how Mail 2.0 stored individual messages to allow the then new Spotlight to index them for fast, system wide search. The company also began experimenting with new user interface concepts, including controversy-arousing new pill-shaped toolbar buttons (below).

Leopard's Mail 3.0


Mail 3.0 in OS X 10.5 Leopard incorporated RSS support and added Notes (below) and Todos, similar to how Microsoft's Outlook and Exchange Server handle specialized email messages to provide note and reminder features.

Leopard's Mail 3.0


In the following 4.0 version in OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Apple built upon that foundation by adding native support for Exchange Server 2007, including not just email, Notes and ToDos in Mail, but also supporting Exchange contacts in Address Book and syncing calendar events with iCal.

Mail 5.0 in OS X 10.7 Lion added Full Screen support and expanded Exchange support for Server 2010. In the new Mail 6.0 of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, however, Apple is focusing more on connecting OS X with iOS and its users, including a variety of new features aimed at users in China.

A reorganized Mail 6.0 in Mountain Lion

Mail doesn't drop any of its existing support for Exchange Server, but it is following iOS in reorganizing different types of messages with specialized apps. Unlike Outlook, which is a single client for mail, calendar, contacts, notes, tasks and journal features, Apple has always kept Address Book and iCal distinct from Mail.

Now, with Mountain Lion, Apple is following the path of iOS 5 by not only renaming Contact and Calendar, but also spinning todo events out of Calendar (and Mail) into their own Reminders app and similarly removing note functionality from Mail and putting them in the standalone Notes.

Another notable change is the dropped support for Mail's RSS feed parsing, which is also now missing from Safari, too. In both cases, it appears Apple has acknowledged that third party RSS feed aggregators are far more useful than the tacked on support in Mail and Safari, and that RSS feed reading isn't a core operating system feature.

New VIP features in Mail 6.0

Mail 6.0 is also getting some useful new features. In what can be described as the opposite of junk mail, users can now tag specific specific contacts as "VIPs," whose messages are then highlighted within the special VIP mailbox, categorized by each VIP contact. This allows you to, for example, see messages from your boss, team members, spouse, clients or anyone else who you want to give priority status.

Adding a VIP is as easy as ticking the star icon next to their name in an incoming email (below). Once added, that contact and all of their new and past emails will appear in a special smart folder of VIP correspondence. Just as with other smart mailboxes, this doesn't move your mails around, so their messages continue to exist in the regular inbox or in whatever static mailboxes you've manually sorted them into.



In addition to getting a priority inbox, VIP emails can also be given specialized rules, such as triggering an alert via Notification Center. In fact, any messages matching one of the configurable rules can now trigger a notification. VIP, as a feature, is really just a pre-made Smart Mailbox with some extra access in the user interface. If you already have your own system of groups or rules, you can easily add Notifications as an action that is triggered when the rule is evaluated (below).



"Sender is VIP" is now just one of the rule conditions (below top) that can be used to not only trigger a Notification, but any other sort of Rules action as well (below bottom), from an automatic reply or redirect to a more sophisticated action built in AppleScript.





On page 2 of 3: Mail 6.0's new find, share & configure features

Inline find and improved message navigation

Also new in Mail 6.0 is Safari-style inline find for words within an email message. Previously, you could bring up a standard Find/Replace dialog box (below) and iterate through a message looking for a specific term.



Now, there's a search field at the top of messages that highlights every occurrence of a particular phrase in the entire message, together with a standard counter and selection controls (below).



Another handy feature that feels borrowed from iOS is the ability to zip to the top of your long list of inbox messages simply by clicking on the sort bar; no need to manually scroll upward through potentially thousands of messages. Once you skip to the top of your messages, you can still perform a new message sort by date (default) or by attachment, flags, from, size, subject, to or unread status, either in ascending or descending order, just as you can now. This shortcut just makes navigating through your search results (or between results) faster and easier.

Sharing Sheet, iCloud features

Two additional features of Mail 6.0 reflect the trend of Mountain Lion's general direction toward social connections and iCloud connectivity. When you share a web page from Safari as an email message, Mail 6.0 allows you to select how you'd like to share the page. Your options are as a full web page with graphics (below top), as a streamlined Reader view with just the main article's text, or an attached PDF file and URL (below middle) or URL only, selectable within the Mail message window from a popup (below bottom).






Another big Mountain Lion feature having an impact on Mail is iCloud. Previously, Apple offered to sync Mail account settings (including mailboxes and rules) via iSync to MobileMe. That functionality was retired with MobileMe, leaving what some feared would be a big feature hole (along with other important synced data such as Keychains and other, third party application preferences).

In Mail 6.0, Apple automatically sends mailbox, rules and mail account settings to iCloud, so when you configure a new system, all your settings can be synced up from the cloud. Additionally, Apple is now also pushing new updates to iCloud, including your recent senders, favorites, email signatures and smart mailboxes. Expect other apps to follow suit, making use of iCloud to do things that formerly relied upon Sync Services.

Apple's new "Mail, Contacts and Calendar" pane in System Preferences makes it easy to set up new email accounts, along with support for new account specifically targeting service providers in Greater China, where Apple is seeing so much new growth. Interestingly, while Facebook support isn't finished yet, there's not yet any mention of adding Facebook messages or IM to either Mail or Messages, although is is very likely to change before Facebook support ships for Macs running Mountain Lion.

On page 3 of 3: Freestanding new Notes app

Freestanding new Notes app

Apple first added Notes as a feature in OS X 10.5 Leopard's Mail 3.0. Notes were simply specialized emails without a recipient, intended to be treated as an internal draft. They were distinguished from other emails by being presented as if on a bright yellow notepad, and using a handwritten style font.

Back in 2007, it was noteworthy when Notes were revealed to eventually sync with the iPhone, albeit only if they were in plain text (below).

Leopard Note Sync


At the time, iPhone had debuted with its own "Notes" application, but it only allowed users to export its notes as emails and did not offer any form of text import or desktop sync. Fast forward to today, and iOS devices can now sync Notes between themselves via iCloud and the Notes feature (basically a special Mailbox) in OS X Lion's current Mail 5.0.

Still missing on iOS is the ability to handle rich HTML notes with graphics. While you can drag a graphic into a Note, iOS devices currently only see a paperclip icon as a placeholder for the attached images (something that should improve in iOS 6 later this year). Both OS X and iOS currently support hyperlinks in synced Notes.

In Mountain Lion, Notes moves from a feature of Mail to being is own iOS-like app. The Mountain Lion version of Notes has an appearance very similar to the iPad, with notes organized across the email accounts they are tied to and the folders the user has created for them (below).



Under Mail, Notes behaved more like email drafts, with a toolbar featuring buttons for file attachments and custom font selections. In Mountain Lion, Notes inches closer to being a simple word processor, but not quite assuming the role of TextEdit.

Notes provides basic search across all your accounts (but not Mail 6.0's inline search of terms within a particular note), and you can now add basic formatting with numbered lists, bullets and custom fonts. The system lets you set the default font to the handwritten Marker Felt, an alternative Noteworthy font with a hand printed appearance, or the standard Helvetica.

You can still format your note with other fonts, and add attachments. However, rather than attaching via file selection, you just drag and drop graphics into place. A Share Sheet button lets you export a note as an email or text message, and you can take the app Full Screen for a distraction free notepad experience (shown below).



Double click on a note in Notes, and you get what looks a bit like a Stickies window: a free standing note that doesn't disappear when you close the main Notes window (below).



Note that Stickies has stuck around in Mountain Lion, although it's not clear if anything significant has changed. Given the overlap between Stickies and Notes and TextEdit, it might seem like it would be nice to have it all converge in one unified app that covers all the bases. How many note taking apps does OS X need?

TextEdit vs Notes

Of course, TextEdit is document centric while Notes, on the other hand, is email based. You don't save Notes as documents; they just exist as email drafts until you either send them or delete them.

One could anticipate that the next version of OSX and iOS might deliver a Notes app that allows users to doodle, draw, and markup graphics using some of the features of Preview, storing these Notes as specialized email drafts that can be synced between mobile devices and the desktop. Apple could even overtly tie in its Inkwell technology to provide printed handwritten recognition (although Notes, like every other app, already supports Dictation on Mountain Lion and iOS, which is far handier for most users as an alternative to typing than trying to write with a stylus or their finger).

At the same time, as you try to fold into Notes the "almost a word processor" functionality of TextEdit, including support for tabs, tables and line breaks, you'd turn Notes from a simple way to take or Dictate notes into something that's now rivaling Pages. While there's plenty of overlap between the bare bones TextEdit and the simple Notes, it's also very easy for users to move ideas from one to another, depending on the task.

Too much convergence and you'd lose the simplicity of Notes that makes it easy to open up and immediately use, on the Mac, an iPad or even your iPhone. For now, it appears Notes is remaining a simple editor on purpose.
post #2 of 35
I still can't believe Apple wants us to think they are serious about the cloud but still only has their email rules being locally executed on the Mac. This is an issue because it means my Mac has to be on and Mail has to be open for most of my mail actions to show up on other devices. For example, Flags and message moves based on sender, subject and content. The only one that is server-side is VIP for iOS 6.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #3 of 35

The only time I use email on a PC is on rare occasions when I have to scan and attach documents, I do everything in iOS.

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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #4 of 35

What I'm interested to know is if it syncs smart mailboxes does that mean it can be used on iOS devices when iOS 6 comes out?

 

Rules are dumb and a pain in the butt but smart mailboxes aren't useable on iOS. If they can with this update then the only issue I have with Mail is gone.

post #5 of 35

Can anyone confirm whether Mail 6 FINALLY supports system proxy settings?  It is just infuriating that after all this time, it doesn't support the proxy setting in the Network System Prefs.

post #6 of 35

I wonder how Notes will compare to Notational Velocity.  What I REALLY want is a notes app that's designed like iTunes, but with folders and smart folders instead of playlists.  Notational Velocity is awesome, but dumping all notes into one folder with no sumbfolders for organization makes as much sense as dumping all mp3s into one folder without the artist/album subfolders.

post #7 of 35

It's good that some apps are being "specialized" but Apple is missing the target here by splitting off notes. What I want is "communications" -- I want to know if someone important is contacting me -- so the voicemail being attached to a name and number before I listen is important as white-listed email (we shouldn't JUST have a junk email button but perhaps a "preferred" message button so then there would be three tiers).

 

The balkanization of applications has run its course. The next phase in iOS apps and Mac apps (maybe not from Apple), will start integrating things again. Because we need an app to organize our apps.

 

If someone would create an "inter app communication standard" -- *wink* -- then disparate time management and organization apps might relate documents to the person who sent them, might have projects that relate to a collection of apps and a schedule and perhaps notes. I organize things in folders on my Mac -- but some things need more than one category or relationship.

 

Apple is going to eventually catch on to this and simplify our lives again. As far as development however, it's easier to break off the tasks.

post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The only time I use email on a PC is on rare occasions when I have to scan and attach documents, I do everything in iOS.

 

I'm certainly trending that way!    The point remains though bring back server side management of mail would help many users.    

 

By the way before the change over I had a few rules in place to sort out some of my mail and left them in place when they switched over mobile me.    So far those roes are still sorting my mail.   This means the capability is still in place on Apples servers so maybe an interface will come back to the user community in the future.    In a world of iOS devices server side rules just make sense.

post #9 of 35

Stickies is still alive. /sigh of relief

post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I still can't believe Apple wants us to think they are serious about the cloud but still only has their email rules being locally executed on the Mac. This is an issue because it means my Mac has to be on and Mail has to be open for most of my mail actions to show up on other devices. For example, Flags and message moves based on sender, subject and content. The only one that is server-side is VIP for iOS 6.

Rules for iCloud.

icloud.com > Mail > Cog Icon (top right) > Rules.

 

Didn't have to change anything on my Lumia 900 and the rules work as expected. Same with the "Vacations" settings (basically, Apple's version of Out Of Office).

 

It is a bit backwards how it doesn't set rules via Mail (although the only time I've seen server rules being set via the client is with Outlook and Exchange), but if your email provider has a web interface, you should be able to do everything from there.

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post #11 of 35

Can you have it so that when someone sends me an email with an attachment from Outlook it comes in properly and not as a winmail.dat!

 

And no, it's not Outlook, because the same email sent to my wife shows up fine in her Mail - and this is on the same iMac.

post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

Rules for iCloud.
icloud.com > Mail > Cog Icon (top right) > Rules.

Didn't have to change anything on my Lumia 900 and the rules work as expected. Same with the "Vacations" settings (basically, Apple's version of Out Of Office).

It is a bit backwards how it doesn't set rules via Mail (although the only time I've seen server rules being set via the client is with Outlook and Exchange), but if your email provider has a web interface, you should be able to do everything from there.

Unfortunately their option for Rules is just so incredible limited. Basically it lets you move to a different folder or forward to another account based. What I mainly want are flags but there are plenty of rules that would be nice to have and that I currently use on my Mac.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #13 of 35

It appears you can no longer select multiple mail messages using a quick tap and drag of the mouse.  Can anyone else confirm?

post #14 of 35
Originally Posted by blg4au View Post
It appears you can no longer select multiple mail messages using a quick tap and drag of the mouse.  Can anyone else confirm?

 

Works fine.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Works fine.

Mine acts as if I am moving the message rather than highlighting/selecting adjacent messages.  Is this a setting?  Also, there are many "new" sounds I cannot identify.  These sounds may or may not be associated with mail but I would like to know where to set my sound effects settings.  I have tried the sound in general preferences and it doesn't appear to have additional options.

post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by blg4au View Post
Mine acts as if I am moving the message rather than highlighting/selecting adjacent messages.

 

You have to start off of the messages in the white space.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

You have to start off of the messages in the white space.

Still nothing.  Frustrating.

post #18 of 35

Never mind. Figured it out. 

post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by blg4au View Post

It appears you can no longer select multiple mail messages using a quick tap and drag of the mouse.  Can anyone else confirm?

So one other person confirmed theirs is working normally.  Can anyone else think of a reason this would no longer be working?  I know it seems like a small thing but it is frustrating and especially so if it is a bug and working for others.

post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

You have to start off of the messages in the white space.

So I figured out the "white space" thing but previously it didn't matter where a message was positioned in the inbox to be able to select it and adjacent messages.  Hoping for a fix.

post #21 of 35

Please could you be more explicit about "white space".  I have clicked everywhere but nothing seems to work.   This change in ML is most aggravating.

post #22 of 35
Originally Posted by Samphire View Post
Please could you be more explicit about "white space".  I have clicked everywhere but nothing seems to work.   This change in ML is most aggravating.

 

Sure thing. At the bottom of the column with the e-mail previews, there's whitespace. Start your clicking there and then drag upward across the messages you want.

 

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #23 of 35

Thanks for the reply but that doesn't work for me either in Classic or Normal view.  Indeed, there is no white space at the bottom of the preview panel.

 

Select-drag, Alt-select-drag and cmd-select-drag all do the same thing.  There's a lot of good things in Mail 6 so it can't be beyond the wit of Apple to allow one of these three commands to multiple select.

post #24 of 35

Solved it.  A quick double select on the topmost or bottommost of the messages to be selected and then drag down or up.

post #25 of 35

I can't make this work either. What is the difference between a "double select" and a double click (which opens the particular e-mail)?  It is driving me crazy not to be able to select multiple adjacent e-mails at once.  Used to be able to do this on my iBook using Leopard, but now, not on my MacBook Pro w/ Mountain Lion and Mail 6.0.  Not user friendly!

post #26 of 35
Originally Posted by tsnola View Post
I can't make this work either. What is the difference between a "double select" and a double click (which opens the particular e-mail)?

 

Ah! I can help you out now! To drag and select multiple e-mails without whitespace below the list thereof, double-click on an e-mail and without releasing the second click, drag in the direction you choose over the e-mails you want.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #27 of 35

Yay! That works. Thank you so much!  What a time saver!

post #28 of 35

Great, clear explanation, btw!

post #29 of 35

I agree this works but it is frustrating to have to actually click instead of tap in the new version of mail.  I use a magic trackpad so double tapping and dragging to select messages was much easier.

post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

 

I'm certainly trending that way!    The point remains though bring back server side management of mail would help many users.    

 

By the way before the change over I had a few rules in place to sort out some of my mail and left them in place when they switched over mobile me.    So far those roes are still sorting my mail.   This means the capability is still in place on Apples servers so maybe an interface will come back to the user community in the future.    In a world of iOS devices server side rules just make sense.

My only gripe about iCloud's email is the lack of management options in the web interface.  Specifically, junk settings.  With all the streamlining and integration Apple wants, why is it that if you use Mail in OSX and the junk filter in Mail...why can't it control the server's junk filter.  As of now, you either can have two independent junk filters on, or just one (Server).  You can't turn off the server junk filter.  What I am also peeved about is the fact that if the server marks any message as junk and you're out somewhere with only your iphone or ipad, it does NOT notify you that a message arrived in junk...there isn't any notifications or anything.  It should also be noted that I never receive junk mail at my @me.com account and that anything that arrives in junk is messages I want.  I also have the problem of the server continually marking the same sender as junk even though the address is in my address book and I've told the server the sender is not junk.

 

On a side note, I came across this thread when searching the web in regards to VIP mailbox and wanted to reply to this post.  Now that I registered, I'm off to explore the rest of the site. =)

post #31 of 35

I have about a thousand notes on plain text used to synced among my Mac, iPhone and iPad.  After upgraded to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, all notes disappeared from my Mac and they could not be synced to iCloud and those notes on iPhone and iPad cannot be synced back to the Mac and between iDevices via iTunes either.  (Only newly created notes can be synced).  It's Mail version 6.2 (1499) and Notes 1.1 (99) on OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is still a disaster to me, to any Mac users who are not new enough to start using Mountain Lion as their first OS X.  

 

For the same token, in a few years time, will the existing OS X users suffer again and again with their valuable data unable to convert/import into a newer version of the applications?  What if you suddenly found all your emails were not able to retain in the next Mail version, say, Mail 7.0 and Apple and you just telling the "new" users how good the "new" features are on the "new" OS?

 

If you don't feel being dumped by Apple today, I'm sure one day in the future, you will share my today's feeling!

post #32 of 35
Originally Posted by IvanH View Post
I have about a thousand notes on plain text used to synced among my Mac, iPhone and iPad.

 

How did you accomplish this? Where were the files stored?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #33 of 35

The volume is a 10+ years effort!  I started using Outlook 2003 and moved on to Outlook 2007 on Microsoft Windows before syncing them via iTunes to iPod touch then iPhone and later to iPad as well.  The notes were syncing well on Snow Leopard and Lion.    It was a disaster in a couple of times when Apple upgraded iOS and OS X which duplicated my notes, contacts and music files and I had to manually and painfully delete the duplicates.  Notes on the Mac (under an mbox in Mail) had been cleaned to about a thousand and synced perfectly with iPhone and iPad until iOS6 and OS X Mountain Lion. 

 

The title of this thread should be "Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion GM: Mail 6.0 dumping existing Notes".

post #34 of 35

Re selecting a group of emails to delete on Mountain Lion: Figured it out! You click on the first one you want to delete, and simultaneously hold down the control button and the click. With your other hand, you scroll up or down to highlight the mail items you want to delete. You can also click on specific ones and skip others not in the sequence. Then you let go, and click delete.

post #35 of 35

THANK YOU! Having to delete one email at a time was driving me crazy. Using a mouse, left click twice, holding down the second click without releasing, drag upwards to highlight multiple emails to delete.

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