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Inside iOS 7: Mail gets advanced gesture support and reworked UI

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
Although not as striking a change as some other first party apps in iOS 7, Apple's makeover of Mail offers a number of usability changes that are welcome improvements over its predecessor, including gesture controls and a cleaner layout.

Mail


Mail in iOS 7 continues Apple's theme of an uncluttered look with maximum usability, made effective by a predominantly white background behind thin black text. Popping out from the monochrome design are blue circles demarcating unread messages, and orange circles or flags for flagged content.

Mail


Starting from the Account Setup page in iOS 7 Settings, things are already a bit different. For the first time, users have a way to easily add multiple "From" addresses to one IMAP or POP account, instead of listing out each one in a single text field. With the new system, users can also choose a default account from which emails are sent directly from the Settings menu.

Additionally, iOS 7 now lets users choose whether to send a deleted IMAP or POP account message to the "Archive" folder. Previously, only iCloud supported archiving, though attached Gmail accounts had a similar method that would send messages to the "All Mail" tab in Mail.

Mail


Moving to the Mail app itself, the home screen is spartan, but not uninviting. Small tweaks have been made to the Inbox layout, like truncated message string separation bars that don't run across the full width of the display, but stop at the left border of the email title text. filling in the dead space are the aforementioned unread and flagged message symbols, making them even more visible.

Mail


Also changed are the small gray boxes showing the number of messages in a conversation. Instead, Mail in iOS 7 shows either on or two right-facing chevrons, respectively denoting a single email or a message string. A quick way to check how many emails are in a conversation is to use the newly implemented gesture controls to slide a message tile to the left as seen below.

On the subject of gestures, Apple has moved to more animated swipe controls, such as those found in the iOS Gmail client Mailbox. Swiping left now reveals a "More" button as well as a "Trash" button, the latter showing how many messages will be trashed. Selecting "More" brings up a contextual menu from the bottom of the screen in which users can directly reply, forward, flag, mark as unread or move an email.

Mail


In the opposite direction, swiping right from off screen will trigger the "go back" action present in other iOS 7 apps like Safari, making it easier to navigate between both emails and inboxes.

Unique to iOS 7 is the "Move to Junk" selection, which previously required an extra step after selecting "Move Message" when viewing an email. Moving messages now triggers an animation that brings up the account to which an email was sent, with a small thumbnail of the email displayed above the various account folders. Alternatively, users can still move the message to any other attached account by selecting "Accounts" at the top left of the screen.

Other graphical changes to Mail's Inbox screen include the nixing of iOS 6's "gummy" pull-to-refresh icon, which is replaced by the spinning wheel as used elsewhere in Apple's mobile OS.

Searching has also been enhanced, with the text input field still located near the top of any Mail window. Entering a query results in the dynamic search of all mailboxes, or just the currently active mailbox, with search terms highlighted in bold lettering.

Mail


Finally, Mail now includes a "shake-to-undo" feature that can restore messages mistakenly archived or sent to trash. In the current iOS 6, shake-to-undo applies only to text.

Mail


Overall, Mail hasn't been greatly changed, but the revisions and small feature additions in iOS 7 are proving to be quite useful. More importantly, the implementation makes the process of sifting through numerous emails less challenging, while the layout is devoid of unnecessary eye candy.

It is unknown what will stick and what will be augmented or added in future betas, though Mail is shaping up to be a strong addition to Apple's built-in app stable.
post #2 of 61
These colors are very, um, strange. Just seems like a dramatic departure from the current app.
post #3 of 61
Mail evolves. That's nice. The current mailbox app feels like a dated POP client. I'm glad the current one has the swipe to delete but it needs more.

Other nice features might be Open In -> Calendar or Notes or something. Right now if I want a message to interact with another app I have to copy the text but that leaves out sender info and other helpful context.
post #4 of 61
Email on any mobile device or tablet still blows chunks compared to OS X or other full-fledge client mail app.
post #5 of 61
Looks Ok, but that new smudged font sure is hard to read :-)

iPhone 5 64GB, iPhone 4S 16GB, mid-2011 iMac, Apple TV 2nd Gen, iPod Nano

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iPhone 5 64GB, iPhone 4S 16GB, mid-2011 iMac, Apple TV 2nd Gen, iPod Nano

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post #6 of 61
That i what im affraid of with iOS 7! too much make it pretty and not enough real improvements. Sad because mail should be easy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Email on any mobile device or tablet still blows chunks compared to OS X or other full-fledge client mail app.
post #7 of 61

All welcome changes.

 

It would be nice to see flagging beefed up into full label support (as in Gmail). It's useful to mark bills as "Paid" for instance and have this separate from other uses of a flag. I have to use the Gmail client app for this but it's not particularly nice.

post #8 of 61
The new swipe system still seems more cumbersome compared to how mailbox does it. So to move an email, I need 2 separate taps, compared to 1 fluid swipe by mailbox.

If iOS doesn't support push gmail for the iPhone 5s, I see little reason to go back to it.
post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

That i what im affraid of with iOS 7! too much make it pretty and not enough real improvements. Sad because mail should be easy.

WHy don't you collect your ideas, suggestions and submit a feedback submission to Apple?

Here's the link.

 

http://www.apple.com/feedback/

 

I use it all of the time when I have an idea or thought about a product.  And guess what?  they actually implement a lot of them. They actually do read every submission.

post #10 of 61

The author and his friend speak in fractal.....must be aliens

Help! I'm trapped in a white dungeon of amazing precision and impeccable tolerances!

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Help! I'm trapped in a white dungeon of amazing precision and impeccable tolerances!

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post #11 of 61
This iOS look frail and sickly, like being in a hospital recovery room. It should have colors of a flower garden or vegetable garden.
post #12 of 61

Wow.  Just.... wow.

post #13 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

That i what im affraid of with iOS 7! too much make it pretty and not enough real improvements. Sad because mail should be easy.

The real improvements are "under the hood" with 1500 new APIs. You're complaining about the paint job before you sit in the care, open the the hood and trunk, or turn on the stereo/GPS.

The iPhone OS 1 in 2007 was alien to everyone back then too. "No Keyboard" Fail!!! Look at the industry now.
post #14 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post

The author and his friend speak in fractal.....must be aliens

 

Yeah, nothing personal to the author, but most of the screenshots in the article are illegible and literally show nothing at all.  Most of the interesting new features described in the text, don't have screenshots to show off those features.  

 

What's the point?  A verbal description would be better than these horrible snaps.  

post #15 of 61

Honestly I'm not in love with the changes. I'm used to swiping left to right to delete, and now it's the opposite. I'm glad they added gesture control, but why in the heck did the reverse a control scheme we've used for years and grown accustomed to? It doesn't add anything, so why? It's the equivalent of switching the brake and accelerator pedals just for the heck of it.

post #16 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

WHy don't you collect your ideas, suggestions and submit a feedback submission to Apple?

Here's the link.

 

http://www.apple.com/feedback/

 

I use it all of the time when I have an idea or thought about a product.  And guess what?  they actually implement a lot of them. They actually do read every submission.

 

Good advice, but they don't actually have a link for "iOS" or "OS X" do they?  1smile.gif

post #17 of 61
Apple is way behind in allowing users to assign a different signature line to outgoing mail from different accounts. I was hoping this update would finally address this deficiency.
post #18 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Honestly I'm not in love with the changes. I'm used to swiping left to right to delete, and now it's the opposite. I'm glad they added gesture control, but why in the heck did the reverse a control scheme we've used for years and grown accustomed to? It doesn't add anything, so why? It's the equivalent of switching the brake and accelerator pedals just for the heck of it.

 

Because Ive.  

 

That's all you have to say now when something looks stupid with the new OS. 

 

Still hating the extremely poorly designed, confusing, ugly "back buttons" (that aren't actually buttons) myself.  Replacing one of the best design elements ever with one of the worst ever. 

post #19 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tt92618 View Post

Wow.  Just.... wow.

 

wow? wow, wow? wow, wow, wow? wow, wow?

 

see, I do have a point as well....

post #20 of 61

looks like web page. with rational reason, or just Ive's madness. time will tell :)

post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanceh5 View Post

This iOS look frail and sickly, like being in a hospital recovery room. It should have colors of a flower garden or vegetable garden.

I find it looking great, simple and easy to use.

But what do I know just a user and not a power one.
post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by poksi View Post

 

wow? wow, wow? wow, wow, wow? wow, wow?

 

see, I do have a point as well....

 

Yes, on the tips of your bifurcated tongue, apparently.

 

To clarify, I dislike it.  A lot.  And rather than get massively negative I just summed that up in a few words that most human beings would actually have understood.  

post #23 of 61
Group mailing????

Looks a lot to Google maps app interface (choice of colors, menus, ...)
post #24 of 61

I'd prefer more function, less form. I'd be real happy if I could simply have mail RULES in iOS like I have in Mac OS X. When I read my email on my iPhone or iPad, the email should get sorted into appropriate folders (or deleted if it's SPAM) or whatever depending on my mail rules. AND, these rules should be shared across Apple Mail clients via iCloud.

 

Why won't Apple implement this (yes, I've submitted it a few times...)

post #25 of 61

Aw, they got rid of Gummy? We hardly knew thee.

post #26 of 61

Search is so much better now. :)

post #27 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascott View Post

Apple is way behind in allowing users to assign a different signature line to outgoing mail from different accounts. I was hoping this update would finally address this deficiency.

That function was added in iOS6.
How to enter the Apple logo  on iOS:
/Settings/Keyboard/Shortcut and paste in  which you copied from an email draft or a note. Screendump
Reply
How to enter the Apple logo  on iOS:
/Settings/Keyboard/Shortcut and paste in  which you copied from an email draft or a note. Screendump
Reply
post #28 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by gordy View Post

These colors are very, um, strange. Just seems like a dramatic departure from the current app.

It looks disgusting. I think that's what you mean't to say. Bring back Forstall.

post #29 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spacepower View Post


The real improvements are "under the hood" with 1500 new APIs. You're complaining about the paint job before you sit in the care, open the the hood and trunk, or turn on the stereo/GPS.

The iPhone OS 1 in 2007 was alien to everyone back then too. "No Keyboard" Fail!!! Look at the industry now.

We understand it's just a "paint job", but it's truly minging (UK slang for disgusting). 

 

I love all the extra functionality under the hood, but someone needs to get back to designing enclosures.

post #30 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Aw, they got rid of Gummy? We hardly knew thee.

Aw I know! I liked 'gummy'. I was hoping to see more gummy like features not less.

post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

Yeah, nothing personal to the author, but most of the screenshots in the article are illegible and literally show nothing at all.  Most of the interesting new features described in the text, don't have screenshots to show off those features.  

 

What's the point?  A verbal description would be better than these horrible snaps.  

They are not horrible snaps. It's more or less what Mail looks like. But something is lost in the image capture no matter what. It's not that bad when you're using it.

post #32 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tt92618 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by poksi View Post

 

see, I do have a point as well....

 

Yes, on the tips of your bifurcated tongue, apparently.

 

In that case, he has at least two points?

post #33 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

Because Ive.  

 

That's all you have to say now when something looks stupid with the new OS. 

 

Still hating the extremely poorly designed, confusing, ugly "back buttons" (that aren't actually buttons) myself.  Replacing one of the best design elements ever with one of the worst ever. 

A lot of things aren't buttons anymore.

post #34 of 61

It looks even worse on the iPad. Like an HTML page with a broken CSS.

post #35 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

They are not horrible snaps. It's more or less what Mail looks like. But something is lost in the image capture no matter what. It's not that bad when you're using it.

 

Well, "horrible" is a judgement call and I was just stating my opinion.  

 

I found them almost completely illegible and impossible to look at without my eyes going crossed.  Jamming the screenshots side by side like that has been mentioned by others to be visually confusing before, and the addition of the weird crystalline filter makes them more so IMO.  Also, there are so many, that are so similar, the eye tends to just wander all over the page without registering anything and as I said previously, there are aspects of the interface that are described but not supported by any screenshots I can see.  

 

There are many things which I am not good at, but I am most definitely an expert in visual communication.  It's been a large part of every job I've had for at least 30 years.  

This, in my considered opinion, is very bad visual communication.  

post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by abazigal View Post

If iOS doesn't support push gmail for the iPhone 5s, I see little reason to go back to it.

That's something Google disabled. Apple can't control that.
post #37 of 61
Really looks like a cross between a google and a microsoft product now! Kind of Google layout mixed with Windows 8 font style...
post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Honestly I'm not in love with the changes. I'm used to swiping left to right to delete, and now it's the opposite. I'm glad they added gesture control, but why in the heck did the reverse a control scheme we've used for years and grown accustomed to? It doesn't add anything, so why? It's the equivalent of switching the brake and accelerator pedals just for the heck of it.

I'd use it before you judge on the reversing. I thought natural scrolling was ridiculous when they announced it with Lion, because it wasn't a touch interface, it made no sense. Now I love it and get weirded out when I use a computer that doesn't have it.
Then again, I might use this and hate it. 1cool.gif But if experience has thought me anything, it's use something before you make a judgement.

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #39 of 61

Recall in the Apple Videos that Sir Ive likes the physical design to fade away, and all you see is your content and your ideas.  No distractions.


Could he be doing that here with the entire UI?  To him the perfect UI would be an invisible one.  Only content remains.


What if after using the UI for a couple of weeks, all one thinks about while using the mail is the CONTENT of e-mail messages (and apps), and not the UI.

 

When changing from one App to another, one remains mentally in "message-mental-space, App-mental-space, Content-mental-space", and doesn't switch to, "Interact with UI-mental-space"

 

I bet that's what that genius is after.

 

Just an idea.  Thoughts welcome.

post #40 of 61

The more I see of iOS 7 the less excited I get about upgrading my 4S/iOS 6 phone. When it comes to UI, everyone always thinks they can build a better mousetrap. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Case in point, the App Store search results. A search used to return a vertical list of around 20 results that you could easily scroll and quickly scan with one swipe of your thumb. With the release of iOS 6 they "improved"? the App Store search so that now the results are display one app at a time. To scan the first 20 app results you have to now swipe to result 2, swipe to 3, swipe to 4, swipe to 5, swipe to 6, swipe to 7, click to...oh wait, I want to take a closer at result 2 again...swipe back to 6, swipe to 5, swipe to 4, swipe to 3, swipe to 2. You get the point. What used to take one swipe now takes many swipes to accomplish. And yes, I submitted my thoughts to Apple "feedback" months ago, so no need to suggest it. The more these kind of "upgrades" happen the more Apple begins to feel more like Microsoft.

 

I'm not planning to upgrade to iOS 7 until I can put a demo iPhone through it's paces myself at an Apple store. There is too much about the design (both visually and functionally) that is not thrilling me, nowhere near enough to warrant upgrading. At this point the biggest factor that is providing motivation to upgrade my iPhone is a faster processor because lately everything seems to run a bit more sluggish than it did when I first got the phone. And truthfully it kind of bums me out that currently that is the only real motivation I have to upgrade my iPhone.

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