As a committed and satisfied Google Apps for Business user, I am always searching for the best way to quickly and efficiently access my Google Apps email accounts across multiple devices.
When it comes to my iPhone 4s, although there are options, I have been pretty satisfied with the native iOS mail app. That hasn’t been the case for many months with my iPad.
While there isn’t anything particularly wrong with the native mail app for the iPad, it just wasn’t happy with the interface or the ability to take advantage of some of the inherent features that are available from Google Apps. So, I had been “making do” by using the Google Search app for the iPad which includes Gmail as one of many embedded Google apps than can be selected. It has worked, but it was always annoying in its own way. My mail was always one or two clicks further away than I wanted it to be. And the app didn’t provide any notifications when new messages arrived or an indication of the number of unread messages on the app badge. So, the “make do” approach for me was to use the notification features of the iOS mail app to tell me when new messages arrived, but to then view and manipulate the messages in the Google Search Gmail app. Awkward? Yes!
Enter Gmail – email for Google!
Apple has released an approved Gmail app for the iPad and the iPhone, Gmail – email for Google, which is available in the App store (2.0.1 at this time).
As the app summary indicates, it offers many exciting new features, including:
- Real-time notifications of new mail fast, with notification center, badge and lock screen options
- Search through all your mail quickly – now with predictions as you typeSearch across your entire inbox
- Switch between up to 5 accounts
- See profile pictures as part of the conversation
- Read your mail with threaded conversations
- Auto-complete contact names as you type from your Google contacts or your phone
- Respond to Google Calendar invites right from the app
You can read a bit more about the new app on the Official Gmail Blog.
Now that I’ve installed the Gmail app on my iPad and have had a chance to try it out, I’m VERY pleased with new version. I can now rely on the app to notify me when I have new mail and to provide me with the means to quickly and efficiently process incoming mail whenever I am using my iPad (Which is frequently, but not all the time).
A Solution for All Devices?
With the above said, does it follow that I jumped to the same app on my iPhone? Well, I have tried it, but at this point, I think I will stay with the native iPhone iOS email app. Why? Based on initial use, while the appearance of the Gmail app is consistent between my iPhone and my iPad, I find the font style and weight that the app uses to be a bit difficult to read as compared to the iOS mail app on the smaller screen of my iPhone. And, considering that I use my iPhone 4s primarily to check for new messages when I’m on the run, I find it easier to quickly identify the author, the title and the initial content of the each note using the native iPhone email app. Also, for me, access to my non-business accounts would be a bit of a distraction during the business day.
That’s my initial perspective. As time goes on, if my perspective changes, I’ll add further updates.