Unibox - A New Take on the OS X Mail Client

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Philipp Seibel of eightloops let us know that his company was working on a fresh new take on the OS X email client. There has been a bit of a resurgence in the interest of alternative Mail clients since the launch and acquisition of Sparrow, which has left some customers abandoned.




Eightloops' new client is called Unibox and borrows a lot of organization and interface cues from chat clients like Messages. Like Messages, the interface consists of two panes: contacts on the left and messages on the right. The contact list is ordered by last received message and all emails from that contact are consolidated into that one entry:
Due to the fact that contacts only appear once in the list, many short back-and-forth emails don't clutter your inbox, they just result in moving the respective contact to the top. Another nice side effect is that notification emails from twitter, facebook, amazon etc don't spam your inbox but are limited to one entry in your contact list.
On the right side, incoming messages are displayed in a chat-like interface with incoming on the left and outgoing on the right. Outgoing messages are also written in the right hand column with support for editing, formatting, and attachments.

Meanwhile, attachments from a single contact can be viewed in a Finder-like interface. Seibel notes that this creates an interesting side effect:
Displaying attachments this way creates some interesting new views on your emails and contacts. Attachment grids of a family member or friend mostly look like shared photo albums while attachment lists of co-workers and business partners are like a shared dropbox that contains all the relevant business documents like design assets, word documents, excel sheets, etc.
Seibel wasn't willing to release full interface screenshots quite yet, but expects the app to be released this winter. They have set up a teaser page at UniboxApp.com that will notify you when the app is released. Seibel's company has been a longtime Mac developer, but has focused on contractual work in the past. This is their major independent Mac project that they've been working on for over a year.

Article Link: Unibox - A New Take on the OS X Mail Client
 

Rudy69

macrumors 6502a
Mar 30, 2009
630
625
Support Hotmail (properly, not through POP3) and I will buy it..... even if it cost $49
 

Andy-V

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2007
390
116
It sounds interesting but email for me is mostly not a back-and-forward conversation. I'm sure I'm not alone in that most of my email is stuff like newsletters and order confirmations etc not social. This sounds great for those who mostly communicate back and forth but as a general email client I'm not sure. The vast majority of my emails can't be classed as 'conversations'.
 

vladobizik

macrumors 6502
Aug 21, 2012
318
83
Slovakia
I think Apple should just offer the guy an ungodly sum of money, hire him and his team and integrate this in the native Mail app (on iOS as well). Tho whole concept is very Apple-like and when you think of it, such a reworking of Mail is long overdue - at least since iMessage hit our devices.
 

Apple Key

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2012
561
0
What happens when a conversation includes multiple people? How does it differentiate between CC'd and people it was sent to directly?

It looks promising, but it still leaves a lot of questions as to how certain things will function.
 

anubis72

macrumors regular
Jan 18, 2004
140
7
Sounds like Vaporware to me. Spur early interest, disappear forever in 2 months...:rolleyes:
 

brichardson

macrumors newbie
Nov 8, 2007
4
0
One of the issues I have with all of the new email apps being designed is this idea of adding social networking to the email client. Why? I don't consider email to be "social" in the context of social networking. While I am active on Facebook, Twitter, 4Square, and others - those conversations are typically much more "on the fly", whereas email tends to be more scripted, more goal oriented. For example - I don't typically get emails from my friends telling me what they are making for dinner.

If you want to win over the hearts of many mac users (make that many COMPUTER users) - make an email app that is fully compliant with the latest specs for SMTP, POP3, and IMAP protocols. That includes all extensions, such as encrypted email, MIME compliant, etc. Give me a client that allows me to design beautiful HTML5 emails and store them as templates. Let me pull in content from various places, (yes, even from Social Networking sites). Make sure it works with web based email as well as possible. Add the proper handling of RSS feeds. Add the ability to script the client, and integrate it with the rest of the OS as much as possible. Support calendaring, note taking, and tasks.

In short, make it an EMAIL app... once you do that, if you still want to add social networking to it, then knock yourselves out.
 

Sayer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2002
981
0
Austin, TX
I wish it could do Corporate Exchange email. I constantly send/get emails from a small group of people I am working on a project with, and also get a lot of "status" emails from automated systems and such that clutter my inbox.

I had 30 emails in my Inbox this morning, all sent today. And I have probably received as many since then so far today.

The Mail.app in Lion keeps a lot of the email threds grouped up, but it's still cumbersome and occasionally someone will send a reply to the thread with a completely different context and it gets lumped in with everything else.

Seems the intent is more of a personal email client than a business-orientated one. Oh well.
 

Saladinos

macrumors 68000
Feb 26, 2008
1,845
0
One of the issues I have with all of the new email apps being designed is this idea of adding social networking to the email client. Why? I don't consider email to be "social" in the context of social networking. While I am active on Facebook, Twitter, 4Square, and others - those conversations are typically much more "on the fly", whereas email tends to be more scripted, more goal oriented. For example - I don't typically get emails from my friends telling me what they are making for dinner.

If you want to win over the hearts of many mac users (make that many COMPUTER users) - make an email app that is fully compliant with the latest specs for SMTP, POP3, and IMAP protocols. That includes all extensions, such as encrypted email, MIME compliant, etc. Give me a client that allows me to design beautiful HTML5 emails and store them as templates. Let me pull in content from various places, (yes, even from Social Networking sites). Make sure it works with web based email as well as possible. Add the proper handling of RSS feeds. Add the ability to script the client, and integrate it with the rest of the OS as much as possible. Support calendaring, note taking, and tasks.

In short, make it an EMAIL app... once you do that, if you still want to add social networking to it, then knock yourselves out.
I think the Twitter/Facebook mention was only because these services can flood your inbox with spam. Yes, you can set up rules to filter them away, but most laypeople won't do that.

Social networking can be sensibly integrated - e.g. Discovering email addresses for people you've linked yourself to on other services. Obviously twitter clients are not email clients.

Actually, I'd also leave RSS out of the email client. Why do people want it there anyway?
 

SpinThis!

macrumors 6502
Sounds like Vaporware to me. Spur early interest, disappear forever in 2 months...:rolleyes:
haha kinda what I thought too. Why not keep it under wraps until it's ready? You'd think if they were going to announce something, at least do a beta version with eager early adopters.

What happens when a conversation includes multiple people? How does it differentiate between CC'd and people it was sent to directly?
Exactly. Typically e-mails are usually more than 160 characters. Add to that quotes and replies? E-mail apps and people reply to e-mail in a lot of different ways... some people will quote line by line, others will throw in the whole paragraph then add their reply underneath. Others will say "see below in red" or whatever and quote it right there in your reply. Trying to do an IM style for e-mail seems interesting but would probably fall apart in practice IMO. Or will it only work well with other Unibox e-mail clients—using say, proprietary markup? eg <span class="uni_reply_4342_from_32423">
 

philr5150

macrumors regular
Nov 9, 2010
105
0
Lincoln, NE
I'm asking this question out of genuine interest, I don't want to start a flame war or anything </disclaimer>

I work as an Email admin for a moderately large company, so I do understand email and the technologies involved. I'm interested to know why, for people who use email clients, why you like using clients rather than the web-based front ends or services. Is it because via the browser you miss key/important features? Work in areas with poor connectivity? Need offline functionality? Does the front end web interface just plain suck?

Again, NOT wanting to start arguments or a "this is better than that" thing - just very interested in how or why people use actual mail clients.
 

Mal

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2002
6,251
17
Orlando
Again, NOT wanting to start arguments or a "this is better than that" thing - just very interested in how or why people use actual mail clients.
For me it's interface speed (not waiting for the page to reload as I move from message to inbox and back, although Gmail certainly has made strides there) and offline capability. I also like that Mail integrates with Spotlight, so I can find emails and attachments directly from the Spotlight menu.

jW