AltaMail for iPhone and iPad from Eurosmartz got an update today, and it's a big one. Certainly the "alternative iOS email client" market is exploding right now, but thus far I haven't found anything like AltaMail. This isn't just a one trick pony (not that there's anything wrong with single-purpose apps) — this is a Pro-level mail client for iOS with arguably more features than you have on your desktop. For certain, AltaMail is an email client tailor-made for email geeks who need to do more than the built-in iOS Mail.app will let them.
In fact, it's a pleasant breath of fresh air to find an iOS app that actually implements lots of features and lets me, the user, decide which ones I'll use and which I'll ignore. We've all become so enamored with elegance and grace that I'd forgotten what it was like to be a geek who enjoys using feature-rich software. Despite popular opinion it's sometimes OK to say "yes" to more than one idea in every thousand. AltaMail certainly makes me a believer, and I've only had access to the beta version here for about a day, so there's guaranteed to be stuff I've missed in here. That said, with what I've found I'm really impressed and I can't wait to find more.
A few of the highlights for me include…
Truly Using Files as Attachments
Got a file on iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or SugarSync that you want to attach to an email. Now you can do it right from within AltaMail. Have a file you're attaching regularly? Save it right inside AltaMail so you don't even have to go out to the cloud.
AltaMail Brings the ability to use real attachments on iOS
Mail Rules and Templates
With the latest version of AltaMail you can create rules that are processed as Mail is coming in — yep, that's right, client-side rules right there on your iPhone or iPad. Those rules can involve filing or even auto-replying with templates that you build.
You can also create templates that you invoke manually, too. Do you regularly find that you're sending the same email response to people, perhaps for a support request or something similar? No problem — just create a template and choose "Reply with template" when you need it. Boom. Done.
Reply with templates and use auto-firing
rules to manage your mail... on iOS
I'm a geek, and sometimes I just need to see the raw source of an email. Up until now this was nearly impossible on my iPhone and iPad. AltaMail makes it so simple there's very little more to say on the matter.
...because sometimes we just need to see it raw
And Lots More…
Of course, AltaMail has more than I've quickly listed above here. Unified inbox, Smart Folders (yep!), IMAP IDLE support and more are all there. It also works with pretty much any email server I've found, including POP servers for those still using that. Gmail works fine (and it doesn't matter if you use "All Mail" or not), and the app is the only thing that requires access to your email account, not some third-party server somewhere.
As you can see in the screenshots above, this doesn't use your typical iOS user interface, and it's got a few corners that are clunky to navigate the first time you're there but, to me, that's OK with an app like this: it's about packing in as much functionality as possible, and therefore requires a little bit of time to learn the ropes. For mail geeks who really want to do more with email, this won't be an issue, it will be welcome.
I'm not yet certain whether or not this will fully replace Mail for me on my iOS devices, but I'm keeping it around. When I'm in a situation where I need to do some serious email management and don't have my laptop handy, this is the app I'll launch. Who knows? Maybe I'll launch it more frequently than that, too!