‘Why Mailbox Won’t Fix Your Email’

Mat Honan, writing for Wired:

One of Mailbox’s boldface selling points is that it gets you to inbox zero and keeps you there. OK, but look: Inbox zero is just a construct. It doesn’t matter if you do or don’t have a clean inbox — what matters is that you act on your incoming mail as necessary. Inbox zero is simply an organizational technique to help you accomplish the things you really need to. It is not the end goal; it’s simply a process. Too many people conflate the process of inbox zero with the goal of being more productive.


Mailbox will be great for some people. But it doesn’t reinvent email; it just automates a process that may not work for you. Mailbox is simply a tool. A very nice one, a well-designed one. I like it. But it’s just a tool and a blunt one at that. No app will save you from e-mail. You can’t swipe and sort your way to a better you, no matter how long the line is.

Mat does a nice job of putting into perspective the task of managing email.

I have to say my interest in Mailbox is slowly waning. There are a couple reasons for this. For one, the app is restricted to Gmail at this point, and I don’t use Gmail. The app sits on my second Home screen, waiting for the day when Mailbox adds support for other email services — in my case, iCloud. For another, I’m afraid that sooner or later, Mailbox will be acquired by a big company, at which time the Orchestra guys (Mailbox’s developer) will publish a blog post announcing the move, and that future development of the app will cease. (Cf. Google buying Sparrow) And, while I’m with Mat that Mailbox is pretty and well-designed, I actually like Apple’s Mail app on iOS a lot.

All of this is to say that Mailbox may not be right for me in the long run. (Hell, it’s not right for me right now since I’m not a Gmail user.) Which is too bad, ’cause it does seem very nice.