Henry Blodget / Business InsiderApple’s email app.A consensus has developed in the techo-chamber of late
:Apple is crappy at developing software and services. Google, meanwhile, is great.
Directionally, and generally, that characterization might have some truth to it. Google makes some fantastic software and services–search and maps, for example–and Apple’s native mobile apps have been leap-frogged by third-party apps in most cases.
But not in all cases.
I’m a Gmail and Google Calendar user, so I was excited when Google finally released a Gmail app for iPhone. I figured the app would be better than Apple’s iPhone email app, and, for that and other reasons, I switched.
But now I’m switching back.
Because Apple’s iPhone email app is better.
The Gmail app is pretty good–don’t get me wrong–but it has one glaring flaw that often ends up infuriating me. And, overall, it’s just not quite as slick and smooth as Apple’s email app.
The glaring flaw in the Gmail app this:
It’s offline performance is horrible.
I ride the subway a lot. And almost every time I get on the subway, I have the aggravating experience of opening the Gmail app, scanning my inbox, and then clicking on an email that hasn’t been downloaded yet. Instead of producing a polite notification that the email hasn’t been downloaded, this results in the app seizing up and assaulting me with an “OOPS!” screen.
This “OOPS!” screen, moreover, doesn’t go away when I click “close.” No matter how many times I stab the “close” button, it remains there, seized up, for what seems like eternity.
(Sometimes, minutes later, I’ll open the app again to find that the “OOPS!” screen has been replaced with a notification that something bad has happened, but this screen, at least, responds to my attempt to close it. More often, though, I have to close out of the entire app and then re-open it.)
This is an annoying bug. And although I realise that most folks don’t ride subways, I do, and it makes the app-using experience extremely frustrating.
Another annoying flaw the Gmail app has when operating offline is that it will initially store a reasonable full inbox after the connection is lost, but then, if you make the mistake of trying to update the inbox, all the emails will suddenly disappear. They will then be replaced by a notice saying that you have NO OFFLINE EMAILS even though you had a whole inbox full only seconds previously.
These are the kind of bugs that would be quite common in a first- or second-generation app. But given Google’s engineering prowess, I would have expected better.
Henry BlodgetGoogle’s email appApple’s email app, meanwhile, functions very well offline. You can’t load or send emails, obviously, but the whole thing doesn’t seize up in a paroxysm because it’s offline. And the inbox stays full no matter what.
So I’m switching back. At least for now.
I desperately want Google to build a Calendar app, so I don’t have to figure out how to hook my Apple Calendar app up to Google Calendar.
But I don’t want a mediocre Calendar app. I want a great one–like Google’s maps app. Or Apple’s email app.
So I hope the folks in the ‘Plex are developing one.
In the meantime, I think it’s time for everyone to stop dumping on Apple about its crappy software.
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