There is a trend sweeping across the application universe. Can you say subscriptions? You see subscription applications on the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store and the trend is growing. Yes, even email apps have gone subscription.
Email apps are everywhere these days; some, like Mail on Mac, iPhone, and iPad are free. Even Microsoft’s Outlook is free for iOS. Other popular email apps, including Airmail, have a nominal price tag but work cross platform. Here are two that are free to try but pay forever.
Polymail & Newton
As feature rich and as priced right as Apple’s Mail app is, it can be a complicated beast to master and is missing more than a few user friendly features we can find elsewhere. Tracking email and Send Later options come to mind.
Polymail has statistics on email. That’s right. You’ll know who has opened the messages you sent and get statistics on all who open, click, download attachments, and even reply to your messages. If your inbox is huge and you live in email, you know how valuable that can be.
What you get with Polymail is a focus on teams, partners, email campaigns, analytics. You won’t find those in Apple’s Mail. Automatic reminders for messages are a click away so you get reminded when someone does not reply to a message. If you or your company relies on email for contacts and sales, Polymail becomes a friend, not a typical email foe, and could easily be worth the price tag.
Likewise, Newton brings features not found in Mail, including Read Receipts, Send Later, Profiles, Undo Send, and Snooze. It works on Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Watch and a single subscription covers all devices.
One of my favorite features is Send Later which allows a message to be sent according to a scheduler. There’s also Undo Send and an option to capture a sender’s profile. As with many Mac apps, Newton utilizes Handoff, comes with keyboard shortcuts, and has a strong focus on keeping the inbox at bay.
Both Polymail and Newton handle IMAP and most of the standard email services; Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, iCloud, and others. Yes, each has a try-before-you-buy option and both seem more applicable to business email users than the average Mac or iPhone email user.
That brings me to the subscription model. Personally, I don’t like it because paying monthly or annually forever seems to raise the price tag– total cost of ownership– of an application beyond its ongoing upgrade value. The trend among quality applications is toward the subscription model. Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, the popular Ulysses writers app, and many others– all come with a subscription option.
That doesn’t mean I have to like it, but it often means there are apps which have features that traditional applications with a buy-once and upgrade a few years later do not have, so weighing the costs vs. the benefit is still the way to go.