I’ve been an Apple loyalist since 2007, when I bought my first MacBook. Since then, I’ve also bought a MacMini, iPad, and scores of iPhones, accessories and peripherals. I said loyalist though, not cultist. I’m not going to thump a Mac bible on anyone’s forehead or drink arsenic-scented Kool-Aid. When it comes to software, there are still areas where Apple cedes its throne to Google.
(Sidebar: I like to think of the big technology companies as engaged in a Game of Thrones-style 5-way duel. Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft vs. Facebook vs. Amazon. I’m still waiting to hear back from HBO.)
Source: Catebrecht Tumblr
One of those areas is Gmail. Now, I could boast for paragraphs on the superiority of Gmail to Apple’s Mail app, but for brevity’s sake let’s just cede the race and move on; the brilliance of Gmail is not where it has been, but where it’s going. And today’s update pushes it even farther from its nearest competitor.
What used to happen when you opened the app was typically a wait time of several seconds for all the emails to fetch and appear. Starting today, though, the app supports background app refresh, which means the mail will fetch even if you don’t open the app. Multiply those seconds saved by the number of times you open your inbox each day (in my case, dozens) and you’ll quickly see that this update has the power to add hours—nay, days of productivity to your calendar year.
But it gets better. If, like me, you also use Google’s Search app, and YouTube app, and Drive app, and Chrome app, and a host of others, then you probably know the frustration of having to retype your email and password every time you exit one app and enter another (or exit one account, and enter another). This too costs seconds, and this too has been addressed. Hence forward, if you sign into one Google app, you’ve signed into every Google app.
I realize that, between all those apps, I am essentially running an Android operating system on an iPhone. But I’m comfortable with that. Because the thing about loyalty is it can always change hands.
The king is dead? I say nay… Long Live the King!