I’ve been using an 11-inch MacBook Air as my primary computer for ten months now, but I’d never even opened up the Mail app until today. However, there are some interesting new features in Mac OS X “Mountain Lion” that I wanted to check out.
With Mountain Lion, Apple has integrated the Notes and Reminders tools from iOS into Mac OS X. More importantly, the Notes and Reminders are synced across the iPhone, iPad, and Mac through iCloud. So, a Reminder that I add on my iPhone shows up on my MacBook, and a Note that I type on my MacBook is immediately available from my iPhone and iPad.
I had already migrated from using Outlook for my Contacts and Calendar, because I wanted my contacts and calendar information to be available from all of my devices and kept in sync. However, I have avoided using Mail, and I rejected the idea of keeping my email synced through iCloud because Apple requires that I use my iCloud email address to make that work.
I’m still not interested in using the @me.com email address, but I am willing to use the Mail software. Why? Reminders. With Mountain Lion, I can drag an email from Mail and drop it on the Reminders icon, and automatically add a Task or Reminder event that is then synced to my iPhone and iPad.
I can assign a date and time for the reminder, or I can trigger the reminder based on location. For example, I can drop an email from my editor about a writing deadline into my Reminders and set it to alert me when the deadline is approaching, or I can drag an email from my wife about groceries we need and set it to remind me when I am in proximity to the store.
I realize that Outlook has reminders as well, and that there are various ways that I might be able to sync, automate, or otherwise integrate Outlook with my iPhone and iPad. But, Reminders “just works” so I don’t see any need to swim upstream and make it harder than it has to be.
Just as Android has more value for users who are invested in the Google ecosystem–people who rely on Gmail, Google Docs, etc.–and Windows Phone may be a better choice for people who depend on a Microsoft infrastructure, you get more from iOS and Mac OS X if you use them together and make the most of how they integrate and share information. Mail is no exception.
I can’t promise I’ll stick with Apple Mail. Switching operating systems, mobile platforms, browsers, and mail clients all take a bit of a learning curve to get accustomed to. Once the dust has settled some, I’ll be able to determine if Apple Mail will work for me long term, or if the novelty of Reminders and iOS integration isn’t really worth it.