Email on the iPad: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Email has never been so sexy.

With the release of the iPad, we have yet one more way to access our email. While the look and feel of the Mail app for iPad is good, let’s dig a little deeper into what’s good, what’s bad and what’s ugly (Hint: Gmail and saving messages).

The Good:

– Email looks great on the iPad. It really utilizes the latest iPhone OS 3.2 firmware and does much more than what an iPhone can handle with all that extra screen real estate. The pop-up style inbox in portrait mode is easy to use and compliments the main Mail window nicely.

– You can setup Gmail using Microsoft Exchange which allows you not only to get push email but push Google Contacts and Google Calendar if you use those services.

The Bad:

– Apple still has not found a good way to get a full-featured email client onto the iPhone or iPad. The small things like not being able to use a custom signature (one that is not just text) or not being able to insert images without either using copy/paste or emailing directly from the Photos app really prevent Mail from replacing the email application on your Mac or PC.

– As some of you might already know, typing out a long email on the iPad is a great workout for your hands. However, I prefer not to have to stretch before composing an email.

The Ugly:

– As I mentioned earlier, you have the ability to use Google products and have them pushed like you can on the iPhone using Microsoft Exchange. That’s great; unless you would like to use a corporate email address. Like the iPhone, you are only allowed to have one Microsoft Active Sync profile. Also, Google Sync (Mobile) does not seem to be officially accepting the iPad as a recognized device. Might just be a glitch since it is only day two.

– Since the iPad is not really designed for the user to worry about file management, you still cannot save emails directly from Mail to your iPad. Saving an email as a PDF or RTF file is a great way to ensure you do not lose vital data. Still can’t do it on the iPad. Get ready to forward!

The truth is that Mail is still a good email client. It’s not perfect but it does display emails very beautifully. Google users may want to just use the iPad-ready Gmail in order to keep their one Microsoft Exchange profile open for work email.