Dominique Leca, the co-founder of the much-loved Sparrow mail client, tells Business Insider that his team is working on an iPhone version of Sparrow.
BI: Isn't one of Apple's rules for the mobile App Store that you can't "duplicate functionality"?
DL: Yes, but on the Mac, they can't really apply it, so you've got a way out. You can license your software without being considered a rogue developer, like you might on Cydia [the jailbreak app store for iPhone].
Developers have been selling Mac apps long before the MAS was introduced, whereas for most people, the only want to get content on an iPhone is through the App Store. It was a walled garden from the very beginning.
We'll see what happens with Sparrow for iPhone. We're just starting on this, but it's still far far away. But we'll give it a try, Apple be with us.
BI: So do you think they'll approve it?
DL: I think they will. They're accepting third party browsers, so why not mail? This would be really inconsistent. Opera has a browser out there, and I think Mozilla has one coming too.
Leca also notes that Sparrow has generated more than $500,000 in revenue in the six months it's been available on the Mac App Store. Sparrow was originally going to be priced for $24.99, but they decided on $9.99 as a price point in order to reach more users. "People don't wake up in the morning thinking they want to change their mail client."
Sparrow for Mac is available for $9.99 on the Mac App Store. [Direct Link]
There is a free "Sparrow Lite" version as well, that restricts users to one email account. [Direct link]
Top Rated Comments
People said the exact same thing about Opera Mini.
An alternative certainly could bring features that I never knew I needed though. Hopefully this will get approved (I don't see why not) and spur some competition.
For most users, you are correct. However, there are people who will purchase a different browser and a different calendar client for iOS. Those people are power users who need more features. Apple's Mail app is very basic and not useful for folks who get a volume of e.mail. Unfortunately, e.mail apps are still banned from the App Store [many developers, including myself, have tried to submit better e.mail apps and we've all been rejected].
A few features that power users would pay for:
* sending to groups
* optional inline/bottom quoting replies
* flag a message [iOS 5 Mail has this]
* custom signatures based on account used
* filter support
* bounce/redirect support
* multiple attachment support
* auto-prune support
* custom X- header support
* alternate compose editor support
* sigdash support
* FCC support
* signature at bottom option
* custom sorting
* nested folder creation support
I have a list of over 100 features that I'd like a mail client to support. Many of them are simply preferences and wouldn't clutter up the UI of the mail client. All the features in my personal list are features I use all the time, that's why I built an alternative e.mail app for iOS - it filled a need I had, but until Apple decides to allow alternate mail apps like they do for browsers and calendars, the app will only live on my iOS devices.
There are some amazing browsers and calendar apps on the App Store that really show how creative developers are in being able to pack so many additional features into an app that has a simple looking UI. I think the same can be said for developers of iOS mail apps as well.