From Edison to Newton?

What can I say, I did not see this coming. Newton is back on the App Store. The news broke to me after reading a sceptical tweet written by Stephen Hacket that linked to an article in 9to5Mac.

Would I be willing to switch back to Newton? Instead of a straight answer, let me give a short recap of my client usage since Newton’s regrettable shut-down.

I’ve spent the Newton-less time period mostly using Edison Mail. Edison is a solid alternative, but no actual replacement. And it has it’s own problems. For example, the rendering of folder trees in my main account is seriously broken.

Over time, I also switched to using Outlook, Apple’s own Mail.app, and – in times of desperation – even Airmail and Spark.

Airmail didn’t last longer than a a day, it’s still as buggy as it ever was. Spark made a mess out of a message I’ve got for confirmation of a Genius Bar appointment.

Seriously, this specific message rendered in Spark does not even look similar to what it looks like in any other client. It was not even possible to distill a calendar entry from what Spark presented me with. Who believes that such a behavior is a good idea?

On the bright side, my impression of Mail.app was surprisingly positive. But it finally wasn’t able to muster enough gravity to keep me in orbit. Lack of sharing options, rendering of messages, no way to print a message1, just to name a few shortcomings.

One of the biggest upsides of Edison (and Newton, for that matter) is that it uses the space that it gets and renders e-mails such that they become actually readable.

I’ve got two exhibits as counter-examples: Mail.app and Outlook. Especially the latter is the worst in this regard. On iPad, Outlook inexplicably uses only a small fraction of the available space to render messages, and the result in many cases is way too small to be comfortably read.

All that said, will I be spending money for Newton? Well, probably. I’ve got a couple of weeks on my existing plan2 before I need to decide about renewing my subscription. If the subscription rate were half the price it would be a no-brainer for me. But the current price makes me think twice.

On the other hand, with respect to my personal set of requirements against an iOS e-mail client, Newton does a near perfect job3, and (again, in my personal impression) none of the competitors comes close.


  1. Yes, in very limited cases I actually print e-mails. This happens mostly to get compensation for business trips using public transport. 
  2. For which I got a partial refund after Newton was officially taken down. 
  3. The new version of Newton comes with nice additions to the already impressive feature set.