Email apps have come and gone over the years. It’s a hard business to build something. Company after company has tried to make email work better. In the aftermath of apps like Sparrow and Newton dying, we’ve seen services like Slack and Microsoft Teams spring up to help companies manage internal communications.
On top of that, iMessage is a ubiquitous place among groups of friends and coworkers. I’ve tried almost every email app for iOS and macOS over the years. I’ve always ended up back on Apple’s Mail app. iOS 13 brought a host of new bugs to the app, though. Even as the point upgrades have fixed bugs, I’ve still found Apple’s Mail app to be a struggle. Over the past six weeks, I’ve been using the Spike email app. We’ve covered it a few times in the past, but I had never gone all-in on it until recently.
What makes Spike different
If you combined email and iMessage into a single service, it would look like Spike. Spike strips away the formality of email (headers, signatures, etc.) and makes it look like iMessage. The problem with where we’re at in 2020 is that everyone is trying to reinvent the email on the one hand, but then another subset of apps is trying to work around email by creating new communication silos. The issue this creates is that they are all just another app/service. What we don’t need in 2020 is another inbox to check. If you’re reading this, you know the feeling. You go into a meeting, turn your phone to silent, come out of it an hour later, and you have forty emails, twenty iMessages, and ten slack direct messages. You’ll spend the next two hours working through each of these inboxes.
With Spike, all of your messages (assuming your organization uses email only), are in a single place you can process quickly with Spike’s conversational format (meaning it looks like iMessage or WhatsApp) where you can respond to emails as fast as you do your iMessages. You can snooze items if you don’t have the time or brainpower to work on them now. Of course, Spike has all the bells and whistles of an email client like scheduling an item to be sent later. Still, it also has a robust toolbar with the compose screen that includes GIFs, quick formatting, emoji, and file attachments (including cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive).
Spike is an email app that is wanting to rethink what email would look like if it were invented in 2020. If it were, it would look like Spike. I know this because all of the messenger apps that have been created recently look nothing like email. It’s clear we’ve wanted to move past the format, but we can’t because email is universal and open. Email is like a phone number. Everyone has one, so it’s a digital identifier you can count on everyone having. Instead of trying to build yet another service, Spike said: “What if we took what everyone likes about Slack, iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and turned an email client into that.”
One of my favorite features of Spike is the groups functionality. It ends your various email threads and lets you build group chats around projects. Instead of a group texting group (probably one of them has a Pixel, so you aren’t getting the benefits of iMessage), you turn your group chats around your upcoming conference into a group collaboration in Spike.
What Apple should have done with Mail.app
When I look at the Spike email app, I think Apple should have done something similar to the Mail app. From OS X Tiger to now, it’s not changed its overall structure. A few features have been added over the years, but Apple has not taken the time to say: what if we took what our users love from iMessage and brought that over to email.
Wrap-up on Spike email app
I am only six weeks into my Spike email journey, but I am excited about it. I’ve been showing it to a few coworkers, and they are all excited about it. They look at the simplicity of the interface and how it looks similar to iMessage. It’s free to use for personal accounts. Business accounts are $5.99 per month per user. Spike is available on mobile, desktop, and on the web. One area they do lack for now is an Apple Watch app, so keep that in mind for your use cases. Spike is a lot different, so it may not work for your workflows, but if you are overwhelmed with inboxes to keep up with, check it out. I am running a beta version of the app, and there are some exciting features in the pipeline.
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