The Web-based version of Gmail on the iPhone completely outstrips the native email application in terms of usability and functionality. It offers advanced search, easy sorting, the ability to add stars, archive messages and more. The one hiccup, of course, is that most features are dependent on a network connection.
The latest feature from Google is a swipe-to-archive feature. Bikin Chiu, Software Engineer, Google Mobile, writes, "After reading the subject of an email and the first line of the message, I often know if I don't need to open the email to read the rest. With swipe-to-archive, I can simply swipe my finger across the email in the inbox, either from left-to-right or right-to-left, and then tap on the red 'Archive' button when it appears." Nice.
There was a shortly-discussed meme the other day on Twitter from a handful of well-known bloggers about mobile versions of Gmail. The consensus is that Gmail on the Android-powered HTC G1 is about the best mobile Gmail experience there is.
Given the number of people using the iPhone and Gmail, I'd like to see Google create a real email application for the iPhone. Don't get me wrong, the Web version is very good, but I think Google could do a much better job with a real application.
Will Apple allow it to do so? Probably not, but there's always wishful thinking.