Google has made a new version of its standalone Gmail application for Apple's iOS devices. The app is available to the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad. Most of the changes to Gmail were aimed at improving the iPad variant of the app.
To begin, the new Gmail app has a new navigation bar against the far left side of the screen when the tablet is held in landscape orientation. The nav bar includes links to different categories, such as inbox, groups, offers, sent, etc. Each of the categories shows a message counter so users can easily see how many new or unread messages there are in those particular folders. The nav bar simplifies jumping to these different folders, which used to require two steps. Now it requires only one. Further, users can now jump to different accounts with a single tap instead of two.
When the iPad is held in portrait orientation, the inbox changes to provide a fullscreen view of individual messages. This is particularly helpful when browsing through long email threads. The fullscreen view provides more real estate and makes finding details buried inside email chains easier and faster.
Gmail for iPad has increased the size of the email composition window, which now stretches across the entire screen. This is a big help. The additional real estate is appreciated, especially when composing longer messages. It lets users see more of the message they are writing.
In addition to these new features, Google boosted the application's performance. Scrolling behavior, in particular, should be much smoother. Last, the update has been graced with the iOS 7 design language. That means it has adopted the fonts, flatter design, and keyboard from Apple's operating system. While the new look and feel of the app doesn't necessarily improve performance, it does give the app a crisp appearance that fits in more naturally with the operating system.
[Want to know more about Google's updates for Android devices? See Google Now Update Improves Voice Commands.]
Though most of the above changes are focused on the iPad version of Gmail, the iPhone and iPod Touch version gain the new look and design, as well as performance improvements.
The Gmail application for iOS is separate from the native email client that's built into iOS. Apple's email client can certainly interact with Gmail, but the standalone app mirrors the desktop Gmail experience more closely. It's not up to par with the Android version of Gmail, but it is the next best thing.
Gmail for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App here.
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