Many people love Apple computer hardware. I think people who love Apple written software are a little harder to find. Sure there are people out there who still think OS X is Apple's gift to the world, but you will struggle to find someone singing the praises of Mail, Pages, Keynote, iPhoto or any of Apple's shrinking suite of computer software. I can say up front that I have said some nice things about Pages 5 but it is not a piece of software that I choose to use.
Part of the problem is that Apple introduces software and kills it off. The list goes back many years and includes software from Apple's application company Claris. Claris emailer was a good program as was Claris Works. Aperture was well thought of by some users and I was a fan of iDVD. All those programs are gone.
Then there is the iWork series that languished until recently when Apple brought out Pages 5 which creates all sorts of formatting problems when moving back and forth between it and Pages 09. People would not have to move back and forth if Apple had maintained feature parity with the old version.
Word might be bloated and not much fun to use, but it does a much better job moving between platforms and versions. Apple just does not seem to care.
I can perhaps buy the argument that Claris Emailer did not make sense for Claris when Apple decided to give away the Mail.app program. However, if that is the case then why isn't Apple's mail program a better program?
Perhaps you think it is, but I can assure you that it is not a program that you want to bet your company on these days.
While I admit to being an email program's worst nightmare with over a dozen email accounts, I long ago gave up pushing Mail.app. I only asked it to take care of five email accounts. One is a legacy Mobile Me account and aother is an iCloud account. The other three accounts were IMAP based accounts that I use in business.
I have been struggling for three or four months to trouble shoot a Mail.app problem on my Mac Mini. Before I detail the problem, it might help to understand my desktop. I have multiple computers at my fingertips including an iMac that is not pictured. In my office I run two Mac computers with OS 10.9.5, one desktop with Windows 8.1, and a laptop with Windows 7. I also have another laptop with Windows 8.1 that sits on our kitchen table downstairs. My MacMini also runs VMware Fusion and Xubuntu Linux.
In addition to all the computers (and you can read more at this article), I also once was a vice president at an email services company and spent plenty of time reviewing training materials telling people how to configure our email services on a variety of email clients. I also did some of our Linux and Mac compatibility testing.
There are not many email clients that I have not used over the years including Eudora and even Outlook on earlier versions of Windows. Having worked for years at Apple and after spending time at an email company, I believe email should be bullet proof. Even after I left our email company, I would sometimes call the company and ask them if they were having server problems when I noticed an email taking too long to be delivered. Each time I called, it was confirmed that they were experiencing some server problems.
So here is the email problem that has finally made me call it quits with Mail.app. One of my business email accounts will randomly will stop receiving emails and/or refuse to send emails. I have done everything to verify the settings are correct including deleting the account and starting over. Nothing helps except pivoting to another computer to send or receive the email. Mostly I just launch VMware Fusion and Thunderbird and send the copied and pasted text from Thunderbird running on Linux. It has never failed me.
I have also turned to my iMac and sent the email using the Mail.app running on it. It never has a problem sending the email. Of course I am also able to send using Windows Mail 8.1 which I quite like. Today I finally broke down an installed Postbox on my MacMini with the troublesome Mail.app. There was still an email from yesterday that my boss had sent and that Mail.app had refused to receive. Within minutes of entering the same settings into Postbox, I had the email from yesterday. It is also worth mentioning that my original Kindle Fire, my Nexus tablet, and Android smartphone all have no problem with the same email account.
I have done enough testing to conclude that Mail.app on this particular MacMini has a problem. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Perhaps I could reintall Mail.app and fix the problem but it was easier to install Postbox because I get the added benefit of a mail search that actually works.
I was reminded of how well the Apple Mail program worked at one time when I booted up my trusted Dual G5 running OS 10.3.9. I personally like the older version of OS X, iPhoto, and Mail. Mail search actually found what I was looking for quickly. iPhoto let me use the escape key to move back from a picture to the library and the old version of OS X felt very comfortable. I was relieved to find the operating system actually remembered the last place I looked for files. It was also interesting that there was no Apple way to move some exported JPEG files from my old iPhoto to the cloud. I ended up using Dropbox which worked perfectly. Apple has proved time and again that it does not care even one tiny bit about my ten year old Mac.
Now I am not going to give up on Macs because of a flaky mail program, but Apple seems to be waging a war of attrition on serious computer users. iPhoto certainly is not the revolutionary program which I loved when it was first introduced. Even the iPhoned-version of it seems is falling out of favor. I actually quit depending on iPhoto over three years ago, I pull the plug on Apple's iPhoto at v 9.1.5. I moved to Picasa and Lightroom.
While I can make it run, I truly miss an up to date version of iDVD. Then there is iMovie. I just prepare to relearn the program every time that I use it. Apple's somewhat undeserved reputation of user interface consistency falls completely flat with iMovie. It seems to never be the same program. The formatting errors we find moving back and forth between versions of Pages are a huge hit to productivity. It takes a lot of time to correct them and we cannot find any font based issue that would cause the problems. Adobe got a lot of our company's money to make certain that was not the problem. In the end it is easier to switch over to Word to do a mail merge than fight with different versions of Pages.
Seriously if I am a Mac user in business, I seem to be stuck with Microsoft Office and what seems to be the declining interest of Apple in providing alternative software and services. I did not become a Mac user and go to work at Apple just so that I could have nice hardware to run Microsoft applications. I could write a whole post on how disappointed I am in iCloud. So many companies even Microsoft get the cloud close to right and Apple cannot even get into the ballpark.
I recently asked an Apple employee if Apple used any of their own software, the reply I got was that a handful of Pages documents have been sent out but never a Numbers document. I suspect Apple still uses Keynote, but that is not enough to keep a business user on the platform even if it were truly that much better than PowerPoint.
Perhaps Apple's software would get better if company policy dictated only Pages and Numbers documents sent from Mail.app.
I work for a company that uses Macs so I will continue to hope for innovative solutions like Postbox that make staying on the Apple platform a lot easier.