Beta Update

in Other

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Last fall, we asked for a few beta testers to fill our 1,000 spots we had available. The response was overwhelming – over 7,000 people requested access! So far, we have had 5 beta releases of Mail Pilot 2 for iPhone + iPad. Here are the change logs from those releases:

Beta 5 (build 2030)

New:

  • New iPad backscreen, other iPad fixes and enhancements
  • Complete from notification
  • Auto-detect links to URLs, addresses, and phone numbers
  • New preview quoted message, automatically quote when adding a recipient
  • Load more
  • Orientation support
  • Per-alias signatures, other alias fixes
  • Flick right to move to most recent list

Improved:

  • Local notifications from background fetch off by default, can be turned on
  • Fix for message details text alignment
  • Fix for scrubbing a selected message
  • Fix for when alert button shows
  • Added Office365 as a listed provider
  • Made adding other (non-listed) providers clearer
  • Other account addition fixes
  • Other crash fixes, enhancements, polish

 

Beta 4 (build 2026)

Added:

  • 24-hour support (automatic)
  • Save attachments to drafts
  • Calendar in back screen is scrollable to view next / previous

Fixed:

  • Some emails (text-only) not appearing in thread view
  • Font rendering issues in the back screen
  • Thread list scrolling to top when coming back to it from a thread
  • Drafts looking blank
  • Various issues in compose: fonts, signatures, etc.
  • Various issues after changing a default folder
  • Tons of other little things and crashes

Improved:

  • Account addition error reporting

 

Beta 3 (build 2022)

New:

  • Themes
  • Drafts
  • Bulk select & move
  • Attachment indicator
  • Crash reporting

Improved:

  • Account addition
  • Calendar in backscreen now swipeable

Fixed:

  • Reply from message not in inbox
  • Font rendering in backscreen
  • Larger add attachment button
  • Reply / forward button truncating
  • Complete / Remind icons showing through message cells
  • No synced accounts crash

 

Beta 2

  • [New] Support for all IMAP accounts
  • [New] Autosuggest for recipients in compose
  • [New] Alias support
  • [New] Server-side search
  • [New] In-app help documentation
  • [Improved] Complete messages from the “Today’s Reminders” widget
  • [Improved] Easier to swipe or scrub a message
  • [Improved] iPad support (still a ways to go, however)
  • [New] Custom folder routing
  • Plenty of other tweaks, fixes, and polish

See our ad in Macworld!

in Design

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Macworld is a publication as storied as the Mac itself. The two are the same age – both being first released in 1984. As a kid, I poured over Macworld every month. It brought me up to speed with what new hardware was coming out and what new software I had to buy. Which is why today is a whole lot more special than just a day we printed an ad.

A few months ago, Macworld printed a review of Mail Pilot. I was like a child on Christmas morning unable to contain my surprise and excitement to see something that my team had created reviewed in print, and in Macworld nonetheless. Well, one thing led to another, and this month, we’re unveiling our next product in a full-page Macworld ad. Be sure to pick it up to get all of the details.

 

Open Letter: A Better Experience for You

in Other

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You deserve the best. Mail Pilot exists because, as two college students, we decided that email could be better. We set out on an experiment to see if we could imagine a better email experience. Believe it or not, our initial motivation was not to start a business, but after the success of our idea on Kickstarter, Mindsense was born to bring Mail Pilot to life.

Along the way, we’ve faltered in bringing you the best email experience, and we’re here to tell you how we’re fixing it. This letter is as long as it is honest, but we look forward to starting this conversation with you, and we hope you’ll share your thoughts with us.

Shortfall 1: The challenges of remaining an independent boutique company
In an effort to bring you the best experience and answer solely to you, our customers, we’ve made the decision to be an independent boutique company with no traditional investment. This means that we have grown slowly and very intentionally, but at times, not quickly enough to meet your expectations. We are a very small team—currently four people, only one of which is a full-time developer. Developing a suite of fully native email applications is an incredibly daunting task to tackle with one developer.

Solution: We’re hiring
For the last two months, we’ve been actively recruiting a full-time developer. We haven’t found the right person yet, but we’re not going to stop until we do. If you know anyone who would be a great fit for our team, here’s the full info. This additional development power will allow us to be more responsive to your needs, including expansion to additional platforms. At the same time, we’ve also hired for and rearranged our Customer Support team to be more responsive to you. We’ll share more on this below.

Shortfall 2: A rushed, buggy 1.0
Our first version of Mail Pilot for iPhone and iPad, while working ok for many, has endured quite a few issues. The entire application was built from scratch in less than four months. We rushed this release because we were fearful of competition, and that was a bad decision. While we’ve made several incremental updates, it’s completely fair to describe the current application as buggy, slow, unstable, and unimpressive to this day. We are incredibly sorry for all the issues with this application.

Solution: Rebuilt application, free upgradeWe took the time to re-write our iOS app from the ground up (read the announcement here). Normally, we would charge for a major version upgrade of a one-time paid application, but since the first version was not up to the standard we set for ourselves, we’re going to give this one to current customers for free. We’d love to launch with iOS 8, but we don’t know when that will be yet, and we prefer to ship a higher quality app a week or two after iOS 8 launches if necessary. So, to be safe, we’re slating the release of Mail Pilot 2 for iPhone and iPad for October.

Shortfall 3: Inconsistent product updates
We’ve been inconsistent with updates to our products. This directly relates to the challenges we’ve faced in remaining independent and working with a small team. After Mail Pilot for iPhone and iPad was initially released, we were excited to see all the  requests for a desktop counterpart. So, shortly after the release, we set our sights on developing Mail Pilot for Mac. Because of our limited development resources, when we decided to switch gears, we put Mail Pilot for iPhone and iPad on the back burner. It stayed there for way too long. Similarly, in our efforts to bring Mail Pilot 2 for iPhone and iPad to you, Mail Pilot for Mac hasn’t seen an update in a few months.

Solutions: Regularly scheduled updates

  • Updates every other week for Mail Pilot 2 for iPhone and iPad — After launch, we’re going to spend two months in an intensive feedback/development loop to bring improvements (feature requests, interface enhancements, bug fixes, etc.) to the application in updates released every other week. During the public preview and beta of Mail Pilot for Mac, we had incredibly close interactions with many of you and released updates based on your feedback and reports weekly (sometimes more frequently). We want to mirror this experience. Our goal is for Mail Pilot to be the best email client out there, so instead of jumping back to another development project after we launch, we’ll be listening intently to your bug reports and feature requests, and shipping updates regularly.

  • Incremental updates for Mail Pilot for Mac —We will be shipping some updates to Mail Pilot for Mac over the coming months with some general improvements and to bring it up to speed with Yosemite. Since our focus will be on our iOS app during its launch this does mean we won’t get to bring our Mac app to a version 2 as soon as we want to, but we think it’s for the best. We want to knock it out of the park with our iOS app, then we’ll do the same with our Mac app.

Shortfall 4: Poor Communication
The launch of Mail Pilot for Mac was one of the most exciting times for our company. During our 3 month public preview and beta period, we were in close communication with you and got some amazing feedback that made Mail Pilot for Mac infinitely better. We really had our finger on the pulse of the application and how our users were interacting with it. This changed when it came the public launch on the Mac App Store. Within hours of its launch, Mail Pilot for Mac became the #1 paid application in the entire Mac App Store in over 50 countries. We were taking on customers at a rate we had never seen before. Our small team was all hands on deck responding to customers via support email and twitter; we even had to bring on temporary relief staff to help get quicker responses. During this period and for a long time thereafter, we lost the pulse. And we never really got it back. Until now.

Solutions: User conferences and transparency

  • User conference — Our team is planning our first ever user conference. Everyone who uses Mail Pilot will be invited to register for our free online user conference which will take place after Mail Pilot 2 for iPhone and iPad ships. The Mail Pilot User Conference will be a 1-day event consisting of multiple webinars where we’ll share tips and tricks to get the most out of Mail Pilot, show you our roadmap for the future, and hold Q&A’s to get your questions answered by our core team members. We’re excited to spend some time with you during these webinars, and we’ll post more information about them as we get closer.

  • Weekly status updates — Every Friday, we will post a status update from our support and development teams on our Status Board. You will get a glimpse into where we are in our development process, what issues came up most in support, and what we’re doing about them. We’re going to make a more thorough status board page where our current one exists. We’ll also post a link to each update on our Twitter account.

  • Customer support — We are rethinking our approach to customer support. To start, we have dedicated two of our team members to keep track of and improve your customer experience. Their core responsibility is to represent your voice to our full team as we work to improve the way you use and experience our products. Furthermore, we want to improve the experiences you have in interacting with our company. If you contact us through our support system, email, or social media, one of our two reps, Nathan or Mike, will be assisting you. These guys are top notch – I’ve never met anyone else more dedicated to solving people’s problems and making sure people’s voices are heard than these two guys. While I hope you never have to chat with them because of a problem with Mail Pilot, if you do, I know they’ll do everything they can to assist you. They’ll also be at the center of our 2 month intensive improvement period – taking everything you tell them to the team as we figure out what should be developed on next.

  • We’d love to hear your thoughts on our plan for a better customer experience.

 

We’re here because of you. Let’s craft some great software experiences together.

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We’re Hiring

in Updates

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We grow slowly and intentionally, so this doesn’t happen often, but we’re hiring.

Here at Mindsense, we’re looking for excited developers who love making things work well. If you’re passionate about creating rock-solid, life-changing applications, and you love Swift or Objective-C, get in touch.

Our HQ in Blacksburg, VA, complete with a foosball coffee table, desks with dry erase surfaces, and a coffee bar overlooking a little glimpse of our beautiful area in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Why work at Mindsense? We’re an indie iOS & Mac app development studio, sustained only by selling our apps direct to customers, so we answer only to our customers and to ourselves. We use this flexibility to stay responsive to our customers and the market, regularly experimenting with our crazy ideas and futuristic visions.

What’s it like to work at Mindsense? To give you a peek into how we work as a team, we put together three posts: “How we handle time off“, “How we use Strengths“, and “How we implement Kanban & Scrum“.

Why work at a startup at all? Glad you asked, we wrote a whole blog post on that, “Top 5 Reasons to Work at a Young Company“. Why work in Blacksburg? We wrote a post on that too, “Top 5 Reasons to Work in Smart Valley“.

If you’re interested in joining our team, send us an email today.