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Use Sparrow for iPhone for a near flawless e-mail experience

Sparrow for iPhone is here, bringing a unique e-mail experience to the iPhone.

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The day the Sparrow faithful have been waiting for has finally arrived; Sparrow for iPhone is now in the App Store!

Photo by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Sparrow has been available on OS X for some time now, gaining a cultlike following, with its loyal users clamoring for an iOS app to complement their Mac experience.

Sparrow has launched with full IMAP support for Gmail, Google Apps, iCloud, Yahoo, and AOL as well as custom IMAP settings. Unfortunately, POP and Exchange/ActiveSync aren't supported in this release. You can also connect the app to your Facebook account, allowing your contacts' profile pictures to be displayed in your inbox.

There's one more flaw in the initial release of Sparrow for iPhone: the lack of native push alerts. The reason for the lack of native push is laid out on Sparrow's Web site. Basically, either Apple needs to allow Sparrow to use the VoIP API for Sparrow to communicate in the background, or Sparrow needs to get to a point where it can securely store users' information. My vote is for Apple to step up and allow Sparrow to use the VoIP API, or provide a new API in iOS 6 for this type of situation. However, there is a workaround for receiving push alerts using Boxcar along with Sparrow.

For some, push is sure to be a deal breaker, but don't let it take away from how well designed this app is. From the swipe gestures and the capability to quickly star, delete, or archive an e-mail, to the smart contacts list, there is no better e-mail app on iOS right now.

Sparrow requires iOS 5 and up, and is currently available in the App Store for $2.99.

Update, 5:58 p.m. PT: This post was updated to include a workaround for getting push alerts with Sparrow using Boxcar.