The App Store is great, but sometimes Apple's apps are cool too

App Store on iPad
App Store on iPad (Image credit: iMore)

The App Store is filled to the brim with some amazing apps. The best on any mobile platform, without a doubt. Developers big and small, with huge teams and single people. They all make iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS what they are today. Apple might not do a good job of telling anyone, but without third-party apps and their developers, it wouldn't have the platforms it has today.

But sometimes, just sometimes, Apple's apps are cool too.

I say that because alongside my recent switch to iOS 15, I also decided to take another look at Mail on iPhone and iPad. I've used numerous third-party apps in the past including Spark, Despatch, Newton, and some I'm probably forgetting. But with iOS 15 bringing Focus to Apple's platforms and a newfound wish to dial down on notifications, I thought I'd embrace Mail's lack of push capability when using Gmail and make the switch.

So far, I'm liking it. It still has the annoyances I remember, like automatically moving to the next message and marking it unread as soon as you archive the previous one – if anyone knows how to stop that, hit me up — but I'll survive.

This also got me wondering about what other Apple apps I should be trying out. I already use Safari, but what about Notes? I know some people swear by it, but can it compete with my mixture of Drafts and DEVONthink? Probably not the latter, but the former? Perhaps. That might be the next one I test out.

Weather is one app I'm going to give a try thanks to its integration of Dark Sky data and new notifications for when it rains. If that works as well as Dark Sky — and it should, it's using the same data — then I'm. CARROT Weather is one of the best iPhone apps around, but that might have to go as well.

I'm not expecting to end up running an iPhone with stock apps and nothing else, of course. Reminders isn't going to replace OmniFocus any time soon although I know that's another app that's seen big improvements in recent years. Could Podcasts replace Overcast? Can iCloud Keychain replace 1Password?

Who knows. Let's just deal with Mail for now and see how we go!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.