Apple opens beta for next MobileMe Mail

Apple announced today that they're opening a beta program for the "next MobileMe Mail" in order to get user feedback on the new features it will bring:

Widescreen and compact views. When reading your mail at, the new widescreen view lets you see more of each message with less scrolling. Choose compact view to hide your folders or classic view to see more of your message list.

Rules to keep your email organized everywhere. Mail rules help you reduce inbox clutter by automatically filing messages into folders you select ahead of time. Set them up at, and your rules organize your incoming email on the web and everywhere else — on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and PC.

Single-click archiving. Click the Archive button and the selected message is quickly filed into the Archive folder where it's always available for future reference.

Formatting toolbar. You can create great-looking email messages using formatting buttons to bold or italicize text, change font color, insert images, and more. You can even create formatted web links to hide long URLs.

Improved performance. Mail at loads your inbox and messages faster. And with interface refinements such as the ability to scroll through your entire inbox without having to manually click to load the next set of messages, you'll be able to work more efficiently.

Increased security with SSL. With the MobileMe Mail beta, accessing your email on the web is more secure than ever. Your inbox is protected to prevent anyone from eavesdropping on your webmail. As always, you receive SSL protection when you use your MobileMe Mail account on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and PC.

Really Apple, you had me at Rules.

Originally introduced alongside iPhone 2.0 and the iPhone 3G at WWDC 2008, MobileMe has since introduced a few key features like Find my iPhone (and now iPad) but has seen few overall improvements. While the push experience itself has become good, the feature set is increasingly lagging behind free services like Gmail and premium services like Exchange.

Do these updates make MobileMe Mail more attractive to you?