Handle, new iOS email and task management app

Handle 1.0 for iOS (teaser 001)

The market for iOS email client has been bursting with activity lately. As Apple relaxed its iOS development rules to allow third-party email clients for its iPhone and iPad, the App Store saw an influx of applications that seek to redefine the web’s most popular service.

In addition to Apple’s stock iOS email and Google-owned Sparrow, users can now choose between Dropbox-owned Mailbox, Southgate Labs Limited’s excellent Triage and many other applications that more or less successfully take the pain out of day-to-day email management. The latest arrival: Handle, a handy iOS email and task management app from Siri investor Shawn Carolan…

The basic promise in Handy is its full integration of your email messages, tasks and calendar appointments, creating a seemingly unified messaging solution. The app features a Must Do and Today lists where you can put the things you need to do, decluttering your inbox.

Handle 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)Handle 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

“Your Handle task list is the blueprint for your day,” says the pitch.

Just like Mailbox, Handle lets you zip through your day’s agenda efficiently with multitouch gestures. Handle is also available on the Internet as a rich web app. The companion native iOS app integrates with Gmail, with Microsoft Exchange and Yahoo.

A bunch of handy keyboard shortcuts let you perform different actions in the web app, as depicted below.

Handle 1.0 for iOS (teaser 003)

Even in its current state, TechCrunch writes, Handle is a “much better and faster way to sort through emails and create tasks at the same time.”

According to Siri investor Shawn Carolan, who co-created the software with Jonathan McCoy, Handle offloads as much of email management to the cloud as possible:

Here’s how Handle works: Your inbox flows into a JavaScript web app, and you can respond to emails inline. In each email you can decide whether to flag, delete, create into a project, or archive.

If you decide to flag to respond later, you choose whether to flag as must do, should do or want to do and Handle will create a prioritized list of emails you need to respond to.

The iOS app is being described as a pared down version of its web counterpart, letting you see tasks and send notes to yourself to add to your task list.

Handle (web screenshot 001, Tasks view)
Tasks view in the Handle web app

“The app itself is not an inbox but eventually will become one in the future,” TechCrunch explains.

The Handle concept is akin to Mailbox, which lets you snooze individual email messages as if they were reminders.

Handle (web screenshot 001, Inbox view)
Inbox view

The benefit to the thin-client architecture are many and are experienced through Handle’s speed at which you can triage your email while also being able to create a task management list.

Handle (web screenshot 001, Inbox Actions view)
Inbox Actions view

A promo video is available here (sorry, no embeddable version) which highlights the rich web app. You can also check out the official Handle web page and the announcement blog post to learn more and sign up to be alerted when Handle exits beta.

Handle 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)Handle 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 004)

It’s currently an invite-only service, but you can try using the invite code “handleblog” (no quotes) to get into Handle immediately (limited to the first 250 people).

Those who download the free iPhone app will jump to the front of the line.