Mailbox checks email from the cloud in order to deliver it as fast as possible to the phone, support push notifications, and facilitate email snoozing. The IMAP protocol is nearly 30 years old and a part of reinventing the inbox is building a secure, modern API that’s better suited for mobile devices.
In order to provide a robust, world-class email experience, we are filling reservations on a first-come, first-served basis. We are working as hard as we can to get Mailbox into everyone’s hands quickly.
This is a smart way of scaling up the service1, but it leaves me a little worried. While Sparrow was directly connected to your email servers, Mailbox is connected to Orchestra Inc.’s servers, which read email, compress it, and send the relevant content to your phone. All of this apparently happens “securely”, but the interpretation of that is open and vague.
Ellis Hamburger of The Verge has a good profile of the development of the app.
I’m currently number 258,764. ↩︎