About Mail Pilot, our upcoming release, and where we’re headed.
Contains screenshots, pictures, cover images, quotes, and press releases.Media Kit
Mail Pilot is not just another email client. It was designed as an entirely new way to think about email clients. For more on the concept, click here .
Dating back to 2011, Mail Pilot has experienced a thrilling journey. Read the story of Mail Pilot's explosive start, hiatus, and recent return here .
Mail Pilot is an empathetically designed email client based on an ingenious workflow that allows you to be significantly more productive in your inbox. It allows you to view and interact with your email the way you already think about it. And with the friction gone between you and your email interface, email becomes a breeze.
Here's a brief summary of the concept that drives Mail Pilot, which you can read in depth on our Mail Pilot Method page .
Mail Pilot's innovations extend far beyond this foundation, but these are the load-bearing pillars that make Mail Pilot so loved by its fans.
Here's the story, soup to nuts. You can also read a more in depth version on our blog which includes images, but doesn't include any mention of the Mail Pilot 3 comeback.
As a senior in college, digital product designer Alex Obenauer came up with the initial idea that would become known as Mail Pilot. He was originally trying to fill pages in a design journal for a class assignment, figuring email was so difficult a problem, it would easily take up the minimum number of pages required for submission. By the third or fourth page, he was obsessed with what he had drawn: an entirely new kind of email client that allows its users to interact with and view emails the way they intuitively think about them.
I was dusting off some old @MailPilotApp notes when I found this... my original notes when I came up with the Mail Pilot concept. This was from September, 2011. It was originally going to be a class project for my CS class, Design of Information. pic.twitter.com/NXpLmz3ACr— Alexander Obenauer (@alexobenauer) November 14, 2017
Determined to make this vision a reality, Obenauer sought funding to go full-time on pursuing the idea after graduation the impending May. Weary of the distraction that pursuing a traditional investment usually incurs, given how young the ideas behind Mail Pilot were, he first sought to crowdfund Mail Pilot.
Kickstarter was a perfect fit for Mail Pilot, as it allowed Obenauer to find out if other people wanted Mail Pilot too, and if so, then the idea would be funded and a fanbase would be gathered.
The result was overwhelming. The 5 week campaign began on January 23, 2012. Over the course of the campaign, 1,623 backers pledged over $54,000, quickly exceeding the initial $35,000 goal. The campaign was a Kickstarter Staff Pick, WIRED Insider's Kickstarter of the Week, dubbed "an ingenious new email service" in David Pogue's New York Times technology column, and the highest funded closed-source software campaign to that date.
After releasing a beta for backers in June, 2012, the Mindsense team iterated over the summer with backer feedback to prepare Mail Pilot for public consumption. In September, 2012, the Mail Pilot web app became publicly available. The launch was quickly even more successful than the Kickstarter campaign had been.
Of the many new eyes on Mail Pilot, the most influential was Apple's. After a member of the App Store promotions team reached out to see how their team could assist Mindsense in bringing the Mail Pilot concept to iOS and macOS, the Mindsense team began the very involved work of building out a fully-native suite of Mail Pilot apps for Apple devices.
Mail Pilot eventually launched for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. Almost every launch was featured on either the Productivity category or the App Store home page. Multiple releases were placed in the "Best New Apps" section of the App Store.
In October 2013, the Mail Pilot for Mac beta began, which when expanded into a free Public Preview in December, was downloaded over 10,000 times in the first 12 hours.
In January 2014, Mail Pilot for Mac officially launched on the Mac App Store. It became the #1 Top Paid app in the entire Mac App Store in just a few hours, eventually taking that spot in over 50 countries. It was featured on the front page of the Mac App Store with a banner, and as a Best New App. Following the 1.1 update, Macworld rated it at 4.5 / 5 mice in a print edition article, giving it the highest rating of any app in their web & communication category.
At the beginning of 2016, Mindsense removed Mail Pilot from the app stores to focus on another product, Throttle. Despite this hiatus, the Mail Pilot fanbase remained strong, and increasingly asked for Mail Pilot to return, despite the new plethora of alternative options. Many of its fans saw something fundamental in Mail Pilot that was lacking in other offerings.
In the summer of 2017, Obenauer announced that he had begun work designing and developing a new Mail Pilot offering. Eventually dubbed Mail Pilot 3 "Carbon Fiber", the new email client would ship first for Mac, and feature all of the classic advanced Mail Pilot features along with some new surprises.