updated 02:05 am EST, Tue February 21, 2012
Selective notifications in, RSS feeds out
Apple will be making a few tweaks to Mail, its default e-mail program, in this summer's Mountain Lion release. One big change will be to allow users to designate important people as "VIPs" and be able to make rules letting Mail notify users only when mail from a VIP arrives. The program will also feature an inline "find," and is removing RSS reading and management from Mail, MacWorld reports.
Users can designate anyone a "VIP" by clicking on a star next to a name in any incoming or outgoing message. Doing so will put a star on any e-mail from that person and puts them in their own sub-menu just below the Inbox (the actual filing location of the e-mail is not affected). Rules can be created with VIP status as a condition, such as to move all VIP mail to another special folder when it has been replied to. If users click on a name in the VIP list it will show all mail sent from or to that person.
Some refinements in the Rules preferences make it possible to only be notified of new mail when it comes from a person on the VIP list, quickly allowing users to be disturbed only when e-mail from a sufficiently important person arrives rather than any sender. This will prove particularly indispensable if the feature migrates over to iOS devices in a future release.
Notifications can be selective in other ways, for example users can make a rule that new mail gets a notification only if the sender is from a specific group or arrives into a specified mailbox. Another possibility is notifications that appear only when mail arrives for one e-mail account but not another.
The new inline find is less of a new feature and more of a refinement: users can currently search for specific words in Mail, but the new version is more Safari-like. The find bar is now seen across the top of an email message when command-f is chosen, and once a word is typed in all instances of the word in that message are shown with the rest of the message dimmed. The traditional Find-and-Replace style now used in Lion is also available through the use of a Replace option checkbox, but now it's no longer a separate window.
Curiously, the ability to do a find for a word with case-sensitivity as an option is missing in the Developer Preview of Mountain Lion, though it may return in the final version. Also missing is the RSS reader and management feature built into Mail in recent versions.
This could be a temporary omission that reflects a rush to get the preview ready, or could be permanent -- as Apple may feel the RSS integration in Mail was under-used. The current Safari also has a built-in RSS reader, but the preview version in Mountain Lion does not, which may again be temporary. In any case, a number of third-party options are available for those who rely heavily on RSS feeds for speeding research or cutting down on clutter. [via MacWorld]