The desktop version of the Sparrow email client debuted just over a year ago, offering excellent Gmail integration with labels, multiple accounts, and a Unified Inbox. It wasn't a huge change in how email works, but its cleaner, streamlined interface offered a respite from the busy Outlook or Mail desktop clients. Sparrow gained a dedicated following with users looking for a client for quickly clearing an inbox.

New apps launch almost daily promising to forever disrupt how we read, shop, share, and even meet other people, but email's proven surprisingly resilient over the years. Still, while the basic idea hasn't changed all that much since the first was email sent on ARPANET back in 1971, the volume has gone up dramatically. The 2004 launch of Gmail was one a huge development for dealing with the flood; the incredibly fast — and searchable — webmail client was a boon for users tied to increasingly clunky native email clients. On mobile, while Android users have had the pleasure of a native Gmail client, iOS users have only had Apple's Mail app.

On iOS, though, a native Gmail client remained the holy grail for many users, until Google's uninspired and buggy Gmail client (little more than a wrapper on the web site) finally came to the App Store last year. Confirmation that Sparrow was working on an iPhone app offered a glimmer of hope for many disappointed by a Gmail app that to this day lacks multiple logins.

In spite of dashed hopes, last year's release of Gmail for iOS at least signaled that Apple may have changed its attitudes towards apps that duplicate iOS functionality — specifically mail apps — and Sparrow's launch on iOS today means Mail finally has some real competition. I've been using it as my primary mobile email app for about a month now. Does it hold up as a Mail replacement? Read on!