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Sparrow for Mac, my default client for over six months now, got a huge update today. Dropbox now joins CloudApp as an option for uploading attachments, you can (finally!) block remote images¹ but opt to show them from specific senders (and you get ‘once’ or ‘always’ options, unlike Mail), and you can now use Gmail-like search tools to focus your queries.

I became a Mail user and fan almost immediately after switching to the Mac in 2003. But Mail has been lagging the last few years when it comes to all the little details, which frustrates me as an Apple user. For example: Gmail has been out since 2004, and despite Mail finally gaining Archive support in Lion this summer, it still creates a top-level /Archive folder when you archive Gmail messages. Yes, even under 10.7.2. Yes, Apple’s name is still on the product.

Sparrow does an incredible job of keeping its default options and interface simple, yet allowing more advanced users to pull some levers to get serious work done. It’s some of the best $10 I’ve spent on software.

If anything, this Sparrow promo video is really slick. Also: inspiring. Great style and polish, and it reminds me of Realmac Software’s promos for Analog](

Sparrow, the client that brings a fresh perspective to the aging medium of email, has gained a handy new feature in a big version 1.4 update: integration with CloudApp for attachments. You have to enable the option in preferences, and once you do, you can drag an attachment into the main body area of a draft to upload it to CloudApp and insert a link. It’s great for sending files too large for email or simply giving a shareable link to your recipient.

Toss in lots of other tweaks like a reverse thread option (just like Gmail), pull to refresh, and a bunch of UI and performance improvements, and I’m happier than ever that I made the switch from Mail earlier this year. I’ve used and really liked Mail ever since I got my first Mac in 2002, but even with the improvements in Lion, it’s showing its age. I mean, c’mon: Apple added easy setup support for Gmail I think around Leopard in 2007, but even in the 10.7.2 Lion develop seeds I’m running, Mail still doesn’t understand how to archive a message versus delete it.