What if Mail.app were like iTunes?

Update: An utterly basic missing feature that I can't believe Apple won't fix in Tiger is support for message priorities. I wouldn't mind better message flagging, either (multi-colored flags like Outlook 2003).

Ok, not really like iTunes. I just got to wonder what would happen if Apple put the same amount of effort into Mail.app as it looks like they are putting into iTunes. It would have:

  • A brushed metal UI (just joking, I like it just as it is...)
  • A nice Outlook-like fading notification like Mail.appetizer.
  • iSync capabilities with PDAs (c'mon, Palm users want it).
  • Decent Exchange integration, not the hopeless (and, ultimately, useless) IMAP shim we got with Panther.
  • A lot tighter integration with iCal and Address Book - think "meeting request".
  • Type-ahead find (available as a plugin).
  • More display options like Outlook's:
    • "Auto-preview" (the short summary inserted within the message list).
    • Message grouping by an arbitrary header.
    • Staggered grouping by today/yesterday/week/month, etc.
  • A vertical preview pane like Thunderbird's. Come on, I did it myself. How hard can it be?
  • Better search (and pre-indexing).
  • Virtual folders like Evolution's (and Outlook's, of course, but credit where credit is due).

And these are just off the top of my head. The niceties (and a lot of serious UI/interaction replumbing) will probably deserve more profound meditation by better-ranked pundits.

Or I can just wait until Quicksilver assimilates Mail.app as well - it's pretty much replaced the Finder here...