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There's a new iPhone mail-app that has people excited because, like many email clients before it, it has potential to make longform Internet communication less painful. This one is called Mailbox and The Verge's Ellis Hamburger boldly declares it "just fixed email on the iPhone." The Atlantic Wire doesn't have access to the app because its creators have decided to roll out access over time and our reservation number hasn't come up. But Hamburger isn't alone in his excitement. The tech press is full of hopeful headlines like "Mailbox for iPhone targets the 'broken to-do list' of email" and "New iPhone app vows to fix e-mail clutter." Before getting giddy about finally reaching inbox zero, let us not forget all the apps that came before it that have promised this very thing and not delivered:

"Going after email is a road paved in corpses," investors told founder Gentry Underwood, reports Hamburger. "It’s not a space you go after as a little startup." Still, there aren't too many mail apps out there, despite iPhone mail having some serious problems. But maybe that's because mail isn't something an app can fix. Like any social technology today, the service is what we make it. And society has made email pretty terrible. For most people email is work at worst, and a to-do list at best. It's unlikely that an app will change the nature of our communications. We have to pay our bills somewhere. But, despite that sad reality. Like the mouse-trap of our age, that impossible puzzle hasn't stop the tinkerers from attempting. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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