Apple messaging fans rejoice: not one, but two apps for staying in contact have received significant updates with the release of Gmail – email from Google 2.7182 and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) 126.96.36.199 for iPhone and iPad.
Highlights include significant interface improvements to the iPad version of Gmail, while BBM now supports non-3G iOS devices, meaning it can be used on iPod touches as well as Wi-Fi-only iPads and iPhones.
Gmail 2.7 on the iPad now gains a redesigned – and permanently fixed – navigation bar to landscape mode. It sits discreetly on the left of the screen displaying categories and accounts as a series of buttons, making it easy to switch views with just one tap. The icons also provide an at-a-glance view of how many new messages are waiting within each inbox tab (inbox, social and promotions).
Switch the app to portrait, and messages are now displayed full-screen by default with no distractions. Key buttons such as reply, archive and delete remain accessible, and users can tap the menu button in the top-left hand corner to reveal the message list for switching to another email.
One other notable improvement is the tweaked message composition screen, which offers extra room for writing messages in full-screen mode. Google also mentions unspecified scrolling improvements and various iOS 7 visual updates to both iPad and iPhone versions.
In addition to the revamped version of Gmail for iOS, Blackberry has also updated its Blackberry Messenger app for iPhone to support Wi-Fi-only devices, including iPad and iPod touch as well as the iPhone. Other improvements include support for right-to-left languages, more ways to share the BBM Pin Barcode, easier tools for finding other BBM users on other social networks and a few minor bug fixes.
Despite all these improvements, however, BBM remains resolutely optimised for iPhone only, with iPad users having to use the same screen interface as the iPhone version.