Apple's Steve Jobs e-mails fans, and other Apple news

Steve Jobs is personally replying to e-mails from customers, talking about future directions for the iPhone, iPad, and Macs, according to reports on Apple blogs. He isn't saying much, but it's enough to fuel speculation.

The most interesting message, for me at least, was about the possibility of a universal in-box for the Mail app on the iPhone.

The Mail app supports multiple accounts, but each one has a separate inbox, making for lots of tapping, which is annoying. Most desktop e-mail programs let you mix incoming mail from all your accounts into a universal inbox. Will the iPhone get the same capabilities?

That's a question that was on the mind of iPhone user Julio Rodriguez. He e-mailed Jobs and got a reply. Jobs said: "Yep."

I told you Jobs didn't say much.

Another Apple customer asked the Steve whether he'd be able to transfer Google Docs to the iPad through iWork.com or the iDisk. Jobs replied: "Yes."

The tagline on both those Jobs e-mails: "Sent from my iPad."

"Okay, who hasn't gotten an email from Steve Jobs this week?" The Unofficial Apple Weblog asks.

Jobs wrote to another customer who praised the iPad photo app, and asked whether Apple plans to support Picasa's faces and albums in iTunes. Jobs reportedly replied: "No, but iPhoto on the Mac has much better Faces and Places features," according to 9to5Mac.

Jobs apparently sent that e-mail from an iPhone running the older version of the OS: 3.1.2. The current version is 3.1.3. 9to5Mac first noted that Jobs was running the older iPhone software in February, and posted instructions to help Jobs update, which I thought was hilarious.

Another customer wrote Jobs to ask about MacBook Pros and Mac Pros. An upgrade to the product lines is overdue, supplies of the existing products are constrained, and the customer said he is "really losing heart in the lack of vision for the MBP and Mac Pros." Jobs replied: "Not to worry," according to MacRumors.

Yet another customer asked whether the iPad will be available from Apple resellers. Jobs reportedly replied, "Initially at Apple Retail and online stores and Best Buy," according to AppleInsider. That means AT&T won't sell the iPad in its retail stores, at least at first, AppleInsider concludes. The iPad goes on sale in 10 days, April 3.

Also on the Apple blogs: Opera submitted its Mini Browser to the App Store for approval on Tuesday, according to the New York Times Bits Blog.

"I’ve tried the Android version (which seems extremely similar to the iPhone version) on the Nexus One, and it is indeed fast. But the speed advantage is most noticeable over EDGE; on Wi-Fi, it’s about the same, but the rendering is worse," John Gruber, writing at the blog Daring Fireball, says ("Demo of Opera Mini 5 on the iPhone").

Apple seems likely to reject the Opera app, because Apple has previously represented apps that duplicate the capabilities of the iPhone's built-in apps.

Watch this demo video of the browser:

I love the way the browser opens new tabs, and the tools for browsing multiple open pages. The demo claims that Opera Mini can download five pages in the time it takes Mobile Safari to open one.

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