Playing by the rules
Another new feature in MobileMe's Webmail client is the longed-for addition of server-side filtering rules. Because these rules don't depend on any particular client, it means that the actions get performed before the messages make it to the inbox on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. So if you want to make sure that messages from a certain sender always get filtered into a particular folder, you won't have to depend on launching Mail on your Mac to make sure that happens.
Unfortunately, at the moment the rules are nowhere near as robust as those in the Mac version of Mail. You can only add three types of rules: move messages to a folder, move messages to the trash, and forward messages to an e-mail address. In each case, you can base it on one of four different criteria: who the message is from, who it's addressed to, who's CC'ed, and the subject. You can also drag and drop rules to set in which order they get applied.
The big picture
Apple also claims that it has overhauled the speed and performance of the new MobileMe Webmail, and it does seem snappier. You no longer have to page through your message list in chunks; you just scroll the list, and it loads the details as you go.
MobileMe so often seems like one of Apple's forgotten products that any movement or improvement is welcome. On the whole, the beta version of the Webmail client is promising, and--if nothing else--makes us eagerly anticipate similar enhancements to the rest of the MobileMe Web tools.
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