I’m almost afraid to start writing this blog without my flame-retardant fire suit on. You mention “Mac” or “Apple” and it’s tantamount to throwing shredded coconut onto any favorite dessert: either you’re going to be into it or it’s just not your thing. The new Lion OS, however, has presented a momentous revision to email marketing practices that warrants deeper exploration.

This OS Update Affects a Significant Amount of Your Email Subscribers

No matter where you stand in the coconut or Apple wars, it doesn’t change the fact that Apple’s new operating system, Lion, was released yesterday to millions of MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Mini & Mac Pro users worldwide. This new OS shakes things up a quite a bit, but I’ll leave all the talk about fancy animation and workflow for a CNET blogger to tackle.

The One New Feature You Care About: A Change to the Email Inbox

Last night, I downloaded (legally) my copy of Lion just past midnight. By six this morning I was trying out the new three and four-fingered “gestures” that are supposed to make this operating system so “revolutionary.”

Okay, well I personally haven’t been radicalized into the revolution, but the change to the email inbox in Lion just might offer its own one-fingered gesture to the all important email subject line by making it less important to Mac users.

Lion Gives the Email Preview More Prominence

You can think of Mail like Apple’s own version of MS Outlook – it’s how you get, use and create email on a Mac. What’s different in Lion is that the email preview pane moves from the bottom of the window to the right. The inbox is a column on the left and you see almost your whole email in a big pane on the right. This effectively makes a user notice the email first just because there’s so much space devoted to it.

A regular email is nothing to get excited about here:

The Down Arrow Downs the Subject Line

When I open my Mail inbox in Lion, it picks up where I’ve left off before I closed it. That means the last email viewed is in the preview pane. So I just meander to the top of the inbox, click a message, and now I can use my up & down arrows to browse my emails. So what do I see when I do this?

Or this?

Or this?

Mac Users Can Now Get More of the Message without Reading Subject Lines

For me, it’s like browsing for books, DVDs or even CDs (remember them?) in a store. What do you see first, the ones sticking spine out or the ones sitting flat with their front covers exposed to you?

Some salty old Mac Veterans might say that the email preview was there before Lion. Yes, it was, but you rarely saw much of the email because of all that space at the top of the email. A user had to make a choice: more inbox view or more preview. This one small change seems to organize the whole thing much better. I can just use my arrows, click down the inbox line and quickly see if anything catches my eye.

A Change to Macs that Will Finally Please a Windows User

This change is good for you, even if you hate Macs so much that you even avoid apples at the supermarket. As an email marketer, your Mac-using email subscribers (who upgrade their operating systems to Lion) get to see more of your email right from the inbox. If your email newsletters look professional, colorful and compelling, they might get opened without ever being judged solely on their subject lines.