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Mailbox email app begins invitation-only rollout

Like a superhero swooping down to the scene of a crime, Orchestra's new email client, Mailbox, arrived on the Apple App Store yesterday, ready to readjust users' expectations of mobile mail.

But don't hold your breath for a chance to start cleaning out your inbox just yet — access to the app is only available on a first-come, first-served reservation basis.

The email management app was unveiled in mid-January, and is gaining users at break-neck speeds - it's thought to have already toppled 300,000. Those who pre-registered can enter their reservation numbers for activation.

Mailbox functions as a sort of to-do list for your email. Just swipe across a message to archive or delete it, read an entire conversation in one swoop with a chat-like layout, or snooze emails until later.

When Orchestra first announced its reservation system, it pointed to Gmail, Pinterest, and Spotify as examples of companies that required an invitation at the onset, but later opened the service to all users. Initially, Mailbox will be restricted to Gmail and the iPhone; there is no word on development for other platforms.

"At first, the pace may seem slow," a Mailbox blog post said of the plodding rollout.

"This is by design. If we run into unexpected snags, we may even stop filing reservations temporarily. But as the service grows, we should be able to dramatically increase this pace until we no longer need a reservation system at all."

Excited users can keep an eye on the app's built-in counter to chart their progress, or check the Mailbox blog for more updates. "We'll have your Mailbox ready as soon as we can," the site said.

iPhone owners can download the app for free in the Apple App Store.