Dominique Leca doesn't know if Apple will approve his iPhone app, but he's building it anyway.
The co-founder of Sparrow, a popular Mac desktop client for Gmail, is working on an iOS version of the app, he told Business Insider recently.
Sparrow, a simply-designed but highly fuctional Gmail client, got rave reviews when it was released for Mac desktop earlier this year. It supports many native Gmail features like starring messages, labels and even keyboard shortcuts. It does all of this and more in an interface that is notably cleaner and more sleek than Gmail's standard Web interface.
In venturing into iOS territory, the Sparrow team runs the risk of facing the wrath of an App Store rejection email from Apple. Why? An email client of this nature competes directly with Mail, the email program that comes pre-installed on all iPhones and other iOS devices.
Leca acknowledges this, but says they're going to continue working on the iOS version anyway. As he points out, Apple finally started accepting Web browsers from third parties like Opera after initially forbiding them.
"In regards to apps that compete with [Apple's] own apps, I think iOS is sufficiently settled and I think people have been evangelized enough now so Apple will feel more secure opening it up," said Leca.
It's true that Apple has slowly become more tolerant of certain types of apps that compete with its own offerings, but so far there hasn't been a flood of third party email clients in the App Store.
The desktop version of Sparrow has made over $350,000 in sales from the Mac App Store, and the team is hoping to extend that success into the mobile and tablet spaces.
On iOS, Leca and his team plan on making a faster alternative to Mail with a few extra features, such as the ability to attach images while composing an email. Sparrow for desktop is already designed much like an app for iPad or iPhone, so porting that experience over to iOS should just be a matter of further simplifying the UI and making it more mobile-friendly.
"We'll see what happens with Sparrow for iPhone," said Leca. "We're just starting on this, but it's still far far away."
You can read the full interview with Leca on Business Insider.