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OBTW, I have an iPod Touch, and I am able to send and receive e-mail just fine with it, and without the quirky behavior with messages just suddenly disappearing from the inbox and/or sent box. I use the same Comcast account with the iPod.
There are other forms of SMTP authentication, but none that are universally accepted. This means, in general, if you are sending emails via RoadRunner's SMTP server, you MUST be connected to it through RoadRunner's (e.g. TW) Internet service.
It is only a problem when you use a builtin email client (like the ipad email app) and is not a problem when using a web-based email service with a browser (e.g. Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc). It is getting worse because many carriers now assume that customers will be using web-based email service (e.g. Hotmail, Gmail), and they don't want to pay to maintain their own SMTP servers. Unfortunately that means that customers of that carrier will have a lot of problems trying to send emails using builtin email apps, since there would be no "correct" SMTP service to use.