Despite their differences, Apple and Google do work well together when it comes to email. Gmail is free and it has great spam protection. But the Gmail web interface is a bit clunky. Apple mail is very nice to use and you can set it to use a Gmail account. Here’s how to use Gmail from Apple’s mail app and also how to set up Gmail on your iPhone or iPad.
There is a newer article about this topic here (2018) but I have kept this older article (2013) for those who have an older version of OS X or an older version of Apple Mail.