WWDC 2008: Mobile Me

While the 3G iPhone was the ‘big deal’ announced at the World Wide Developer’s Conference today, Apple also announced some other things. One of those things was ‘Mobile Me’ which is basically a rebranded and upgraded .Mac service offering using the cute me.com domain. This time it includes a lot more features for iPhone/Touch users.

Upon checking my .Mac email after the keynote, I got this:

Dear .Mac member:

Today Apple announced a new Internet service called MobileMe – taking the best of .Mac and adding a host of new features. As a current .Mac member, your account will be automatically upgraded to MobileMe in July. For a closer look, watch the MobileMe Guided Tour and read below for an overview of your new service.

Mac integration you know and love. With MobileMe, you’ll continue to enjoy features that take advantage of seamless integration with Mac OS X and iLife – Back to My Mac; access to your iDisk in the Finder; Mac-to-Mac syncing of Dock items, preferences, and more; iWeb site publishing; and photo and movie sharing directly from iPhoto ’08 and iMovie ’08.

New web applications for when you’re away from your Mac. MobileMe features a suite of web applications at www.me.com that have the familiar look and feel of the applications on your Mac. Because these web applications stay in sync with your Mac and other devices, you’ll have the same information wherever you go. Here’s what you’ll find at me.com:

Mail, the anchor of the new suite, is even better with a refined interface.

Contacts has a new three-pane interface, contact groups, maps integration, search, and photo support.

Calendar is a brand-new web application that feels just like iCal, featuring multiple calendars, click-and-drag event creation, and more.

Gallery lets you manage your collection of shared photos and movies from anywhere. You can now upload photos, rearrange their order, and set sharing preferences, all from a browser.

iDisk now has the familiar look of the Mac OS X Finder. It features drag-and-drop filing and an easy new way to share large documents, by sending an email with a link for downloading the file.

Account lets you manage settings such as storage allocation.

To use the new web applications, make sure you have one of these browsers: Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, or Firefox 2 or later.

Push email. Push contacts. Push calendar. In addition to Mac-to-Mac syncing, MobileMe now keeps your iPhone, your iPod touch, and even a PC in sync. MobileMe pushes new contacts, calendar items, and bookmarks to your Mac or PC, and over the air to your iPhone or iPod touch. For example, if you add a calendar event on the web, the change will automatically be pushed to your Mac and iPhone. New email will be pushed to your iPhone in seconds, eliminating the need to check for messages manually.

As a MobileMe subscriber, you can continue to use your mac.com address for email. You will also be issued a me.com address with the same user name that you can use if you prefer. The choice is yours.

Double the online storage. To give you plenty of space for your email, photos, and other files, MobileMe doubles your storage from 10GB to 20GB for an individual subscription.

We’ll be sure to update you when the new service goes live. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the upcoming transition from .Mac to MobileMe, please visit the MobileMe FAQ.

Sincerely,

The MobileMe Team

I only have a .Mac account because I got it dirt cheap…otherwise, I wouldn’t have it because it’s very overpriced for what you (currently) get. I have been using it to sync my MacBook Air and my iMac address book and calendars which then update my iPhone when I dock it.

One big thing that Mobile Me is offering me is the ability to sync this wirelessly. I’m still not sure it’s worth the $99US price tag as that feature should have shipped with the 1.0 iPhone. It remains to be seen if you can ‘roll your own’ server setup and do this yourself as many people have with the .Mac type services.

The other parts of Mobile Me look nice but I’ll have to wait and see once I’m upgraded in July to see how compelling they are to my normal usage. The fact that they are integrated into almost everything Apple makes might make it harder to not renew next year. Push email adoption will also depend on the data plan pricing for the iPhone in Canada as well.

4 Comments

  1. I’ve never used .Mac – mostly because I didn’t feel like paying the US $99 a year for what I felt I could get for free mostly. One thing I *would* like to have is the ability to sync calendars seemlessly.

    I like to be able to have access to my wife’s calendars and her to mine, so the system I have set up now is a bit kludgy. I sync her calendars to a site I found (icalx.com) and then subscribe to them from my google apps calendars. I use google apps calendars primarily for me and subscribe to them from iCal on my Mac. That means I can only make changes online and view (read only) the calendars in iCal, but it’s not that bad. As for my wife, she just does everything through iCal and I see the changes without her having to do anything. I guess it’s the extra step I don’t like, having to sync her calendars to the middleman (iCalx.com) to get everything to work. Of course the bonus is that it’s free.

    Does .Mac (or MobileMe) allow you to bring your own email address with you? Anyways, I’m anxious to hear what you think of the new MobileMe when the switch happens.

  2. John says:

    I hadn’t seen that yet Kevin and I’m not surprised. There have been many attempts at replicating the .Mac service by others but they have always been quite involved to setup and because Apple bakes support for .Mac into so many aspects of their products, it always seems (to me) to be not quite .Mac. Personally, I have many options to do many of the things that MobileMe/.mac does. I don’t want my photos going to Apple’s servers in their album system, I’d rather they go to Flickr. I don’t care if my email address is john@mac.com as I have a number of my own domains.

    It still remains to be seen if you can use your own email domains for the push service. I do like the syncing of calendars and contacts which what I currently use .Mac for to sync between my various Apple computers and it’s pretty seamless. Based on the keynote (which I finally fully watched the video of last night), Mobile Me push looks pretty sweet.

    I’m also curious about syncing my iPhone wireless with everything – new photos in Aperture/iPhoto, new music on my desktop, etc and it seems to me that MobileMe will be the way to do that but I guess we’ll have to see once more info is out there and the service is available.

  3. Ahh! Kevin beat me to it… I’ll definitely be using the Funambol when I get my new iPhone (i’m still in severe iPhone withdrawls btw — It’s like I’ve lost a limb.)

    I’m sure there’ll be other open-source software out there that does similar things as Funambol too. Wait and see I guess!

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