Another product lost in the shadows of the 3G iPhone announcement on June 9 was MobileMe, a revamp of .Mac service. One of Apple’s most genius and useful facets is that it makes the process of syncing different products (iMacs, MacBooks, iPods, etc.) remarkably simple. The downside is that sometimes it comes at an extra cost. A big extra cost.
.Mac included online storage for file backups (not a lot, though) as well as a medium to sync contacts, calendars, and other files between computers, PC or Mac. MobileMe isn’t much different. Touted as Microsoft Exchange “for the rest of us” on the Apple website, MobileMe is .Mac with some remarketing and a bigger storage account (from 10 GB to 20 GB). Gawker bloggers even charged that its square cloud logo rips off the Intel logo.
The best upgrade with MobileMe is that it enables all syncing to happen through a “cloud,” according to Apple. Basically, MobileMe pushes e-mail, contacts and calendars straight to an iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac or PC wirelessly. One can upload a photo instantly to their MobileMe account and begin sharing with friends (although that feature could be potentially dangerous at parties. How many times have you untagged yourself in a Facebook photo after a party?).
Essentially, at the new “Me.com,” one can access their desktop files anywhere. Like most Macware, MobileMe has an elegant and clean interface. with the suite of Web applications, including mail and photo. The MobileMe Gallery is the most enticing of the applications, as far as I if you’ve felt the pain of losing photos without backing them up, then like I, and I’ve felt the pain of losing photos without backing them up in the past. However, I’ve felt the simplest (and cheapest) backup method has been a portable external hard drive, not a yearly subscription service.
Sure, the online suite is appealing, but it comes at a pretty penny too. It’s unfortunate when one pays $399 for an iPhone (I have the first one, and when you do the math, the next one will cost the same) and at least $999 for a MacBook, one has to pay another $100 a year to keep everything synced up.
My friend and fellow Mac aficionado Brent lamented his qualms with the service altogether, saying Apple should provide a free syncing program between computers. “I just need to sync my two Macs and future iPhone,” he said, adding that with Apple, “you pay a premium to get something that can do everything you want out of the box (minus Microsoft Office).”
ValleyWag even estimates, that with the new iPhone service, one could go broke over all the extra costs. A 60-day trial will be available, but will be $99 to hold onto the account for a year. You can tag on extra file space for an additional fee, starting at $49 for another 20 GB. However, bloggers at CNET have pointed out that .Mac accounts are going for $78 on Amazon, and .Mac users will be automatically upgraded (for free) when MobileMe is released.