The New .Mac: Apple MobileMe.

OK, I’ve watched the videos, including the downloaded Guided Tour, and have some thoughts on Apple’s new MobileMe service.

I’d heard rumors of a .Mac revamp and wrote a post on it, so my comparison will be within the context of that post and what I stated I’d like to see.

We start with the bad news. The first two things I listed about .Mac have not changed: the price, and the fact that you only get one email address.

Price – For all you get (and if you use all the features it’s quite a bit), $99 a year for .Mac is still a pretty high price. You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s still too much for MobileMe, but I would have thought a price drop was in order.

Email – Still just one email address. One email address is pretty weak. I can still get a Family pack to add another 4 email addresses (each with 5GB more storage) but email should be a lot cheaper than that. But it’s push email, and I’m thrilled about that.

Web Hosting – No change here that I know of. In fact, MobileMe on Apple’s web site pushes (pun intended) the push aspects of the new service, but as near as I can tell all the other benefits of .Mac are still there. I mentioned performance as one issue with hosting, now that MobileMe is going to be pushing data left and right, they had better have improved its overall performance. It will be interesting to see if that’s the case.

Backup – I assume this is the same as web hosting. The site doesn’t say, but then again I didn’t know about Backup for .Mac until after I signed up. Apple’s always been pretty low key about this feature. With Time Machine I expect it downplayed even more.

Web Galleries – Still the same in terms of uploading from iPhoto, Aperture 2, and iMovie. But they’re improved in that managing the galleries is now possible though the me.com web application. It looks very nice, and is a one-stop place to see all the galleries you may have uploaded from your various Apple applications (or through a straight upload from a PC). I like this. As with web hosting, I mentioned performance as a factor here; it will be interesting to see if MobileMe performs better.

Storage – Apple just went from 1GB to 10GB less than a year ago, and now it’s being doubled to 20GB. I had suggested 25GB, but I can live with 20.

Sync – I referred to this as the “crown jewel” of .Mac. If that was the case then the new Sync/Push capabilities of MobileMe are the Holy Grail! Mac-to-Mac syncing of the Dock, Preferences, etc. is still there, but you now get push Mail, Contacts, and Calendar. Apple referring to it as Exchange for the rest of us isn’t bad. I wanted push email very, very, badly, and now I get it there and for contacts/cals as well. This is huge for me. All done over the air without having to use a cable for sync, etc. Awesome. Holy Grail, indeed. Now let’s just hope it works. 🙂

iDisk – With double the space and a very cool way to share files from the disk (I like how you can set expiration dates on the download link) this has been nicely improved.

Back to me Mac – I assume this is there and unchanged.

And Now For Something Completely Different – In additon to the above, we now have the me.com site and its integrated web application. For .Mac, using these services they seemed like a disparate bunch of apps all roughly related. And you couldn’t even see your calendar unless it was published, and couldn’t edit it at all. Now, with the me.com website your mail, contacts, calendar, galleries, and idisk are all nicely integarted and very desktop-like. The integration appears smooth, and you finally have a calendar you can view/edit easily.

In my view, the OTA push syncing changes everything. I was already in love with the syncing .Mac provided, and now it goes way beyond that. The web app (which I do use on occasion) will be that much sweeter, and I really like the idea of my calendar being available.

Finally, I had stated that it was time .Mac brought Windows users into the fold, and obviously MobileMe has done that in a very big way.

For me, I’m going to get MobileMe by virtue of my .Mac account being transferred automatically, I think it’s safe to say I’ll re-subscribe assuming the service works as designed and with no major performance issues (by no means a given). I still think $99 is a bit much, but I use the Sync function every day between my iMac and MacBook, and with the new push coming I think it will become that much more indispensable.

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7 thoughts on “The New .Mac: Apple MobileMe.

  1. Looks like the homepage.mac.com is not mentioned at all. I haven’t moved into the iWeb era yet, so I hope they’ll leave the old homepage tools available for people like me…

  2. @Stephen,

    The scuttlebutt when the iPhone was first introduced was that Notes would really “take off” when Leopard was introduced. That never happened. I agree with you and wonder what the delay is. Meanwhile, now we have MobileMe and it also does not address Notes. Not sure why Apple added this feature to Leopard’s Mail if they weren’t gonna do much with it.

    @Luis,

    In many cases it is cheaper. Further, Exchange is only about the push, there is no equivalent for web hosting, back to my Mac, Mac-to-Mac syncing, iDisk, and the other features MobileMe offers.

    @Curmudgeon,

    Agreed! That my Junk mail on the phone doesn’t match my Mac is frustrating.

    @Eytan,

    Mine is due for upgrade in August. I assume the trick is to upgrade via the new code before Apple automatically updates the existing subscription?

  3. You can get .mac/mobile.me for about $69 a year from many retailers, just use the code that comes in the box for renewal instead of new service. I have not paid more than 69 since I 1st got it….

  4. .Mac Groups are due for a serious update in the world of social networks. But I hear Apple doesn’t believe in investing resources in competing in the social networks market.

    I hope the Mail syncing also syncs the Junk Mail training one does for Apple’s Mail app. I was displeased that I have to train each and every computer’s Mail app junk “awareness” that I sync my Dot Mac with.

  5. I read in another place that the $99 price is cheaper than the cheapest Exchange service available.
    So –maybe– this is not a bad price for that kind of service.

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