MobileMe

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MobileMe

MobileMe, a SAAS (Software as a Service), is a collection of internet based services and software offered by Apple. It is a successor to .Mac, Apple's previous SAAS. The SproutCore based service has been redesigned by Apple and now focuses mainly on synchronization between different Apple devices and non Apple PCs rather than the mainly internet platform that .Mac was. As a part of the transition from .Mac to MobileMe, all active .Mac subscribers were upgraded free of cost.

Contents

Features

Web Apps

MobileMe comes with five SproutCore based web applications available at http://www.me.com. The applications appear in a web browser as flush full fledged applications. The five applications are:

  • Mail
  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Photo Gallery
  • iDisk

Almost all features and preferences available on the equivalent desktop software are also available through the web applications, integrating seamlessly with the synchronized software on the computer. Users can create or delete aliases, create/delete/modify contacts, add and transfer calendar events and to dos, add/delete/modify and even tweak individual photos in a photo album and change the properties of the album from the web itself. In iDisk, users can upload/download files up to 1GB in size and duplicate, compress, decompress and drag/drop files and folders through the web application as well. Web apps also fully support keyboard shortcuts for performing various actions across different applications.

Due to the advanced SproutCore Engine and AJAX, MobileMe Web Apps cannot be rendered properly on older browsers. The only browsers now officially supported are Safari and Firefox 2. Internet Explorer 7 and Safari 4 Beta are partially supported with incomplete Web App rendition. me.com also remains inaccessible from all Linux distributions.

Mail

MobileMe includes an @me.com email address. When a message is received it is sent directly to all the user's devices using Push Mail. Supported devices include the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple Mail on Mac OS X, and Microsoft Outlook on Microsoft Windows. Users can also setup email aliases that will be redirected to their MobileMe Mail account. Up to 5 aliases can be created. A single POP mail server may be configured to recieve mails from. Mail forwarding is also supported. Spam filtering is absent.

Previous .Mac subscribers keep both their @mac.com and @me.com email addresses. All aliases created before or after the transition also add both addresses. New MobileMe subscribers (subscribed after transition) do not receive the @mac.com address. The mac.com and me.com mail servers are interlinked meaning both have only one inbox.

Contacts and Calendars

MobileMe maintains a synchronized address book and calendar feature using Push functions. If a user makes a change to a contact or event on one device it will be automatically synced to the MobileMe servers and, by extension, all the user's other devices. Supported devices include the Apple iPhone, Address Book and iCal on Mac OS X, and Microsoft Outlook on Microsoft Windows.

Photo Gallery

MobileMe feature a public Photo Gallery feature. Photos can be uploaded using the web browser through the web app or from iPhoto and Aperture from a Mac. The photo album and the photos can be tweaked either before uploading from iPhoto and Aperture or after uploading through the web app. Once published, MobileMe can announce the album by sending an email with the link to the album to whomsoever the user prefers. The whole gallery with all the albums and movies may also be accessed at gallery.me.com/<username>

Movies can also be uploaded using iMovie '08 from a Mac.

Personal Website

Also known as iWeb publish, users of Mac OS X 10.5 or later can use iWeb to publish websites hosted on their MobileMe account, either to a domain name that the user controls or at http://web.me.com/<username>/<sitename>

iDisk and Cloud Storage

With MobileMe users get 20GB of online storage which is split into iDisk and Mail Storage. MobileMe provides various options for the split ranging from 30MB to 18.8GB for Mail Storage. The online space may also be upgraded at an extra annual cost.

iDisk is the personal storage location for a MobileMe account. Except contacts, all app data is stored in the iDisk. Users can also upload their personal files up to a size of 1GB. iDisk can be accessed from me.com through the web app, Finder in Mac OS X and may be mounted as a network drive in Windows Vista and XP.

Plans

MobileMe has two different plans.

Individual

The Individual plan includes 20 GB of storage and 200 GB of Data Transfer.

Family Pack

The Family Pack includes 40 GB of storage split up between one 20 GB individual and four 5 GB email plans.

Additional Storage

Members can also purchase additional storage space in either 20 GB or 40 GB allocations.

Initial Problems and Controversies

  • The launch of MobileMe took place on July 9, 2008, while .Mac was taken offline at about 8pm to 12am Pacific Time on July 9th, 2008, and the MobileMe service was supposed to go live between 8pm and 2am Pacific Time. Instead it finally went live at about midday on July 11 PST. MobileMe was taken off the web a short time later, leaving customers redirected to www.apple.com/mobileme where there was no option to log in.
  • Many of the web apps were unstable even after the erratic launch and the promised Push synchronize feature was not working still.
  • About 1% of all MobileMe users were unable to access MobileMe mail from any service due to a 'serious Mail Server problem' that Apple was experiencing. The issue was later fixed on June 29.
  • The previously advertised iDisk File Share feature through which a user could mail a link to a file in his iDisk to any person with customizable validity options was pulled off by Apple and is now reported as 'Coming Soon' in Apple's MobileMe Features webpage.
  • Apple also detailed later that there will be no Push services from a computer to the MobileMe database and apologized for its extensive use of the term Push.

Links