Apple introduces MobileMe Internet service for iPhone, iPod touch, Macs and PCs

Apple today introduced MobileMe, a new Internet service that delivers push email, push contacts and push calendars from the MobileMe service in the “cloud” to native applications on iPhone, iPod touch, Macs and PCs. MobileMe also provides a suite of elegant, ad-free web applications that deliver a desktop-like experience through any modern browser. MobileMe applications (http://www.me.com/) include Mail, Contacts and Calendar, as well as Gallery for viewing and sharing photos and iDisk for storing and exchanging documents online.

“Think of MobileMe as ‘Exchange for the rest of us,'” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in the press release. “Now users who are not part of an enterprise that runs Exchange can get the same push email, push calendars and push contacts that the big guys get.”

With a MobileMe email account, all folders, messages and status indicators look identical whether checking email on iPhone, iPod touch, a Mac or a PC. New email messages are pushed instantly to iPhone over the cellular network or Wi-Fi, removing the need to manually check email and wait for downloads. Push also keeps contacts and calendars continuously up-to-date so changes made on one device are automatically pushed up to the cloud and down to other devices. Push works with the native applications on iPhone and iPod touch, Microsoft Outlook for the PC, and Mac OS X applications, Mail, Address Book and iCal(R), as well as the MobileMe web application suite.

MobileMe web applications are 100 percent ad-free and provide an incredible, desktop-like experience that allows users to drag and drop, click and drag and even use keyboard shortcuts. MobileMe provides anywhere access to Mail, Contacts and Calendar, with a unified interface that allows users to switch between applications with a single click, and Gallery makes it easy to share photos on the web in stunning quality. Gallery users can upload, rearrange, rotate and title photos from any browser; post photos directly from an iPhone; allow visitors to download print quality images; and contribute photos to an album. MobileMe iDisk lets users store and manage files online with drag and drop filing and makes it easy to share documents too large to email by automatically sending an email with a link for downloading the file. MobileMe includes 20GB of online storage that can be used for email, contacts, calendar, photos, movies and documents.

MobileMe, available on July 11, is a subscription-based service with 20GB of storage for US$99 per year for individuals and $149 for a Family Pack, which includes one master account with 20GB of storage and four Family Member accounts with 5GB of storage each. Users can sign up for a free, 60-day MobileMe trial at http://www.apple.com/mobileme and current .Mac members will be automatically upgraded to MobileMe accounts. MobileMe subscribers can purchase an additional 20GB of storage for $49 or 40GB of storage for $99 annually.

Using an iPhone or iPod touch with MobileMe requires iPhone 2.0 software and iTunes 7.7 or later. For use with a Mac, MobileMe requires Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11 or the latest version of Mac OS X Leopard. For a PC, MobileMe requires Windows Vista or Windows XP Home or Professional (SP2), and Microsoft Outlook 2003 or later is recommended. MobileMe is accessible on the web via Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, and Firefox 2 or later. Internet access requires a compatible ISP; fees may apply. Broadband Internet connection recommended. Some features require Mac OS X Leopard and iLife ’08, available separately.

22 Comments

  1. outside a firewall, me.com takes you to a landing page which states “The site you are looking for is now at shutterbug.com” Looks like Apple bought the domain and is giving the previous occupants some time to redirect their regulars

  2. What about security? All of our lives (our contacts, e-mails, calendars) are going where?… to a cloud? Given the liberal tendencies of the Apple crowd (don’t get me wrong… Apple user and major fan since 1985)… what is there to keep anyone (and I do mean anyone) from accessing our information? They need to give us (and I am sure they will) more information here about this so that we will have a greater sense of security!

  3. I personally hope that Apple’s next server includes a local versionof Mobileme. While uploading some data to the cloud is nice I certianly don’t want that data in everyone hands including whatever is stored on my idisk.

    It is only one of two complaints I have about the day. The second involves AT&T;not letting me us my existing plan + plus data bills for the iPhone. I guess I will just have to scream a little more to them about it.

  4. “MobileMe web applications are 100 percent ad-free” – That sounds good.

    @baukunst, You have the choice, .mac or .me (this is Apple).

    @Rick from Quantico, First there are to be zero advertisers spying or even trying to spy for your eyeballs. Second, worry more about Google, or Yahoo etc, and especially MS, AT&T;etc. Third, Apple always provides the tools, if you use them.

    There’s a big picture, but you can’t find it anywhere, you have to build it for yourself.

  5. @Rick from Quantico

    “What about security? All of our lives (our contacts, e-mails, calendars) are going where?… to a cloud? Given the liberal tendencies of the Apple crowd … what is there to keep anyone (and I do mean anyone) from accessing our information?”

    One assumes it’ll all take place over SSL. But perhaps that’s not what you meant.

    I’m not sure how politics comes into it. Steve Jobs seems to be “liberal” — at any rate, he might be depending on whatever anyone imagines that term to mean currently. Traditionally, in political philosophy, the “liberalism” has been defined as the (by now evidently impossible) attempt to precisely fix the boundaries of state power by means of theory (e.g., through a doctrine of Natural Rights, as in Locke, or by means of a theory of Utilitarianism, as in Mill) . It’s generally accepted these days that that can’t done: theory just isn’t capable of that. But more loosely speaking, one might use the term “liberal” to denote someone who has a political concern for individual liberty (at the expense of equality a socialist might add; or regardless of the cultural/social damage a conservative might say). One could imagine Jobs having that kind of concern — and Al Gore, too, doubtless.

    But how does that affect the service? Would a relatively high concern for individual liberty, assuming that reaches throughout the board, make Apple more rather than less likely to be careful with people’s personal information? More, I’d have thought. Would they be less or more likely to turn my information over to a totalitarian government, if I lived under one? Less likely, I’d have thought.

    I’m not saying I don’t find “liberal” ideologues naive and at times tiresome … but I can’t see they’d necessarily be either less careful or less scrupulous than others with my information.

    I doubt politics are relevant here. I suspect “security” — or perhaps “privacy” — is more a technical than a political problem. Can Apple’s engineers code their web apps tightly enough that they don’t expose the information in them to a cross-scripting attack? Google’s Gmail has fallen foul of XSS attacks from time-to-time.

  6. 20 GB of on-line storage. That’s another 10 GB to add to the 7 GB I already don’t use. I guess Apple is counting on that – people not actually using the space they “own” – in the price.
    They seem to be expanding the use of “Mail” into the “cloud”. This is, maybe, a Good Thing. I like – mostly – the changes they made to Mail with Leopard. I’d like a lot more freedom to change the shape of their templates, though. Lovely as they are, if they don’t fit the message you are trying to send NOW, you need to find a totally different solution.
    iCal is being bumped for Calendar? I don’t understand! It isn’t that I believe iCal is The Greatest, but what’s the point of the name change? Will they be dumping <u>all</u> the “i” names? And Address Book for Contacts? No “i” there … maybe they are distancing the names of the “cloud” programs from those on the desktop?
    This looks like enough of an update to keep me paying for another year. Just. they’ll need to come up with something more, or prove this is more valuable than it looks, to make it good for two.

  7. By the way. About the link posted above. It clearly reads “http://www.me.com/” and just as clearly takes us to “http://www.apple.com/mobileme/”. A re-direct that dumps you back at “http://www.me.com/” if you try to return to the Previous Page, so then you get dumped back on …
    Could you try a bit harder to avoid pointing to “re-direct” links? Just because we all know all you have to do is click <u>twice</u> to get back to where you want to be, doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating if you forget the first time. Remember the average age of us Mac users. Ya gotta deal with us codgers, OK?

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