Mossberg: Apple’s MobileMe far too flawed to be reliable

“After a week of intense testing of [Apple’s MobileMe] service, I can’t recommend it, at least not in its current state. It’s a great idea, but, as of now, MobileMe has too many flaws to keep its promises,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“I am not referring to the launch glitches that plagued MobileMe earlier this month, such as servers that couldn’t keep up with the traffic and email outages that, for some users, persist as I write this. Those were bad, but they have eased considerably. Apple already has apologized for them and is giving customers an extra 30 days on their subscriptions to make up for the poor start. The problems I am citing are systemic,” Mossberg reports.

“In my tests, using two Macs, two Dell computers and two iPhones, I ran into problem after problem. One big issue is that while changes made on the Web site or the iPhone are instantly pushed to the computers, changes made on computers are only synced every 15 minutes, at best. Apple has admitted that this is a problem, and says it is working on it,” Mossberg reports.

“If Apple does get MobileMe working smoothly, it could be a terrific service. But it’s way too ragged now,” Mossberg reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple screwed the pooch with their MobileMe launch. First impressions mean everything. See: Newton. It’s painfully obvious that heads should roll over this mess. To those responsible: you failed. Miserably. If Jobs hasn’t axed you yet, he should have. He probably wants you to try to fix it first, but, come on Steve: “Bozo Alert!” Get someone on this who knows what the hell they’re doing. Apple MobileMe employees: Don’t worry, it’ll be fine, we hear that Microsoft is looking for people; you’ll fit in just fine up there. In fact, so far, this whole MobileMe thing is positively Microsoftian, and that’s being overly kind.

Related articles:Apple’s MobileMe and iWeb continue to have major issues – July 18, 2008
Apple’s MobileMe Team apologizes to customers, gives users free 30-day extension – July 16, 2008
MobileMe users demand refund from Apple – July 14, 2008
Apple’s MobileMe service delayed ahead of iPhone launch – July 10, 2008

93 Comments

  1. All great achievers need to fail miserably sometimes. It keeps them from getting overly confident. This is a good thing for Apple. It will remind them that everything they touch doesn’t automatically turn to gold.

    Apple’s last royal f__k-up was the Cube in July 2000. One huge failure every 8 years is just about right to keep you on your toes. Plus, let’s look at another bright side; when Apple gets MobileMe fixed maybe they will give it a new name to indicate it ain’t the same POS. MobileMe is really a hooky name.

  2. I haven’t had any problems with mobileme. I would say though I don’t have an iPhone, I wish I did, so I don’t know all of the problems that iPhone users are experiencing.

  3. I also like it a lot. I got the impression all the info transfer would happen instantly or close to. ‘Non-working service’ technically isn’t correct. It is slower than we would like. I’m sure the 15 minutes will soon be diminished. Remember the conversations about the lack of 3G and that happened.

  4. me.com is nice and quick for me now. I’m surprised they’re not using the browser-side database features yet (HTML 5 feature). That’s probably coming, and would go a long way to speeding things up further, but for now, it does seem to be doing some form of caching.

    My email was out for a totally of 3.25 hours a few days ago. The only time. I feel sorry for those still having mail problems.

    And Mail.app does get messages “pushed” nearly instantly most of the time, since MobileMe uses the IMAP IDLE command, which is the recommended way to do Push email.

    Just need iCal and Address Book updated with Push.

  5. Yes well… I’m still a onepercenter with no email.

    Just as well I use another mail solution for day-to-day stuff.

    As it is, I can sit back and let Apple resolve things in its own time, but it could have been dvital, and may well be for others.

    Not so hot ;(

  6. I’m going to have to agree with Goatberg on this one. The potential of what it promises is amazing. But the problems I’m having really make this an un-fun “upgrade”.

    First off, iPhone problems (please see daringfireball.net) such as glitchy screen performance and slow response time on some apps (Apple and 3rd party) are just plain annoying. What really sucks with Mail on the iPhone though is when I delete emails that have been pushed from MobileMe. I can delete them one at a time or in batch but when I do… THEY SHOW UP AGAIN AS UNREAD MESSAGES. WTF?! I JUST deleted them and they’re right back in the inbox. Unacceptable.

    I even went so far as to completely re-install the iPhone 2.0 OS without using my personal backup. Still glitchy. Not good at all. Not Apple.

    On the Mac, things seem to work just fine except for the 15 minute delay. That is also unacceptable. Apple, do not fall into the MS trap. You are the light in the darkness. Please stop doing this. Fix the problems and move on.

  7. The sad thing is that it took me about 5 days to get my new iPhone to actually start synching with mobile me, even though all my information was there and showing.. I ended up having three different databases.. my computer, mobile me and the iphone.. None would update the other over the air..
    Not bragging, but I’m very knowledgeable with macs. I always apply only combo updaters, repair permissions, etc..

    I eventually found the problem to be corruption in the Sync Services folder with the help of other Mac folks on the apple discussion boards.. After deleting the contents of that folder, my service is now working great.

    The rest of my family, who all rely on me to update their macs would have been totally screwed as regular users having no idea how to fix the problems.. Many of them had the same problems. One of my sister’s is part of the 1% without e-mail for a week now.

  8. My MobileMe is working perfectly, I have no complaints. It was offline for a few days during the transition, but anyone who thought this would be smooth is a fool.

    The MobileMe account I use for work can’t publish iWeb sites at the moment, but I just put the files for the client into my public folder (password protected PDFs) and send them the link for that instead. Always have a Plan B.

    No complaints from me.

    Tip: ALWAYS archive your Mailboxes before a transition like this. Never rely on a 3rd party, no matter who they are, to preserve your data, you are asking for trouble.

  9. I had been on teetering on the 3G purchase, but finally decided to go for it.

    I’m giving MobileMe a trial run now. Had all the problems many had. I can accept that. What I still can’t accept is the crappy product this is for $100 a year.

    My suggestions for immediate improvement:

    1. Include a customized domain name with the cost;
    2. Allow for IMAP to gmail and others. Why should I have to forward my GMAIL account here;
    3. iPhone needs a setting to customize the sent from / reply to e-mail address;
    4. Option for iPhone consolidated in box; and
    5. I know this is pushing the envelope… but a database for web programmers. I would then kill my hosting account with another vendor. Prefer — MySQL.

    I know #5 will never happen, and I suppose I can live with that. But the other 4 – MobileMe and iPhone changes would make me a subscriber when my trial ends. Without those, no money from me.

  10. iPhone launch screw ups…

    MobileMe launch screw ups…

    What’s next? I haven’t had the time to read the full Lord Mossberger review yet, but does he mention the lack of full IE support? How ridiculous is that?! It’s by far the most used browser ANYWHERE, every other developer can make Web 2.0 and AJAX work on IE7, but not Apple? What a load of crap.

    And here come the “IE is crap” flames… Whatever your take on IE, you can’t disagree with the FACTS I’ve presented.

  11. well, I’ve been using the “Back to My Mac” and “screen sharing” from the office to home and I am in love!!!! I’ve always wanted the “home server” but had no desire to shell out the cash for a dynamic IP address to make everything run smoothly. Now I have access to the 600gb of music sitting on my kitchen table hooked up to an aging g4 iMac. Music streams great… no lag or buffering needed! seriously, this is the best thing EVER!!!!! The best part is, after years of trying to figure out a way to make this happen, I found it by accident. I have no problem throwing down $$$ every year to keep this option.

    the best side effect – I can now freak my roomate out by cranking up really bad songs in iTunes without being there! HAHAHHHA!

    Seriously tho, best.feature. ever. at least for me! Now, we’ll see how my opinion changes once I play with the rest of the services.

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