I’m an early adopter with a lot of patience. I bought a Mac when it didn’t do much. I went to OS X when it wasn’t ready for prime time.
I admit to all Macaholics reading this that I used Apple’s .Mac from day one, expecting and hoping for more, complaining all the while. What about MobileMe?
First, a little history from a very long time Mac user’s perspective.
Apple’s .Mac was a melange of services cobbled together to take advantage of Mac user, Apple lover, PC hater loyalties. Most of us have a high threshhold for pain, so .Mac fit right in.
A few million of us Mac users bought into the .Mac dream. Well, not so much a dream as a mist, a shroud, a covering, a visible part of the reality distortion field.
There was that great .Mac email address (the same one that Apple, like a drug dealer, gave away for free, and then, once Mac users were hooked, started to charge for privilege).
The photo gallery option was nice, but overpriced.
Ditto for iDisk, which was just a little faster than sneaker net at uploading and downloading files. Whatever other forgettable services were kludged into .Mac I’ve already forgotten.
Enter MobileMe, Apple’s version of Microsoft’s Exchange, initially dubbed ‘Exchange for the rest of us.’ It didn’t take long for Apple to realize they have plenty to learn from Microsoft when it comes to syncing email and calendars and address books.
When I picked up my iPhone 3G I also picked up a subscription for the new MobileMe service at a savings of $30, or, roughly four months of free service. My subscription was about to expire and I wanted all the candy coated sync goodness promised by MobileMe.
Few wars between nations that hate each other ever started off so poorly as did Apple’s MobileMe launch. It quickly became ‘MobileMess for the rest of us.’
The glitches and problems were so prevalent, so lush and ripe with grief, so high in the public’s eye, that Apple acknowledged the issue and gave every MobileMe subscriber a free month of service.
Added to the nearly four months I got by buying a subscription renewal with my iPhone, I figured I was almost half a year ahead. Except I had already used up a couple of years of problems.
The MobileMe web site didn’t work for weeks. Syncing between the Mac and MobileMe up in the clouds was iffy at best. Some email got lost. Then found. Then lost again.
Once in awhile my iPhone would sync with MobileMe, which, of course prohibits it from syncing with your Mac, should that be necessary when MobileMe decided not to sync with your iPhone. Or your Mac.
Apple’s problems with MobileMe were so severe that the division got re-orged. A reorganization means problems, and MobileMe had become a MobileMess and Apple Head Me, Steve Jobs, doesn’t like such things.
The thing that attracted me to a renewed subscription was ‘Exchange for the rest of us.’ Most Mac users probably have no idea what Exchange is, but the thought of having email, calendar changes, address book all sync nicely between Mac and iPhone and MobileMe was enticing.
Then Apple yanked the ‘Exchange for the rest of us’ and gave us that free month instead. As everyone knows by now, problems persisted so much so that Apple gave everyone and extra two months of MobileMe service. Hopefully, they’ll be two months whereby the service actually works.
After struggling to use MobileMe for the past month or so, I can unequivocally state that MobileMe is not ‘Exchange for the rest of us.’ However, it does sync email, address book and iCal decently between my Macs and my iPhone.
The MobileMe web interface is slick and seems to have fewer bugs each day. It usually takes less than 30 seconds for a change to my iCal or address book to show up on my iPhone or vice versa.
In other words, the sync works pretty well, so long as you pay no attention to the fact that syncing between your Mac or PC and MobileMe up in the clouds doesn’t happen instantly. If at all.
In short, MobileMe is working better than ever, which is saying less than it sounds. I have over six free months to get my fill of MobileMe, though I’m mostly full now.
Did I mention that except for the iPhone sync, MobileMe actually does less than the old .Mac? What you get is Email, Contacts, Calendar, Gallery and iDisk. The Apple web site now conveniently and accurately points out that the sync occurs between Mac and PC and MobileMe in about 15 minutes.
For most of the past two weeks MobileMe has worked flawlessly. Except for email, which never works flawlessly, less so for Apple and .Mac or MobileMe. But the sync between devices seems to work quite well, rather quickly, and Apple’s web interface is so slick it’s like being inside a Mac application. A slow one, but it works.
Even with MobileMe’s highly published problems and deserved bashing, Apple has merely created another little gimmicky service which helps to lock in the user, making mobility to another platform or service more problematic.
It works. Mostly. I am curious, though. What does a yearly subscription to MobileMe, sans all the discounts for crappy service, cost in comparison to a yearly seat to dine at Microsoft’s Exchange buffet?
Is MobileMe for me? Yes, until the subscription runs out.