We have been long time members of the old .Mac service. That service was reborn as MobileMe right around July 11th, the same day the iPhone 3G was delivered. I can understand why Apple needed to update .Mac. I can almost even understand why they had to change the name. Yet, after using MobileMe for a few weeks I'm still not quite sure if I like the change or not.
Why the name change? The only reason that makes marketing sense to me is that over the last 2 years Apple customer demographics has changed. In 2006, the average Apple customer was a Macintosh computer user, most likely working in the creative artsy fartsy industry. Most thought they drank fine wine and / or microbrews and knew who Needham was. These folks felt that computers were tools and like all good tools, they were best for getting specific tasks done which left time for sun tanning and house flipping. They didn't care that their computer had 1000 versions of solitaire. They just wanted their machine to get the job done, easily, quickly and without the silly thing getting in the way.
In 2008, the average Apple customer is a computer user that happens to own some sort of Apple product. This time, the computer may not be an Apple product. This time those customers might have an iPhone, iPod, AppleTV (all 4 of us) and a Windows computer or Linux box (boxes hold higher esteem then computers, plus Apple may have submitted a patent for the box). These non-Apple Computer owners have different needs. Their self image isn't the same as those that bought Apple Computers when most were buying the "grey towers". These folks trade cards, drive Humvees, drink Budweiser (not that foreign Czech stuff either) and they know who Cannonball Baker is.
Apple Marketing took all of this in and in their infinite wisdom decided to drop Dot Mac and replace it with Me! I mean MobileMe. There was much hula ballou about the new service with promises of push email, calendering, addresses, pictures and more. This was even going to push Exchange email - the most popular business email solution on the planet and perhaps in the universe.
But come July 11th, MobileMe was running into some issues that were remarkably like the last product that had the "Me" moniker. Windows ME was supposed to be the answer to home user's problems but it was as useful as Vista has been. Hopefully, the glitches of the past few weeks doesn't portend a Miserable MobileME future.
While a bunch of people have had problems. I mean real problems, like not being able to connect, losing address books, email not being pushed, calendar corruption, I have been relatively lucky. I had a few early glitches. I suspect some were due to going with version 188.8.131.52.0.0 of Mobile Me. If anything cries out "Be nervous!" it is installing a piece of software that says version 184.108.40.206.0.0.0. (disclaimer -- I'm making up those version numbers folks. I did install the first general release and it was quickly followed by an upgrade). I could have at least waited for the first update, but sometimes I'm just too impatient.
My glitches came primarily around syncing of my address book. At one point, my laptop's addressbook went from some 500+ entries down to 4. Now, I might occasionally loose a friend or two but losing over 500 is quite a feat even for me. Luckily, Time Machine had a backup. Restoring the address book was easier then eating a pickled egg.
Within a week or so, everything - calendars, addresses, email, photos galleries were syncing fine between all of my devices. This week (23 July 2008) I've noticed that the MobileMe web site is even adequately responsive.
The downside. With all the goodness of reliable syncing between devices there are a few things I miss. I miss eCards. With Dot Mac, my calendar would remind me that a friends birthday was coming up. It would suggest I send an Apple eCard to make them happy about being able to join AARP. Well, don't expect to get your Birthday card now. MobileMe still tells me it is your birthday but eCards is gone. I suppose I could use Blue Mountain or I could just skip the whole thing and blame it on Apple.
Oh, and if you had Groups before, they are still around. You just need to go here to access them. However, you can't create a new group. I can see some clubs, associations, crime families and others feeling a bit left out. I suppose you can use iWeb to do something similar, but it won't be as easy as with My Groups.
Same goes with the old HomePage. Now granted, iWeb pretty much replaced HomePage over the last 2 years. But, I'm old and set in my ways (though I do use iWeb for some 4 sites or so) and want the ease with which one could set up a site with HomePage. MobileMe doesn't have that feature. So, I am stuck with using iWeb or Joomla or some other content management system.
The most critical bit for me is my email address. Right now it is a mac.com address. How long before Apple tells me I absolutely have to give that up and use mobileme.com? Not only is that address way longer but it sounds so "Me" centric. Apple should have learned about the karmatic dangers of labeling something 'Me'. Could it be that all the recent marketing hires within Apple came from Microsoft and that is why ME has snuck back in?
So, Apple! Give me back Groups. Let me keep my access to HomePage with the ability to generate new HomePages. Don't force me to abandon my long standing mac.com email address! And finally ditch the term 'Me'. Unless you mean 'Maine'. Do you mean Maine? I've been to Maine. I want Maine!
e tutto per oggi!