MobileMe

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MobileMe
File:Mobileme Logo.png
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Initial release January 5, 2000 as iTools
July 17, 2002 as .Mac
July 9, 2008 as MobileMe
Stable release 1.3 / March 11, 2009
Operating system Mac OS X / Microsoft Windows / iPhone OS / Web-based
Type Internet suite
License Subscription
Website MobileMe

MobileMe (formerly .Mac and iTools) is a subscription-based collection of online services and software offered by Apple Inc. Originally launched on January 5, 2000, as iTools, a free collection of Internet-based services for users of Mac OS 9, Apple relaunched it as .Mac on July 17, 2002, when it became a paid subscription service primarily designed for users of Mac OS X. Apple relaunched the service again as MobileMe at WWDC 2008 on July 9, 2008, now targeting Mac OS X, Windows, iPhone, and iPod Touch users.

Apple's Phil Schiller introduced MobileMe as "Microsoft Exchange for the rest of us." All existing .Mac members were migrated to MobileMe automatically.[1] For two weeks after the launch of MobileMe, an estimated 20,000 members were unable to access their e-mail through MobileMe, as Apple eventually acknowledged after widespread press attention.[2]

Contents

Services

iTools and .Mac were designed primarily to provide Internet services for Mac owners. All members of iTools and .Mac received a special @mac.com e-mail address, showing the service's ties to the Mac hardware. However, with the release of the iPhone 3G in 2008, the renamed service, MobileMe, began providing Internet services for Mac OS X, iPhone OS, and Windows. Members of MobileMe are given a @me.com e-mail address and are no longer restricted to Mac OS X software such as Mail and iCal, and they can access personal data from any computer connected to the Internet using the web interface at me.com or a number of supported applications, including Microsoft Outlook as long as the user is using version 2003 or later.

MobileMe does not encrypt network traffic. When accessing the service with a browser, only the login sequence is secure; mail, calendar, and address book access is done in plain-text.[3] iDisk file transfers are always unsecure. The lack of HTTPS can be an issue especially for those who use publicly accessible Wi-Fi spots.

Storage

MobileMe has two different plans. The Individual plan includes 20 GB of storage and 200 GB of monthly data transfer. The Family Pack includes 40 GB of storage split among one 20 GB individual and four 5 GB e-mail plans. Members can buy additional storage in 20 GB or 40 GB allocations, although sub-account storage cannot be upgraded. In a family account, the amount of storage designated per account can be changed by the master account holder.

Mail

MobileMe includes an @me.com e-mail address. Previous .Mac and iTools users also keep their @mac.com address and can use either as both addresses are linked. When a message is received it is sent directly to all the user's devices using Push Mail. Supported devices include the iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple Mail on Mac OS X, and Microsoft Outlook on Windows. Users have an address given to them by default as their user account name and can allocate another @me.com address as an alias for their main address. E-mail domains other than me.com or mac.com are not supported, although it is possible to use auto-forwarding from a 3rd-party e-mail provider to a MobileMe address. MobileMe is compatible with Microsoft Outlook 2003 and later versions.[citation needed]

Notes (from the Mail app on a Mac computer, and the Notes app on the iPhone) are not synced via the MobileMe service and can not be viewed or edited online, though they can be synced between iPhone and computer via a USB connection through iTunes. To Do lists (controlled from the Mail app and the iCal app on a Mac computer) are viewable and editable through the MobileMe web site (under the iCal tab), but are not viewable or editable on an iPhone.

Address Book and Calendar

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 iPhone, Address Book and iCal on Mac OS X, or Microsoft Outlook 2003 or later on Microsoft Windows.

Note that subscription calendars in iCal on a Mac computer are not viewable on the online MobileMe service (although "Birthdays" is viewable online; as it gathers its information from Address Book, rather than CalDAV or iCalendar (.ics) subscription calendars). Conversely, on the iPhone "Birthdays" from Contacts on the iPhone are not viewable on the Calendar app (nor any other method; except looking them up individually in Contacts), but subscription calendars are available to view in Calendar by adding them through Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendar>Add Account[4][5][6].

MobileMe Gallery

MobileMe has a public photo and video gallery feature. Photos and videos can be uploaded in the web browser at me.com, synced by iPhoto or Aperture on Mac OS X or uploaded from the iPhone and iPod Touch. You can also upload from within applications available on the Mac, including iPhoto and iMovie. MobileMe also provides the user with an e-mail address that is used only for uploading photos and videos. All uploads by viewers of the gallery (either by the iPhone or iPod Touch, me.com, or sent by the dedicated e-mail address), will be synced back to iPhoto, Aperture, and iMovie.

iDisk

MobileMe features iDisk, a storage repository accessible via a web browser at me.com, Finder on Mac OS X, various Apps for the iPhone OS, or as a remote disk in Microsoft Windows. It also allows sharing of files by placing them in the iDisk Public Folder, while owners can set passwords to protect them.[7]

iWeb Publish

Users of Mac OS X v10.5 or later can use the iLife 08 or iLife 09 application iWeb to publish websites hosted on their MobileMe account, either to a domain name that they control or to a page on the me.com website. Users without iWeb can also publish websites by placing files to the Web/Sites folder. However, the web host doesn't support any server side language such as PHP.

Web Applications

MobileMe uses Ajax and Dynamic HTML to simulate the look and feel of desktop applications within the user's web browser. Applications on me.com include Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Gallery and iDisk access. Most of the me.com web applications are built on top of the open source SproutCore Javascript framework. Users can also configure features such as e-mail aliases or domain names for the iWeb Publish feature.

Supported browsers for me.com are Safari 3 or later (Mac OS X and Windows) and Firefox 2 or later (Mac OS X and Windows). Internet Explorer 7 or later (Windows) is not fully supported.

MobileMe is accessible from Linux using Firefox 3 despite a warning that will be presented to the user upon entry. Success has also been reported using the Konqueror browser on Linux, however this has not been confirmed by Apple.[8]

iChat/AIM

MobileMe users can connect to the AIM service with their @mac.com or @me.com accounts. MobileMe connections are secured by SSL encryption. In addition, iChat users using a MobileMe account can encrypt their chats with other MobileMe members using iChat. You can also access the MobileMe Chat account on an iPhone or an iPod Touch, using the free or paid-for versions of the AIM application provided by AOL.

PC Synchronization

To sync your MobileMe data with a PC, you must download and install MobileMe Control Panel. To install, the user must first download and install the latest version of iTunes, and then install MobileMe Control Panel. Then the user signs in using their username and password, and then can control sync settings and other various settings.[9]

Integration

Mac OS X

MobileMe, like .Mac and iTools before it, is closely integrated with Mac OS X. Having a MobileMe account extends the functions of many programs, mostly within the iLife suite. Most notably, any iDisk can be mounted as any other volume on the Mac OS X desktop. Furthermore, it is possible to mount the public portion of another user's iDisk. This mechanism was one of the early ways to receive free software as part of .Mac. It is possible to queue files for upload to an offline iDisk, though they are only uploaded when the iDisk is mounted. iDisk commands are located in the "Go" menu of the Finder.

Additionally, any Address Book entries, iCal events and to-do entries, Safari bookmarks and keychains, mail accounts, mail rules, mail signatures, and smart mailboxes can be synched with the iDisk, allowing easy synchronization between multiple computers. iWeb allows users to create web pages that can be uploaded to iDisk and published. iPhoto can be used for one-click web-publishing of photo albums.[10] iCal can be used to publish calendars to the web.[11] Also, Backup software can be used to make backups to iDisk or local media.[citation needed]

With the previous .Mac service, the iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, and iTunes libraries could easily be uploaded to any iDisk (subject to various licensing agreements).

iPhone

MobileMe integrates with various applications on the iPhone and iPod touch. This includes iCal syncing with Calendar, Address Book syncing with Contacts, Mail syncing across devices, Safari Bookmarks syncing across devices. Apple later introduced the iDisk application for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which makes it easier for members to access the contents of their iDisk from their iPhone or iPod touch. There is also another iPhone application, MyGallery, which members can use to access their MobileMe photo gallery.

Public URL subdomains

There are public subdomain access points to each MobileMe members' individual account functions. These provide direct public web access to each MobileMe users account, via links to each function directly; Gallery, Public folder, published website, and published calenders. See list:

  • http://www.me.com – member login.
  • http://gallery.me.com/<username> – member public photo/video Gallery.
  • http://public.me.com/<username> – member Public folder access.
  • http://web.me.com/<username> – member Website access.
  • http://ical.me.com/<username>/<calendar name> – member individual calendar publishing. Many calendars can be published at the same time.

History

iTools

The original collection of Internet software and services now known as MobileMe was first called iTools. Announced and released at Macworld Expo San Francisco on January 5, 2000, iTools was made available free of charge for Macintosh users.

Services offered by iTools included the first availability of @mac.com e-mail addresses, for use through a web-based interface or other applications such as Outlook Express; iCards, a free greeting card service; iReview, a collection of reviews of popular web sites; HomePage, a free web page publishing service; the first version of iDisk, an online data storage system; and KidSafe, a directory of family-friendly web sites.

iTools was primarily a Mac-only offering and provided only limited, discussion board-based technical support. However, some features of iTools were accessible via non-Mac platforms although a Mac was needed to establish an account.

For example, modifying HomePage content was possible using a web browser on Windows or via Linux.

Although the original version of iDisk used AppleShare IP for transport and required Mac OS 9, it was eventually updated to use WebDAV technology and therefore opened up access to non-Mac operating systems. Apple even offered an application for use with Windows XP.[12]

The e-mail service supported POP, IMAP and Webmail access via web browser.

.Mac

As costs rose, most particularly due to iDisk storage space, the wide demand for @mac.com e-mail accounts, and increasing support needs, iTools was renamed .Mac at Macworld Expo New York on July 17, 2002, as a subscription-based suite of services with a dedicated technical support team.[13]

The new .Mac offered several tools to subscribers, including upgraded versions of HomePage, the personal web hosting service; iDisk, the online disk storage service; @mac.com, the e-mail service provider offering both POP and IMAP protocols; and iCards, the online greeting card service. New services offered by .Mac included Backup, a personal backup solution that allows users to archive data to their iDisk, CD or DVD; and McAfee Virex, a virus scanner given to .Mac subscribers until June 15, 2005.

Apple announced on September 17, 2002 that more than 100,000 .Mac users had subscribed to the company’s .Mac suite of Internet services and software since its launch earlier that year.[14] Existing iTools accounts were transitioned to .Mac accounts during a free trial period that ended on September 30, 2002. This move generated a mixed reaction among Mac users, some believing .Mac was overpriced.[15]

.Mac occasionally received new features. In October 2006, Apple launched an update to its .Mac Mail service whose interface was close to that of Mac OS X Mail. The new functionality was built on top of AJAX and provided drag-and-drop, a live-updating three-way split view, and ability to resize panels.[16] Mac OS X v10.5 used .Mac to provide dynamic DNS services for its Back to My Mac feature, a remote desktop service.

On August 7, 2007, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs announced new features for .Mac, including a new Web Gallery feature, similar to Flickr and YouTube combined. Each .Mac account now came with 10 GB of storage space that could be divided between e-mail storage for an @mac.com e-mail address and the user's iDisk. An account preference allowed the user to decide how much storage space to allocate to either service as they see fit. Users who wanted additional storage capacity could buy up to a total of 30 GB for a higher annual fee. The storage space for both e-mail and an iDisk could be used in any way the user wanted, subject to the terms of the .Mac license agreement).

.Mac was also offered in a boxed version, available at stores and online (as a physical product). The box contained an activation code that was entered when registering or renewing a subscription.

MobileMe

Initial speculation about a new service to replace .Mac came in early June 2008, when Apple bought the me.com domain name.[17] At WWDC on June 9, 2008, Apple announced that .Mac would be replaced by MobileMe. This was launched on July 9, 2008: mac.com was taken offline from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. that day, and the MobileMe service went live between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. (both Pacific Time).[18] MobileMe was taken offline a short time later, leaving customers redirected to the MobileMe information page,[19] where there was no option to log in. After several hours of infrequent service, MobileMe officially went live during July 11, 2008.[20]

Several .Mac features were removed after the transition to MobileMe. Support for Mac OS X v10.3 has been discontinued, as well as other features such as iCards, web-access to bookmarks and .Mac slides.[21]

The launch of MobileMe was plagued by many issues. MobileMe, as a .Mac successor, was initially criticized during its launch for being unstable[22] and for having syncing problems.[23] There were reports of users being unable to access any of the Mail functions of MobileMe. This was suspected to be related to the .Mac to MobileMe switch-over.[24] The free trial of MobileMe inadvertently charged some Australian and European customers’ credit cards, leading Apple to issue refunds and extend the free trial to four months.[25][26] Because of the problems with switching over .Mac accounts and other issues, Apple created a status news page and revamped their support page.[27]

Initial versions of the Windows MobileMe control panel allowed synchronization of corporate Outlook accounts with MobileMe. A mid-2008 update to the control panel removed the ability to synchronize Outlook to MobileMe when Outlook is using Microsoft Exchange Server Calendars and Contacts.[citation needed] According to Apple Support, this is by design and is not a bug that will be fixed.[citation needed] There is no support for synchronizing even standalone Outlook Tasks and Notes to MobileMe.

In an internal e-mail sent to Apple employees on August 4, 2008, Steve Jobs admitted that MobileMe was launched too hurriedly and “not up to Apple’s standards”. He wrote that “it was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store”.[28] On August 18, 2008, it was announced that MobileMe subscribers would be offered a 60-day extension in addition to the one-month extension previously offered.[29]

References

  1. Apple.com (2008-06-10). "Apple Introduces MobileMe Internet Service". Press release. http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2008/06/09mobileme.html. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  2. "After a Decade of Secrecy, Apple Reluctantly Tries Out Transparency". http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/10/apple-openness.html. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  3. Brunel, Fred Is MobileMe Secure?. Retrieved 13 July, 2008
  4. Copying Calendar subscriptions from iCal to your iPhone or iPod touch, Apple Knowledge Base article HT3634, dated 03 August 2009
  5. [MobileMe: Syncing calendar subscriptions and CalDAV calendars], Apple Knowledge Base article TS1213, dated 17 June 2009.
  6. iPhone User Guide pdf, page 93 "Subscribing to Calendars", dated 10 July 2009.
  7. Using your iDisk to share files Apple.com. Retrieved July 22, 2008. The iDisk can be used as a hosting server for your MobileMe website. Backups from Backup can be stored onto your iDisk, making it easier backing up settings and more.
  8. Chavda, Pranav. "Howto: Apple's MobileMe on Linux". http://www.pranavchavda.com/2008/07/howto-apples-mobileme-on-linux/. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  9. "Apple - MobileMe also works great with your PC.". http://www.apple.com/mobileme/features/pc.html. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 
  10. .Mac Support, Article dated December 19, 2007
  11. Sharing Your Calendar
  12. iDisk Utility
  13. .Mac announcement
  14. .Mac users
  15. "Net surfers are getting the message: Pay up." Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter, August 13, 2002
  16. .Mac mail
  17. "Apple to target the self-involved". DoesWhat. http://www.doeswhat.com/2008/06/03/apple-to-target-the-self-involved/. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  18. Apple .Mac Support, Apple Inc.. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
  19. MobileMe information page.
  20. MobileMe appears to be up and running, TUAW. Retrieved July 12, 2008.
  21. McNulty, Scott (2008-06-09). "What isn't making the cut from .Mac to MobileMe". The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Weblogs, Inc.. http://www.tuaw.com/2008/06/09/what-isnt-making-the-cut-from-mac-to-mobileme/. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  22. Mann, Merlin MobileMe: .Mac's iPhone-Friendly Replacement, 43 Folders. Retrieved June 9, 2008.
  23. Mossberg, Walt Apple’s MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable, The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 23, 2008.
  24. MobileMe users seethe over four-day e-mail outage MacWorld.co.uk, Retrieved July 22, 2008.
  25. Palmer, Robert (2008-06-22). "Apple adds another month free for some MobileMe trials". The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Weblogs, Inc.. http://www.tuaw.com/2008/07/22/apple-adds-another-month-free-for-uk-mobileme-trials/. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  26. Moses, Asher. "Apple's MobileMe meltdown". http://www.smh.com.au/news/biztech/apples-mobileme-meltdown/2008/07/22/1216492418014.html. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  27. Status news page; support page.
  28. Steve Jobs on MobileMe: the full e-mail, ars technica. Retrieved August 5, 2008
  29. Apple offers MobileMe users a second extension, Computer World. Retrieved August 19, 2008.

External links

de:MobileMe

es:MobileMe fr:MobileMe it:MobileMe ja:MobileMe no:MobileMe pl:MobileMe ru:MobileMe sl:MobileMe sv:Mobileme zh:MobileMe

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