Me and Mobile Me

Apple's response to the Cloud, Mobile Me allows users to maintain an online address book that synchonises with the address book on their Mac, and also on their iPhone, iTouch and any other mobile device. Changes to one version are 'pushed' to the linked instances elsewhere. The same applies to the Calendar application. Enter the details of your mail server, and Mobile Me also functions as a webmail portal. Users are also encouraged to upload images into an album application, and a user-nominated portion of the 20Gb standard allocation is available as an online hard disk. As per Apple's usual modus operandi, the interface is simple, clean and allows only limited customisation.

After a couple of days use, my initial reactions are as follows: I love the address book feature, which works as advertised. The calendar feature is fine, but not as good as Google Calendar. More research is needed to see if it is possible to synch Google Calendar with MobileMe. The mail service is easy to set up, but has a huge flaw, for my setup at least. Each time it pings the mail server, MobileMe downloads everything on it, even if the same emails have already been downloaded. Ping several times, and you will get several copies of the same email. Given my office Mac will download the emails later, I don't want to set the server to delete an email if downloaded by MobileMe. Surely MobileMe should be able to recognise an email it has already downloaded. My web-based mail browser certainly has no such problem.

The disk space supplied by Apple is useful, but in a world of cheap and sometimes free online storage, AUD$119 is not overwhelmingly great. In summary, the service is good, but not revolutionary. It didn't wow me the way DropBox or Google Earth did, but perhaps further enhancements are on the way, and MobileMe will go on to a more fully featured future. If not, my ardent hope is that Google somehow ties all of its online services together into a single integrated service -- the cloud on steroids.