Rumors of new, free MobileMe service from Apple gain steam

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Apple could introduce a complete revamp of its MobileMe internet service as early as next month that would be completely free for customers of the company's hardware devices, marking a departure and depreciation of the existing service which retails for $99 per year.



Citing a "trusted" source employed by a major educational institution, iLounge claims "the school?s supplier has said the current version of MobileMe is no longer available, and that Apple is suggesting new students sign up for the 60-day trial to cover the gap between the final MobileMe shipment and the launch of the new version."



Indeed, Apple in late February removed the $99 MobileMe product from its online store and notified resellers that it had discontinued the retail box SKU for the cloud-based syncing service, suggesting the company was prepared to launch a rumored overhaul of the service.



According to the latest report, Apple will reportedly support subscribers of the existing version of MobileMe for the next year, suggesting that the new version will be quite different from the current offering. It's therefore speculated that the extra year of support would likely cover those customers who recently paid for a full year of MobileMe, prior to Apple removing any method through which a user could pay for the service.



For weeks, there have been persistent rumors that Apple is in the process of revamping MobileMe, with the Wall Street Journal reporting last month that iPhone maker plans to turn MobileMe into a free service that would serve as a digital "locker" where users could store photos, music and videos.



That report was tied to claims that Apple would release a smaller, cheaper phone this summer, bundled with the new MobileMe services. It cited a person who claimed to have seen a prototype device late last fall, describing it as "about half the size of iPhone 4." The new model, harmonizing with a recent report by Bloomberg, was said to be aimed at delivering a low cost phone that costs "about half the price" of today's iPhone 4.



The smaller iPhone was said to be priced cheap enough to be offered by carriers for free with a smaller subsidy, or in the ballpark of $300 unlocked. Rather than being a dumbed down "feature phone," the smaller iPhone was said to simply be "significantly lighter," with a smaller edge-to-edge touch screen.



However, sources for the The New York Times quickly refuted the claim that Apple was developing a smaller handset, saying that the company has instead been looking into a cheaper version of the device that would appear roughly the same size.



The Times cited a senior Apple executive who said during a private meeting that making multiple iPhone models wouldn't make sense for the company, though the executive did note that the iPhone maker will continue its practice of offering older models at a discounted price.



The Times' report did, however, corroborate details from prior reports regarding enhanced MobileMe services and improved "voice navigation." It said that Apple is indeed building a "more versatile" free version of MobileMe that would allow users to sync files without using a cable.



?The goal is that your photos and other media content will eventually just sync across all your Apple devices without people having to do anything,? the person said.



Adding to those claims was yet another report from the well-sourced Jim Dalrymple at The Loop, who said he believes Apple's new MobileMe will allow cloud syncing and sharing of content, but the actual storage will be hosted on individual users' computers. That runs contrary to the reports which have speculated that Apple will host the files on its own servers -- an approach that he called "a bit much."



"Instead of trying to provide everyone with cloud storage, I believe Apple will use MobileMe as the brain of the cloud service," he said. "The actual storage will be on our individual machines. In effect, in the cloud."



He said the system would allow for every song in a user's library to be listed on an iPhone, though only some of them would be saved locally and others would be downloaded from a user's home PC or Mac via iTunes. A similar approach was detailed in a patent application uncovered last month by AppleInsider, which described seamlessly merging cloud content with locally stored files into one library.



"I also believe that MobileMe will be more than about media," Dalrymple said. "You will also be able to share and sync files and documents in much the same way. If there is a document on your home system that you need, it will always be available to you. Tap on it, and it downloads to your iPhone or iPad."



He also suggested that the service would sync contacts, calendars and other data, and would be compatible with Macs, the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Windows PCs.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 102
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Say it enough times and you'll obviously be right.



    Just like the Verizon iPhone!



    No, I want this just as much as everyone else; have at it.
  • Reply 2 of 102
    nkalunkalu Posts: 315member
    It's about time Apple devotees are rewarded.
  • Reply 3 of 102
    cubertcubert Posts: 728member
    I think the new MobileMe will also serve as sort of your own webpage/blog/Facebook page - but updated live and on demand.
  • Reply 4 of 102
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Sounds like it will only hold file metadata in the cloud. Maybe all your devices upload their Spotlight indexes? They already have Back To My Mac where all your Macs register their IP addresses with MobileMe so their services can be found, so maybe this is part of the puzzle.



    Anyway I actually have 4 years of email saved on MobileMe, so if they are cancelled the email service (which sounds possible) then I hope they provide a tool to archive those off somewhere.
  • Reply 5 of 102
    I just got automatically renewed for another year of MobileMe \



    I had it when it was free as iTools. Hen paid for as .Mac. And kept it when it became MobileMe.



    I hope I get some sort of refund or something if they do make it free
  • Reply 6 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    I think the new MobileMe will also serve as sort of your own webpage/blog/Facebook page - but updated live and on demand.



    It would be nice if I could set it up to post a feed for all my twitter/facebook/social networking stuff. That'd be pretty sweet!
  • Reply 7 of 102
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    i can see a home server, or timecapsule integration, with media files accessible

    if my macbook is asleep sometimes apple tv doesn't "see" it, and i have to wake it up

    that has to be dealt with

    also, that service of using my own macs as storage, helps with ownership, streaming and "fair use" for my media, but why does apple need gazillion feet of server farm space

    if apple became an mvno, they could offer many neat services and control the ballgame for less expensive entree to mobile world

    i think its bigger than above and more intergrated, more service integration also further pushes competitors away, no vendor but apple will have the services



    so all those xoom, playbook etc will be toast, apple is thinking really big i think really big

    we will be awesomly (?real word) surprised. we can't seem to put the pieces together it will be big, inclusive, integrated solutions for many things that are a hassle right now.
  • Reply 8 of 102
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member
    It's about time.

    I've felt like an idiot paying $99 for the last few years just to get the syncing capability. It should have be much cheaper all along. I do wish they'd do more for us long loyal customers though.
  • Reply 9 of 102
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Could Apple be thinking of merging Ping with MobileMe and iWork web apps? Sort of a combination of Facebook and Google? Facebook has messaging, contacts, and calendars, but the are relatively weak version of those functions. Google has all of that plus their online apps and Picasa photo sharing. There are already a plethora of tools for syncing between computers and mobile devices to Facebook and Google services. Apple could replace all of that functionality under the MobileMe brand and support it with their iAds, just like Facebook and Google support their servcies with ad revenue.
  • Reply 10 of 102
    gfeiergfeier Posts: 127member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LandMineHare View Post


    I just got automatically renewed for another year of MobileMe \



    I had it when it was free as iTools. Hen paid for as .Mac. And kept it when it became MobileMe.



    I hope I get some sort of refund or something if they do make it free



    Ditto, I'm due to renew early next month.
  • Reply 11 of 102
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post


    It's about time.

    I've felt like an idiot paying $99 for the last few years just to get the syncing capability. It should have be much cheaper all along.



    It was. $73.99 at Amazon currently (and it has been cheaper there as well) with free shipping.



    -kpluck
  • Reply 12 of 102
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LandMineHare View Post


    I just got automatically renewed for another year of MobileMe \



    I had it when it was free as iTools. Hen paid for as .Mac. And kept it when it became MobileMe.



    I hope I get some sort of refund or something if they do make it free



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by The Article


    According to the latest report, Apple will reportedly support subscribers of the existing version of MobileMe for the next year, suggesting that the new version will be quite different from the current offering. It's therefore speculated that the extra year of support would likely cover those customers who recently paid for a full year of MobileMe, prior to Apple removing any method through which a user could pay for the service.



    \\\\\\



    Reading?
  • Reply 13 of 102
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    If the service is going to be free then why are students having to sign up for a 60-day trial?
  • Reply 14 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post


    so all those xoom, playbook etc will be toast, apple is thinking really big i think really big

    we will be awesomly (?real word) surprised. we can't seem to put the pieces together it will be big, inclusive, integrated solutions for many things that are a hassle right now.



    No, Apple is playing catch-up... the Xoom and any future Honeycomb tablets already have free cloud sync and restore capability, combined with gmail provides essentially the same solution.
  • Reply 15 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LandMineHare View Post


    I just got automatically renewed for another year of MobileMe \



    I had it when it was free as iTools. Hen paid for as .Mac. And kept it when it became MobileMe.



    I hope I get some sort of refund or something if they do make it free



    So far I never regretted to have paid for this service. If it's free in future all the better.



    I hope though that they have like entry accounts for free but premium accounts with faster download and upload speeds and of course more GB storage. I guess many of us would be willing to pay a couple of $ for a surplus on speed and space.
  • Reply 16 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    If the service is going to be free then why are students having to sign up for a 60-day trial?



    Because the actual "Free" service hasn't been announced/rolled-out yet.
  • Reply 17 of 102
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,613member
    It would tie all Apple devices together, mobile and non-mobile, via the cloud? This would light a fire under Mac Sales. Buy, buy, buy! (AAPL, that is.)
  • Reply 18 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gaygeek View Post


    No, Apple is playing catch-up... the Xoom and any future Honeycomb tablets already have free cloud sync and restore capability, combined with gmail provides essentially the same solution.



    Is this why Xoom is such a mind blowing success, and everybody stands in lines of hundreds to get one.
  • Reply 19 of 102
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nkalu View Post


    It's about time Apple devotees are rewarded.



    Apple devotees? Rewarded? you've bought Apple's products because you choose to, not because you were doing them a favour. You owe them nothing and they owe you nothing. It's a business transaction, nothing more. If MM is made free it's because they feel they can leverage the service to obtain and/or maintain HW purchasing customers, not to reward you for being so devoted.
  • Reply 20 of 102
    nkalunkalu Posts: 315member
    It would really be nice of Apple to do so. Whether they make it the same as the current offering or slightly different, it will definitely a nice platform. I will be happy for it.
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