MobileMe (formerly known as .Mac and iTools) is a subscription-based collection of online services and software offered by the 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, iPad, and iPod touch users.
Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced MobileMe as “Exchange for the rest of the world”. All existing .Mac members were migrated to MobileMe automatically.
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, iOS, 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.
Features of MobilMe
Find My iPhone:
MobileMe allows users to track the location of their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad via the web portal at me.com. A user can see the device’s approximate location on a map (along with a circle showing the radius of inaccuracy), display a message, and/or play a sound on the device (even if it is set to silent), change the password on the device, and remotely erase its contents.
MobileMe has two different plans. The Individual plan includes 20 GB of email and file 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 sub-accounts, each sub-account having its own email address, online storage and ability to use all the MobileMe features. 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 is designated per account.
Notes (from the Mail app on a Mac computer and the Notes app on the iPhone) are synced via the MobileMe service, however it cannot be viewed or edited online]. 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 Calendar tab), but are not viewable or editable on an iPhone. With the announcement of iOS 4, the sync for Notes over IMAP (including MobileMe) was implemented.
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.
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.
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. Users can also upload movies 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 or Aperture.
MobileMe features iDisk, an online storage repository accessible via a web browser at me.com, Finder on Mac OS X, various Apps for the iOS, or as a remote disk in Microsoft Windows. It also allows sharing of files by selecting a given file using me.com/idisk or the iDisk iPhone app, and then clicking a Share button that will generate a unique link to this file, protected by password, that can be then shared by email. Another way to use iDisk to share several files easily is by placing them in the iDisk Public Folder, which can also be password protected.
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 in iDisk. However, the web host doesn’t support any server side language such as PHP.
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.
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.
Users who wish to sync their MobileMe data with a PC 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 (for contacts, calendars and bookmarks) and other various settings like iDisk.
MobileMe Mail Beta:
MobileMe Mail Beta was released on May 13, 2010. MobileMe Mail Beta includes many new features such as photo inserting, font changing, wide screen views and much more. MobileMe Mail Beta is not currently available to all MobileMe Customers at this time. MobileMe Mail Beta can only be accessed by invitations since the project is not yet complete, invitations can be received if the user click the request invitation button on the bottom left of the Mail Interface. There is no current date of when MobileMe Mail Beta will be fully completed.