Apple & MobileMe

Apple clearly bit off more than they could chew with releasing the iPhone 3G and MobileMe at the same time.  Steve Jobs said so himself in an internal email that found it’s way to the public view.  I agree they should have waited on releasing MobileMe.  Now they’re having problems on both platforms, which is creating bad press.

I worry about Apple’s future.  I’m very happy people are switching over to the Mac platform, but is Apple really ready for that substantial increase in their customer base?  The thing I’m worried about most is the way they handle problems.  There’s usually very little or no acknowledgment that there actually IS a problem until several days or weeks AFTER the fact.  Then once they DO acknowledge it, they won’t tell you what went wrong, or what they’re doing to prevent it from happening again.  Their way of communicating the problem is, in this Mac user’s opinion, borderline patronizing.  For some reason, they seem to get away with it.  Hopefully with the bad press it’s getting, that’ll change.  People want to, and deserve to, be informed.  Google had a Gmail outage, and communicated to it’s users very timely and in detail.  That’s good service.
I bring this up because lately I’ve been seriously contemplating moving from Google to MobileMe for myself and my wife.  I have a trial account that I signed up for ~5 days prior to the MobileMe launch.  Thanks to the problem’s MobileMe’s been having, that account won’t expire until the end of November.  :)  That’ll give me plenty of time to test MobileMe and make a decision.  However, things are leaning mostly in Google’s favor.  Here’s why:
  1. MobileMe’s web interface only uses SSL when you log in or go to your account settings.  Why??  Is it too much trouble to encrypt the entire session, especially since the service is paid for??  Google does this for Gmail, and it’s free!!  You can also use just about all of Google’s other services in secure mode just by adding an s to the http.
  2. I can’t choose which calendars get sync’d.  MobileMe assumes I want them all sync’d, but I don’t.  I have a few calendars that I use to schedule backup jobs at work.  I don’t need those following me around.  It’s annoying when they do.  With Google Calendar, I have to manually set up CalDAV, but at least that way I can control what “follows me around”.
  3. The email address itself.  Do I want to use @gmail.com or @me.com?  Who’s the idiot that thought up @me.com??  I’d prefer @mac.com to @me.com anyday.  I hand out my email address a lot, and I cringe when I think of the confusion that most likely will follow with an @me.com address.  ”My email is [email protected]”… “Ok, so it’s [email protected]?”… “No, it’s [email protected]”… “That’s what I said, [email protected]!”.   *sigh*.  I know I still have @mac.com, but I don’t know what Apple plans on doing with that name in the long run, or whether or not they make it available with newer accounts created after DotMac was taken offline. [email protected] is easier to understand, and more people know it.
  4. It’s $150 a year!  Google is free!!  Yeah, I know I can get the family pack from Amazon for $109, but still.
On the plus side, reasons I like MobileMe:
  1. It’s more of an all-in-one solution that integrates seamlessly with Apple computers.  My wife has been telling me for a while she wishes she could use iPhoto and iWeb to host pictures online.  Yeah, there’s PicasaWeb, and it works well with iPhoto, but that leaves iWeb…
  2. iDisk is nice, and the storage space you get is ample (20GB).  Yeah, there’s gDisk and other “hacks” for using your Google storage space other than it was intended.  I’d rather not risk having my account shut down for violating the usage agreement.
  3. Wow, I thought I’d have at least 3 reasons, but I guess I don’t.  Hmm…
As you can see,  Google has the upper hand, and most likely my services will remain with them.  I can only hope that Apple does something to MobileMe that’ll convince me to change my mind.  Knowing Apple, that probably won’t happen.

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