Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MobleMe Continues to Disappoint

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been an iTools/.Mac/MobileMe user since it was a free service. It has taken me, I guess, 8 years to come to the conclusion that it no longer meets my needs, therefore, it no longer justifies $110/yr.

Some of you reading this will undoubtedly disagree finding MobileMe meets your needs and then some. That is great and I'm glad it works for you. For me the cost is a too high considering the free services out there. But I totally understand the ad-free MobileMe service, I really do. If it were free, of course I'd keep it, but I'd still be critiquing the offerings in light of my needs all the while gazing over at the Google side of the fence.

So I write this a bit surprised at myself. It is almost like an awakening from a strange RDF-induced dream I've been in for so long. Gosh it feels weird to write that.

The conclusion I've arrived at (as of today - gotta leave myself a way out in case the RDF returns) is that the service Apple provides is not really geared toward users like me any more. As I read over the weekend (can't recall where), MobileMe is geared for (best taken advantage of by) the iPhone generation more than the non-iPhone set.

Not that we non-iPhoners can't use it, don't get me wrong. But for me it boils down to functionality, customization, and flexibility. I want it to be more like Google Apps, which I suppose is why I'm moving that direction.

I've mostly loved Apple's no nonsense, K.I.S.S. approach to hardware and software as opposed to Microsoft/et al's "how much useless stuff can we fill this PC with" approach. And for so long I've lumped Google into that latter category - until now.

When people extol Google's Gmail, Calendar, etc., I used to yawn and turn away (except for Picasa - hurry on that OS X version guys). No more. It is really weird - having been a Mail user since the beginning, even bringing Gmail down via POP access - how much Gmail's online methodology has grown on me. It has become more intuitive, even addicting.

Over the weekend, and today, I put MobileMe thru the paces, you know, giving it a chance. And yeah, I did say Apple may work out kinks in the coming weeks so I'd give it more time (and I will as I've got 90 days left before renewal). But even as MobileMe has sped up a bit, I still find it *way* to slow. And I find the lack of customization leaving me indifferent to the service as a whole. MobileMe Calendar, IMHO, is a complete waste of time. Just doesn't work for me or my workflow.

IMHO, MobileMe is polished on the outside, but lacking in "meatiness" on the inside. As Clara Peller said, "Where's the beef?" This is one instance where I wish Apple put a lot more stuff into a product beside looks.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, I do not plan to renew our membership with MobileMe. My wife and I already use Google Calendar, and have all our .Mac/MobileMe mail filtering through our Gmail addresses. A long relationship, custom .Mac/ email addresses - all things I've loved about Apple's iTools and .Mac, seem to no longer hold sway over me. And it feels weirdly liberating.


Anonymous said...

I disagree. While the email is meh (I own my own domain names and use 1and1 for my email server needs) I think the calendar function is great.

But for me, the real use comes from the ease of setting up iWeb pages and Gallery pages. The whole iPhoto/iWeb/Gallery/iTV combo is awesome for a parent of 2 with family who demand current photos of the kids.

I can take pics, download them to my Mac, upload them to my Gallery, and send out an announcement in a matter of minutes.

Throw in the ability to update said Gallery directly from my iPhone camera, and you have a pretty powerful picture sharing system for less than $10 a month.

Of course, it you JUST use the email/calendar features, Google is just fine. But I depend on the photo features.

Also, being able to keep my work mac sync'd with my home macs, my iPhone, and my wife's iPhone helps us stay on top of our social engagements and varying work schedule.

I don't think MobileMe disappoints at all. In fact, considering the whole complement of services, it's a steal.

Darren Mahaffy said...

I can take pics, download them to my Mac, upload them to my Gallery, and send out an announcement in a matter of minutes.

Equally true of Picasa Web Albums. So not that much of a difference here.

iWeb is great for those who use it. I found it cumbersome, but elegant.

Of course, it you JUST use the email/calendar features, Google is just fine. But I depend on the photo features.

I don't use it for just those things. I also use the photo features which agreed, are not as elegant, but are perfectly functional with upload from iPhoto.

Not being an iPhone user, the service holds less and less appeal each day. And I'm not alone in this.

As I said in my article, the service is fine for some, and for that I say great. At this time, MobileMe does not meet my needs. Calendaring has yet to come of age. It is simply not a multi-user solution. Sharing yes, editing no.

So based on my reasons, MobileMe disappoints, only exception being iDisk via the web interface which is strangely faster than the local interface. But for $99/yr for iDisk? Hard to justify for me.

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