The release of iOS 4.2.1 is imminent, and the surprise is that with it comes the first free Mobile Me feature. Find My iPhone is now available to all iOS users without paying a Mobile Me annual subscription, and is easily set up from an iPhone/iPad/iPod using an existing or new iTunes account. Here’s a quick walk through of the steps using an iPad. Read more…
The biggest story this morning is the 60 day extension of Mobileme accounts. Apple sent an email last night to subscribers informing them of the free extension:
We have already made many improvements to MobileMe, but we still have many more to make. To recognize our users’ patience, we are giving every MobileMe subscriber as of today a free 60 day extension. This is in addition to the one month extension most subscribers have already received. We are working very hard to make MobileMe a great service we can all be proud of. We know that MobileMe’s launch has not been our finest hour, and we truly appreciate your patience as we turn this around. Read this article for more details.
I had a look at the article, and it appears everyone with an account is eligible, even those with free trial account. If I’m adding the extensions up right, that means a UK customer on a 60 day trial who was incorrectly billed will get six months for free before paying. If only service did everything that was initially promised, reliably, that would be a pretty good freebie.
Apple’s much publicised problems with it’s new MobileMe service appear to be settling down, and today MacRumors has calculated the service’s availability at 96% in the past two weeks. That’s still not as good as many expect, and at 13½ hours lost customer satisfaction would depend on when in the day those hours fell. Steve Jobs himself has been widely reported as admitting MobileMe should not have been launched at the same time as the iPhone 3G, Firmware 2 and App store. Read more…
…..but not for me. As blogged yesterday, MobileMe is now off my computers, and I’m back to syncing my iTouch through iTunes. Calendars are once again as they should be, even if the calendar colours don’t match (a small price to pay for actually having them on your mobile device). I’m currently testing an alternative for keeping contacts and calendars in sync, so more to follow if it works out.
Removing MobileMe wasn’t difficult, the first step was to sign out in System Preferences on the Macs and delete the account from the iTouch. Getting the correct calendars back on the iTouch was slightly more involved. All the calendars were deleted from iCal, and this was synced to the iTouch. Then the backup was restored to iCal and the data was synced again.
Getting the Macbook back in sync was simply a case of restoring the iCal data that the hackintosh had backed up. It looks like the calendar issues I suffered are a bit more widespread than I realised. TUAW have an article detailing how to back up Address Book and iCal data, and at Macfixit there’s some suggestions that may help with the synchronisation issues.
Since this is a commercial product (and I pity anyone who payed up rather than trying the 60 day trial) is this level of problems acceptable? Maybe Apple should do the right thing for it’s users, refund their money and put the MobileMe service back into Beta where it belongs.
If you have read the previous two parts of this series you will notice the title had changed from ‘MobileMe 60 day trial’ to ‘MobileMe 90 day trial’. I now have an extra 30 days of trial as an apology from Apple for the initial problems the MobileMe service experienced. If my current experiences of the service are an indication of its quality Apple will need to give me the next year for free.
My initial problem was with deleting a calendar. In version 1 of the iTouch firmware there was no option to add a new event to a specific calendar. I had created an ‘iPod Touch’ calendar so I could move events from this to the correct destination on the Mac after syncing. Firmware 2 now supports adding an event to a chosen calendar so I don’t need the ‘iPod Touch’ calendar. It was deleted from iCal on the hackintosh, but stayed on the iTouch. No amount of syncing would remove it. Next step was to log into the me.com web service and delete it there. Still no change after that, it’s on the iTouch but nowhere else in the cloud. Not a big problem but a bug that needs to be addressed.
Last night I fired up the Macbook to check some emails, and opened iCal to add a new event. Three of my calendars had vanished, and one was duplicated. Read more…
It’s always nice when companies have the decency to say sorry, especially when it’s your money involved. Apple has sent an email to mobileme subscribers apologising for the problems the service experienced in its first few days, and offering an extra 30 days of service for free. They also admitted the Mac and PC part of the Mobile me service shouldn’t be described as ‘push’ until it’s as fast as the cloud and iDevice part of the service. There’s a support article at the Apple site detailing who is eligible for the extension, which even covers those signed up to the 60 day trial. Icanhaz30daysforfree? Almost as good as cheezburger.
Part 1 detailed the initial setup of a MobileMe 60 day trial, and the issues I encountered with logging into the web account. The update at the end of part 1 explained that syncing had become more consistent with contacts, calendar items and bookmarks syncing across my hackintosh, macbook and iTouch. The problem with speed delays has now been explained, with several sites detailing Apple support document TS1155, ‘MobileMe Push: About automatic syncing’. From the article:
Selecting Automatic in Mac OS X allows your computer to immediately sync and update when there are any changes on the MobileMe servers. Those changes can come from your iPhone, iPod touch, the MobileMe website, or another computer. Changes made on your computer will be synced to the MobileMe “cloud” once every 15 minutes (or every hour in Mac OS X 10.4.11). Read more…
MobileMe offers many useful features for anyone with more than one computing device, and since I am using a hackintosh, macbook and iTouch it could solve all my synchronisation needs. A sixty day trial is available just like the now obsolete .Mac service. I signed up to see how well it would work, specifically with my non-apple hardware. Read more…
The last major announcement of the WWDC was the new MobileMe service, replacing .Mac from July. Offering a web interface to mail, calendars and contacts with a familiar Mac app appearance, the impressive thing about this is the ability to synchronise or push information across iPhone, iPod, Mac (ical, mail, address book) and Windows Outlook. Syncing of photo’s is also supported, and Apple describes this as ‘Exchange for the rest of us’. Storage of 20Gb is included. Priced at $99 a year it looks like a much better service than .Mac, and should do much to revive Apple’s flagging web service. More information here.