MobileMe: Making the Move to iCloud

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the company’s new iCloud service during his World Wide Developers Conference keynote presentation on Monday. iCloud will be replacing MobileMe, and Apple is offering some details on how current subscribers will make the transition to the new service.

MobileMe moving to iCloud

The MobileMe service costs US$99 a year, but iCloud will be free and will launch at the same time that iOS 5 ships this fall. MobileMe subscriptions have all been extended through June 30, 2012, at no extra cost so users will have several months to transition into iCloud.

Customers that purchased MobileMe activation codes but never used them can request a refund from Apple. MobileMe boxes purchased from Apple retail stores can be returned for a refund, too.

MobileMe users can migrate their calendar, contacts, bookmarks and MobileMe email to iCloud. Apple conspicuously failed to mention iDisk and Web Galleries in its transition plan, which is a fairly good indicator that those features won’t be supported in iCloud. iCloud will, however, include a new Photo Stream feature that wirelessly uploads photos from the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch Camera Roll for viewing in iPhoto or on Apple TV.

iCloud will also include 5GB of online storage for syncing files between Macs and iOS devices, and users can purchase additional storage space. Photo Stream images and iTunes in the Cloud music doesn’t count towards the 5GB data cap.

iTunes in the Cloud mirrors iTunes Store purchases online so users can copy songs to up to ten Macs, PCs and iOS devices. Apple will also offer a new iTunes Match service for $24.99 a year to mirror music ripped from CDs, assuming the tracks are also available through the iTunes Store.

iTunes in the Cloud is available now for iOS 4.3 users, along with support for managing all App Store purchases and downloads from the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Once MobileMe subscribers transition into iCloud, they’ll be able to share calendars, and perform daily iOS device backups over Wi-Fi connections, too.

Apple hasn’t narrowed down the official iCloud launch beyond “this fall,” which means it could roll out as late as December. What seems more likely, however, is a September launch window since that also coincides with the back to school season and the company’s typical iPod refresh cycle.

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Comments

Mike Weasner

As one of the thousands (hundreds of thousands, millions?) of people who use iDisk, Galleries, and MobileMe web hosting with my 20 GB of MobileMe storage, the lack of information about these services is troubling.  I could assume those will continue at some charge, or Apple could drop us.  Photo Stream is certainly NOT a replacement for those services; neither is Twitter or Facebook.  Apple dropped Homepage Dot Mac hosting, although the latest version of Aperture still publishes to homepage.mac.com.  Hopefully Apple won’t forget about the traditional “Web” for the “rest of us”.

dlstarr7

I agree with Mike. 

My Gallery not only is a main part of my business website, it’s also been the recorded picture history of my two year old to share with family.  And I host my business site on my iDisk… This could mean big, unwelcome changes for me.

macnurse

I just paid for a family membership at the end of April.  So I can remain behind with syncing nightmares and no support while everyone goes tripping off to ICloud for free in July?  Not good for your loyal customers Apple.  $149 is a petty theft I won’t forget.  Oh, BTW, thanks so much for the clarity and the “free” five week extension of my subscription!

MOSiX Man

@ Mac & dlstarr7 - While I do agree that it kinda’ sucks, I think that iDisk, Galleries, and Mobile Me are, indeed, going away. However, I believe that the key reason Apple is leaving Mobile Me standing until June of 2012 is so that users can find, and migrate to, alternate services. As many critics of Mobile Me have often said, there is nothing that Mobile Me offered that couldn’t be found elsewhere - and that there were even free alternatives available, although they are not necessarily integrated as Mobile Me is/was.

JonGl

As many critics of Mobile Me have often said, there is nothing that Mobile Me offered that couldn?t be found elsewhere - and that there were even free alternatives available, although they are not necessarily integrated as Mobile Me is/was.

Not only not as integrated, but also not so brain-dead simple, and wonderfully maintenance-free to keep up. Not only that, but what about those of us who have had their pages since the very beginning (back when it was called iTools!), and for whom people have become accustomed to our web pages being where they are, and acting as they are? How about those who have blogs with tons of content, including comments, etc. which cannot be migrate anywhere at any price? It’s easy for those who have nothing invested in MobileMe’s more esoteric services to say “tough beans”, but some of us are really wondering what to do.

But furthermore, here’s something to stick in your cap… If Apple finds it so easy to simply dump this stuff and move on, what’s to say they won’t do the same with iCloud if it doesn’t turn out like they want? I am having serious doubts if I want to trust Apple with my data in their cloud… Can you say I don’t have any rationale for these doubts? No. Apple have really stuck their foot in it, and they need to clean up their own mess, and not expect their once-loyal customers to do it for them… I fear, though, that their attitude is simple—we’ll do it because we have to and there’s nothing we can do about it… That’s not the sort of company I am really eager to do business with… Would you eagerly do business with someone like that?

That said, until we have something official from Apple, all we can do is wait and wonder… (and, I suspect, make enough noise so Apple seriously considers what they are about to do…)

-Jon

CCardona

$149 is a petty theft I won?t forget.

But Macnurse, the MobileMe that you paid for will be up until July 2012! That means that you’ll get 4 months for free, and that sounds like a ripoff to you?

People chill! All the news about iCloud isn’t out yet, there may still be a way to share Photos and websites. And like they said, there are other free (or almost free) options. Me, I’m going to dig not paying $99/year anymore!

Apple usually does the right thing, unless it loses them lots of money, or the bad PR will also.

ctopher

@all y’all

Boo Hoo.

What about me? I can’t run Lion on my eMac. My AppleTalk network better still work, I rely on that for my business!

Waaaaaa….

smile

Laura Hogan

As one of the thousands (hundreds of thousands, millions?) of people who use iDisk, Galleries, and MobileMe web hosting with my 20 GB of MobileMe storage, the lack of information about these services is troubling.? I could assume those will continue at some charge, or Apple could drop us.? Photo Stream is certainly NOT a replacement for those services; neither is Twitter or Facebook.? Apple dropped Homepage Dot Mac hosting, although the latest version of Aperture still publishes to homepage.mac.com.? Hopefully Apple won?t forget about the traditional ?Web? for the ?rest of us?.

totally agree with these comments !

Josh

My problem with relying on iCloud syncing relates to MS Office formats. 

My understanding from yesterdays presentation is that the syncing is Application Specific.  That means the app developer needs to make use of the iCloud API so that its files get pushed around to the different devices.  I personally lothe Office with the power of a 1,000 burning suns, but am forced to use it because everyone I work with uses it (and Excel is far less of a steaming pile than Word and Powerpoint are).

What are the chances that Office (not available through the app store, nor likely to ever be so) will support this feature.  It enhances the value of running a non-Windows computer.  If I want cloud syncing of those files like that I enjoy via iDisk, I’ll need to migrate to another service like dropbox which won’t be as well integrated into the iOS filesystem as iCloud is supposed to be.

ChuckD

Folks, all I can say to you neysayers is boo hoo . .  Get a tissue and let’s walk into a better day.

Mike & distarr7 . . .plenty of places to get that stuff and you have more than a year to figure it out.  Not bad for a service that the company is not proud of having made.

Macnurse .  ..you paid for a year of a service that you will get to keep for 15 months . . . And you call that stealing???

Jon . . . Tech is evolving.  Apple is a leader in innovation.  Take somebody’s hand and lets move forward.  Please!!

Josh . . .  I feel ya but ef MS office . .  . Do the docs in pages etc and export them to your windows friends . . . When you can export to PDF no word.

My $.02

Josh

@ChuckD,

Not that simple.  I’m a University Researcher, and ALL of the journals I publish in REQUIRE drafts be submitted in MS Word.  Formatting changes when switching formats are unacceptable, and it is easier to just create in Word than deal with that added hassle.  I’ve tried doing what you describe several times in the past and it has just not been worth the added effort.

I think those above that are complaining deserve more respect than you are showing as well.  Yes, you get what you pay for, and a 3 month grace period is nice.  However, if they are anything like myself, they’ve devoted a lot of time to developing and refining their workflow to the point where it requires little conscious effort to maintain.  Pulling the plug on iDisk simple because they’ve got something NEW to sell does feel a little bit like a kick in the teeth.  Apple still has every right to do what they are doing, but it does create a little bit of understandable ill will in those that have been using the service since its inception (like myself). 

This is ESPECIALLY true when they’ve been encouraging others to use MobileMe as well (like myself).  As a long time mac user, I’ve helped several dozen people make the switch.  My boss just made the PC to Mac switch three months ago and signed up for MobileMe on MY recommendation.  He’s got 30 years of Office files that he relies on and the lack of iDisk will make his newly crafted workflow obsolete practically before he gets to put the finishing touches on it.  Furthermore, it makes me look like an idiot for making this suggestion.

August

I never, ever make comments, but this has me incensed enough to do so.

I have been a loyal Mac user for almost 20 years and have happily paid subscriptions for online services sponsored by Apple going back to eWorld.

The argument that many here have stated: “You can get the same services for free other places,” is a non sequitur to me.  The whole reason I have been willing to pay Apple is so that I won’t have to go to (several) other places and self-create the same kinds of services.  Sheesh! 

Also, to tell me that the free service with fewer features and capabilities I want is going to be “better”?  Please,  tell me you folks can’t possibly be serious in that assertion.

I got a breezy ‘thank you for renewing’ message from MobileMe last Friday.  Monday they tell me ‘sorry’.  Bad form.  I would not have renewed had I know.  I would have kept my $99 to put toward the solution I am going to have to create. 

Some suggest we are whiners clinging to an obsolete technology.  It is a poor analogy. Rather we just want the service we were promised when we subscribed.

I get the whole thing about backward compatibility. For goodness’ sake—I have no interest in running an Appletalk network anymore, even though my 20th Anniversary Mac capability for it.  I ‘m not asking to run iOS on my freakin’ Newton. That’s missing the point.

It’s more like TiVo telling you from now on you will be able to watch anything you’d like online, but they have remotely and permanently disabled your machine’s HD (with all your recorded shows still on it). 

I urge Apple to put some serious thought into its very serious and loyal customer base.  I know they are no longer “Apple Computer, Inc”.  The future is in the cloud, but the new iCloud, as far as I can tell, has no silver lining for me.

Angus Malcolm

Here’s the e-mail I’ve sent to Apple.  I’m ignoring iCloud - it’s a red herring in a very simple equation:  if MobileMe is going to be free from 7 June 2011 until 30 June 2012 for ANY MobileMe customers, then it has to be free for ALL of them.  We paid in advance and in good faith for a service that has not yet been provided. 

As for the refund policy, it’s insulting - my MobileMe address is on all my business cards, so I can’t cancel my account by the 30 June deadline and wait for iCloud’s “fall” launch.  Apple is making Marie Antoinette look like Mother Teresa.

Dear Apple

I am a loyal Apple customer of many years standing.  I’ve had .Mac and then MobileMe for years, and my MobileMe account renewed on 10 March 2011.  I now learn that if it were renewing on 7 June, I would have saved the ?59 renewal fee here in the UK and would have a free service until 30 June 2012. 

I don’t mind paying for the time from 10 March until 6 June, but I believe that MobileMe should be free for ALL existing customers from that date.  Apple needs to be equitable in how it treats its customers, instead of which you have created a renewal date lottery. 

I’m frankly astonished that you have not handled this better.  Did you really think people would accept months of paying you for a service that you are giving others free of charge?  I reckon you owe me ?45, and I want to know what you plan to do about it.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Troy

What will happen to the Web Hosting and WebSite publishing services?  Will we still have our “web.me.com/user123” websites with the ability to publish them directly from iWeb?

Troy

What will happen to the Website Publishing services?  Will I still have an Apple Hosted website I can publish to from iWeb?  i.e. web.me.com/user123 ... ?????

wab95

I?m a University Researcher, and ALL of the journals I publish in REQUIRE drafts be submitted in MS Word

Josh: you’re quite correct, journals primarily do require that you submit abstracts and manuscripts in MS Word. Moreover, most of your colleagues who collaborate with you on a paper are likely working in Word, including those using Macs.

That said, the upsurge in use of Macs, particularly in acadaemia, is already affecting that policy at least in conferences, where many are now accepting presentations in Keynote, and some journals are now at least considering alternative word processing formats. I also think this will be helped by the penetration of the iPad into the university, which in turn will be boosted by it’s untethering from the PC.

It may be too soon to write off your mobile me photos etc. You are not alone in this, and Apple have not given their final word on iDisk stored materials. As for your boss, if he/she is reasonable, they will not blame you for the inevitable march of technology, particularly if they start using it.

Gary

$149 is a petty theft I won?t forget.  Oh, BTW, thanks so much for the clarity and the ?free? five week extension of my subscription!

They will refund your money, I believe 100% if with 45 days.  Otherwise they prorate it.

The rumors about MobileMe being canceled this year have been around for months.  They stopped offering rebates with new purchases, they’ve pulled it from the shelves at stores.

Plus, they’re giving everyone up to a year to transition.  That’s actually not bad of them.

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