Before making the switch from MobileMe to iCloud last week, I was looking around for posts about iCloud’s new webmail and didn’t find any. As I’d just installed the iOS 5 GM on my iPhone, I was eager to get iCloud going as well to get a head start, but wanted to investigate the iCloud services first. I didn’t find any useful posts, but made the switch anyway. Seeing as iCloud will be free to all users now, I thought I’d give you a heads up into what you can expect!
[Update 10/10/2011] Here’s a summary of the new iCloud webmail, contacts, calendar and Find My iPhone.
Ok, so let me put this out there. MobileMe has been kinda broken for some time now (it’s ok Steve knows it). Yes, you can upload stuff to the gallery from iPhoto and your iPhone, and yes you can keep your contacts and calendars in sync across your devices, and you can also track your iPhone/iPad. But all-in-all, as an application it has been nowhere near the quality that you would expect from Apple for a $99 (!) yearly subscription… I would know… I’m a subscriber. I subscribe primarily because I’ve had my mac.com email account since back when it was free, and out of all the webapps, it’s the MobileMe webmail that makes me rage the most. While others like Gmail have ugly interfaces that work, MobileMe has a slick interface that works… about half the time (and the search functionality works when it feels like it).
And yet again I find myself hoping that iCloud will be a rebrand/rework of MobileMe that brings some actual value… hopefully free/cheap.
— Security Generation (@securitygen) May 10, 2011
I’ve been screaming for Apple to sit down and get MobileMe right – maybe they listened to me? Doubt it. This picture shows the new iCloud icon (spotted at the Moscone Center where the WWDC will take place), next to the current MobileMe icon. They’re pretty much identical, with Apple going back to its pro-style brushed-metal look. I’ve been speculating that MobileMe’s cloud-based motifs have been hinting at more developed features, and with the confirmed purchase of icloud.com by Apple, it became pretty clear it may actually happen.
It’s already well known that iCloud will be centered around an online music service, which would give subscribers access to their music from anywhere. How the existing MobileMe features fit in has yet to be determined. There are rumours iCloud will cost $25/year for the core music subscription. For one, I’m praying that Apple will decouple the email service from the rest of the subscription. There are also rumours that an iCloud subscription will be included with purchases of Lion, and this is highly plausible. With Apple pegged to have iAds running on iCloud services, they could stand to reap some significant advertising profits. I also hope they get their security right. A service of this magnitude has so many potential entry points. Time will tell.
The Worldwide Developer Conference is by far the most interesting of Apple’s yearly events, and I suspect Steve has a rabbit or two up his stone-washed jeans.
[Update] The answer to the title of this post is, hopefully, yes! Check out my post about the WWDC 2011 news. While I haven’t yet seen the finished products in the iCloud offering, I’m fairly confident that Steve would not allow a repeat of MobileMe. Seems like Apple did listen to me in the end, and MobileMe services will become free as part of iCloud! ;)
[Update 2] Here’s a summary of the new iCloud webmail, contacts, calendar and Find My iPhone.