The release of the new 3G iPhone and the launch of the Application Store secured the spotlight last week but there was another release which caught my attention. Apple launched MobileMe to replace the .Mac service which has been around for awhile. Though the .Mac migration may have had a few hiccups, the new MobileMe service offers users who pay just $99 per year an Apple run exchange for keeping contacts, calendar events and email synced to a PC or Mac computer and iPhone or Touch. The release positions Apple into a new space as a supplier of personal enterprise computing solutions. Apple takes on "free" email providers by locking up new me.com users to an account on a yearly subscription. Will this change the "free" email standard?
While I don't think everyone will use MobileMe since it goes against the "free" email standard that we have all become accustom to, I think it might raise the awareness of the quality and performance of free services. Gmail has raised concerns with outages which it justifies through the use of its endless tiny beta tag. These "free" email woes and the fact that keeping my contacts and calendar in sync is not an easy task has caused me to seek help and I'm hoping MobileMe might be able to supply that help. Apple is smart for attacking this personal enterprise market with MobileMe because mainstream America spends a lot of time in email. It also is a space Google is on a path to jump into especially with the gPhone said to be on its way.
I signed up for a new Me.com account as it will act as a repository of all my contacts, calendar events and emails and push them directly to my computers and iPhone real-time. If you asked me a year ago if I would be signing up and paying for email, contacts and storage from Apple, I probably would have laughed but I think the synced experience between my handheld mobile device, my computer an the Web is something that I have been desperately in need of. My corporate accounts use an exchange server to keep synced but my personal contacts have been scattered about Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail and Gmail. MobileMe addresses a need and syncs all contacts and should help me to keep track of all my contacts in one place, backed up on server and I am willing to pay a $99 yearly fee to keep them in sync.
Would you pay for MobileMe?
Let me know your SOMEWHAT FRANK opinion on paying for email, storage and an exchange server service in the comments section below.