Internet rumours suggest Apple's long-running subscription-based cloud platform, MobileMe, is set to be replaced next month with a revamped free version.
It's long been hoped for by Mac users: that Apple's commercial cloud sync platform, MobileMe, would ditch its $119 annual subscription fee and move to a free model. And now it looks like it could finally be happening, with Apple news site iLounge.com reporting
that a source familiar with Apple's plans is claiming MobileMe's current commercial incarnation is being phased out in favour of a free offering, set to be available as soon as April.
MobileMe, which began life in 2000 as iTools (and was then dubbed .Mac in 2002, before settling on its current moniker in 2008), is essentially a set of cloud sync and storage options for Mac users, and its functionality has been extended to the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and even the PC in recent years. MobileMe can keep your email, contacts and calendar in sync across multiple devices, offers a finder service for lost mobile devices, provides photo-sharing gallery resources, an online storage hub in iDisk, plus a set of web apps.
However, the relative simplicity and alternative availability of much of this functionality, especially since the advent of popular and easy-to-use free online storage providers like Dropbox
, had led many in recent times to be critical of MobileMe's subscription-based fees (and resulting in some devising less-centralised but still practical ways of replicating the same capabilities for no cost
It's likely that the rumoured upcoming free version of MobileMe won't offer the same exact feature set as the current platform, as many expect Apple to ultimately take its cloud offering into an iTunes-branded music- and media-streaming direction, in an effort to head off rival efforts like Google's expected cloud music store
. Watch this space.