I have been asked this question on a number of occasions. Apple’s MobileMe is a subscription service that syncs your iPhone or iPad device seamlessly OTA or over the air between your iPhone, iPad, PC and or MAC. I have subscribed to this service since it was first introduced in July 9, 2008 at their annual World Wide Developers Conference. The cost to subscribe to this service begins at a stout $99 a year for one user, or $149 a year for a five user family pack.
The service includes push e-mail, iDisk 20 GB cloud storage, a Gallery such as Google’s Picasa, Contacts, Calendar, and last yet the best the Find My iPhone (or iPad) feature (which is now free). My initial experience with the service was that it was much too costly, especially when you compared it to other competitors albeit with less features such as Dropbox. Apple has since added new features as well as improved its stability.
The push e-mail has worked pretty well from my 2 plus years of experience, the Gallery is a nice feature with a clean interface which is very easy to manage. Contacts and Calendar syncs over the air seamlessly with your iPhone and or iPad to your PC and or MAC with any changes you make. If you do have a MAC, MobileMe is even better with its Back to My Mac setup (allows you to use your Mac instead of having to go to me.com for file sharing and the like); it is more robust than with Apple’s control panel that you’d have to setup on PC. If you lose, get stolen or have your iPhone or iPad replaced, simply login to MobileMe on your replacement device and voila, all your contacts, e-mails and calendar events show up in a matter of seconds.
Add a contact or calendar event on your iPhone or iPad and it will immediately show up on your PC or Mac; speaking of PC, MobileMe also syncs contacts and calendars with Outlook (success may vary from what I’ve heard, I’ve not had any problems). It is true of the opposite, add a contact or calendar event on your PC or Mac and they will show up on your iPhone or iPad.
The 20 GB iDisk cloud storage is a nice feature. I currently am a college student and it allows me to upload, download, share and access any of my files I’ve placed on the cloud without worrying about a USB thumb drive I may or may not lose, misplace or even forget. You can access all of your files by simply logging into me.com on any web browser, from any PC or Mac and logging into your account. You can also share large files securely with specific people or group of your choosing with or without a password. Creating folders and sub-folders is a snap so you can keep everything organized.
The best feature, in my humble opinion, is that of the Find My iPhone. Should you lose or get your iPhone or iPad stolen, you can locate it by utilizing the devices GPS anywhere around the world. That’s not all, you can also send a message with a loud prompt on the device (even if the iPhone or iPad is on vibrate only) as well as passcode lock and or totally wipe all the information from your location all remotely.
Apple has also made available apps for iDisk and Gallery so that you may also access those features straight from your mobile device.
In a nutshell, with the Find My iPhone feature now free, $99 or $149 respectively still sounds pretty steep. One solution on how to save is by purchasing MobileMe from an alternative source such as eBay or better yet Amazon for $55.99(individual) or $79.99 for the five user Family Pack. What I have personally done is to get my extended family and friends whom either have an iPhone or iPad in on the family deal, so now MobileMe costs just $15.99 a year individually; can’t beat that! One last note is that if you do get into the Family Pack, you share the 20GB online storage among all, each individual does not get 20GB of their own.