The MobileMe service by Apple was widely promoted as “Exchange for the rest of us.” And for those who do not know what exchange is, it is basically a messaging and collaborative tool developed ironically by its rival Microsoft.
When I first heard about this service, I got really excited. Not because of its push messaging service, which allows you to receive email notifications the moment someone clicks on the send button. I was more exited about the possibility of syncing my calendar and address book between my iPhone, computer, and the web without the need of actually hooking my phone physically to a computer. To me, that is what this service is really about.
MobileMe, however, has a much clearer mission that solves a much clearer problem. It’s meant to keep the e-mail, calendars, address books and Web bookmarks on all of your computers — Macs, Windows PCs, iPhones and iPod Touches — synchronized in real time. –David Pogue, NY Times.
See, the revolutionary idea about MobileMe is that once you update your appointment on the iPhone, that data is automatically transmitted up to MobileMe and down to your computing devices. You do not have to physically hook up your iPhone to your computer nightly to backup your address book and calendar!
While push email is exciting to see in action, there is one main disadvantage. To use MobileMe’s push email service, you will need to use their me.com domain. There is really no way to configure your iPhone to use the push email service without using the @me.com domain name. I agree that it is a really cool and short domain, but I am totally against the idea of using an email address that I have to pay for the privilege to use (for example, using an email address assigned by your ISP), since you’ll be stuck paying for a service just for its email address.
What I found MobileMe’s push email service useful, however, is using it for notification purposes. For example, American Express (and most financial institutions) emails you a notification when there is a new statement or if your bill is due. By configuring your notifications to be sent to your @me.com address, you will be instantly notified if your bill is late, or if you have gone over your credit limit.
For more technical purposes, I have also set my servers to notify me if something goes down or if customers are in need of assistance (very useful). Since MobileMe’s push email service is instantaneous, I will be able to react to any notification the second it reaches my iPhone.
Sure MobileMe has push email, but what you really get for $100/year is syncing without the cable.
Related Articles: “In Sync to Pierce the Cloud”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/17/technology/personaltech/17pogue.html?pagewanted=2&8dpc&_r=1 | “TUAW Review: MobileMe”:http://www.tuaw.com/2008/07/14/tuaw-review-mobileme/ | “Apple Apologizes for MobileMe”:http://blog.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2008/07/apple_apologizes_for_mobileme.html
Related Links: “Exchange Server”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Exchange_Server