Apple Says MobileMe is Now Working--We disagree

Apple sent an e-mail out to its MobileMe service members today, apologizing for the hiccups in getting the $99 per month MobileMe service up and running, announcing that the service was now finally fully operational, and even offering a conciliatory, free 30-day extension to all current MobileMe subscriptions.

 Apple's e-mail (click the image to read the e-mail)
MobileMe is an updated version of Apple's .Mac ("Dot Mac") subscription-based online service, which has been around since 2002 (or even as far back as 2000 if you count its original iteration as Apple's free, Mac-only, online service called iTools). The new MobileMe service rolled out at the same time as the release of the iPhone 3G last week and is meant to offer a convenient online portal and sync mechanism between iPhones and (Mac and Windows) computers for email, contacts, and calendars.

Contrary to Apple's claims, however, our own experience with MobileMe has been anything but smooth--even this morning after Apple's e-mail went out claiming all was well. For starters, calendar entries made on our iMac was not updating on the MobileMe Calendar, even well after 15 minutes.

This Calendar entry should have
been automatically deleted.

Then we started getting errors when trying to access the Calendar Web app; and when we were finally able to get back in, Calendars were not appearing correctly. We had to reset the Safari browser's setting in order to get Calendars to appear normal again.

Even if our experiences with Calendar were isolated experiences, Apple's own support page for MobileMe does not paint the same rosy picture that its e-mail does.

The link on the status page points to an old article dating back to October 2006, which only addresses the HomePage Web app. Not only does the article refer to a Web app on the old .Mac service, but there are no articles available to address the other MobileMe issues mentioned on the MobileMe System Status page. Apple apparently is still in the process of updating its supporting infrastructure for the new MobileMe service.

It would seem that Apple stumbled hard with its MobileMe rollout. Perhaps it was biting off more than it could chew with the iPhone 3G rollout, iTunes App Store coming online, and .Mac to MobileMe transition all happening at the same time. Even the iPhone 3G rollout didn't go smoothly, as it ran into significant activation problems

The company is to be commended for admitting to the problems and for trying to make amends with a free 30-day extension to users' subscriptions. It would appear that Apple's proclamation that all is now well, however, is a bit premature.