A rare Apple pan from the gadget kingmaker. And a rare flop from the company that can do no wrong. Steve Jobs must be (should be?) demanding someone’s head.
[It} was a big deal when Apple announced a new service that, for $100 a year, would bring corporate-type synchronisation of email, calendars and contacts to anyone. It was even better that Apple promised that the service, called MobileMe, would work on Windows computers as well as on the company’s own Macintosh computers, iPhones and iPod Touch hand-helds. To top it off, Apple threw in 20 gigabytes of online storage, a suite of Web-based applications, the ability to synchronise browser bookmarks and an online photo gallery.
Unfortunately, after a week of intense testing of the service, I can’t recommend it, at least not in its current state. It’s a great idea, but, as of now, MobileMe has too many flaws to keep its promises.
I am not referring to the launch glitches that plagued MobileMe earlier this month, such as servers that couldn’t keep up with the traffic and email outages that, for some users, persist as I write this. Those were bad, but they have eased considerably. Apple already has apologized for them and is giving customers an extra 30 days on their subscriptions to make up for the poor start. The problems I am citing are systemic.
The list of problems? Hard to know where to begin:
One big issue is that while changes made on the Web site or the iPhone are instantly pushed to the computers, changes made on computers are only synced every 15 minutes, at best. Apple has admitted that this is a problem, and says it is working on it.
But there’s more. The Web site was sluggish, and occasionally calendar entries wouldn’t load at all. Sometimes, you have to manually refresh the Web pages to see changes made on your devices. And when I tried to open my Web-based file-storage page directly from the MobileMe control panel on Windows, I got an error message on both Dells.
My MobileMe calendar, which originated on a Mac, didn’t flow into the main Outlook calendar, but appeared as a separate calendar in Outlook, which was visible only by changing settings. My address-book groups on the Mac, which are simply distribution lists, didn’t show up as distribution lists in Outlook, but as separate address books, and they also weren’t immediately visible. Apple blames Outlook quirks for these issues, but in my view, it should have overcome them.
Other problems abounded…
Read the full diss here >