Yesterday, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) released an update to its syncing service called MobileMe, which launched side-by-side with the iPhone 3G in July. It was intended to replace its .Mac services, and promised a solution to managing multiple email accounts and contact lists. But a number of bugs led the company to give customers a 60-day extension and even had Steve Jobs admitting that the launch was rushed. At the time, I said the service, which was being coined “exchange for the rest of us,” would ultimately prove to be more valuable than the App Store. So far, it hasn’t worked out that way, and I wonder if the false start will turn away customers for good. To be sure, there’s still a need for such a service, and whoever ends up storing and managing people’s data will have very loyal customers for the long-term.
Apple said in a statement posted to its Web site that the company “is always working to improve MobileMe. Since MobileMe is primarily a server-side, or ‘cloud’-based, service, the MobileMe team can make improvements and push updates to MobileMe without any action being required of MobileMe customers. Since server-side updates are a bit more innocuous than a standard software update to Mac OS X or Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Windows, it’s easy not to notice that updates are occurring. Usually the only hint of these updates is that things just ‘work better.'”
The long list of improvements demonstrates how many problems there were with the service. Apple has had to correct: an issue when attempting to Reply All; issues with Keyboard Shortcuts not behaving; an issue in which a message was not removed from Drafts after being sent; an issue where attempting to add contacts from MobileMe mail was not working; the accuracy of the MobileMe data transfer details; the logging out function, which now fully logs you out of MobileMe; calendar performance with recurring events; the performance with To Do items; the reliability when first loading MobileMe Calendar; and the reliability when first loading MobileMe Contacts.