If you’re one of those shelling out $99 per year for Apple’s do-it-all cross-platform sync service MobileMe, as I am, then this has been a good week. In fact, it’s been a pretty good few months overall, thanks to what appears to be a renewed interest on Apple’s part in keeping the service worth our while.
First there was the web-based Mail overhaul, and then the Find My iPhone app. Now, the Calendar web app gets a similar makeover to the one Mail received, and like its predecessor, it starts out in invite-only beta form. And at nearly the same time, we get an update to MobileMe’s iDisk app for iOS devices, bringing with it true iPad/iPhone universality. And it’s about time.
The iPad has been out since April of this year, and yet Find My iPhone was the first MobileMe-related iOS app to boast universality. iDisk and Gallery seemed to be being ignored, despite the obvious potential both apps held on the larger iPad screen. Well iDisk is now fully updated for the iPad, and it works wonderfully. The built-in document viewer lets you see all those PDFs, images and word processor files you have stored on your cloud disk. It also works with the “Open In…” feature along with compatible third-party apps, and allows you to create shares for people who don’t use MobileMe.
The Calendar web app beta probably won’t mean much to iPad owners, since presumably they’re using the native Calendar app on their devices, but it sure is a big upgrade for those accessing their MobileMe services from their computer’s Internet browser. Again, like with Mail, it takes cues from its iPad predecessor. The book-style view is there, and there’s also redesigned day, week, and month views in addition to a new barebones list view.
You can share calendars among friends and set up email notifications regarding changes, and publish a calendar for public use, if, for example, you have a recreational sports team to organize. You can also create events and send invites and receive RSVPs, even if your guests aren’t using MobileMe themselves. Sounds like it could provide one more reason for me to stay away from Facebook, if it works as smoothly as it sounds like it should.
The Calendar beta does come with some hefty requirements for all this, though. If you’re on an iPhone, you have to be using iOS 4, for example. It’s iOS 3.2 on the iPad, of course, and 10.6.4 on the Mac. PC and Outlook support are said to be coming soon. To get access, you must be a MobileMe subscriber. Login, and navigate to me.com/calendar, and then click on the “Request an invite” link in the lower left-hand corner of the screen…then cross your fingers.