The $30 rebate on MobileMe and iWork for new Mac purchasers is now discontinued, according to a leaked internal memo provided to 9to5 Mac from “a source within Apple.” The deal officially ended as of close of business Monday April 18, according to the memo. The move could be a sign that updates to both suites are on the way. Apple still lists the rebates as part of their online promotions, but a quick check of major retail partners finds no mention of the program.
A MobileMe update has been rumored to be in the cards for quite a while now, and the end of this program is another signpost along the way. Apple discontinued boxed retail sales of the syncing, email and online storage service in February, and around the same time various sources, including the Wall Street Journal, suggested that the service was in store for an overhaul, and that the introduction of a completely free version was imminent.
Rumored feature additions include a cloud locker for a user’s music library (similar to Amazon’s new Cloud Storage service), a Media Stream function that allows users to stream photos and other media to their connected Apple devices, and a Find My Friends feature that would work much like Google Latitude, allowing users to share their location with selected contacts.
MobileMe is not available for sale through the Apple online store, but you can still purchase it by signing up for the free 60-day trial and then converting to a paid account. Existing users can also still upgrade. Were the service to go free, it’s unclear what would happen to existing paid users. It’s a good bet that Apple would reward paid subscribers with additional features, like extra storage or higher bandwidth limits.
iWork is also due for an update. The productivity suite last saw a brand new version in January 2009. iWork ’08, the version that preceded the current iWork ’09, was released in late 2007. iWork ’11 was rumored for release alongside the launch of the App Store, but that failed to materialize. If Apple is ending its rebate program around the current iteration of the software, however, it might indicate that an update could be coming soon.
Both a new MobileMe and a new iWork are good candidates for a WWDC reveal, since the developer event has a strong software focus. Recent rumors have also suggested that we might see a revamped MobileMe by the end of this month. Apple does have a massive new data center to play with, so expanded cloud plans that include a better, more far-reaching MobileMe are a good possibility.