I have been using MobileMe, and its previous incarnation DotMac, for just over two years. Everyone has talked about the great features it has as well as some of the near-misses. However, I haven’t seen anyone point out a major flaw in MobileMe — how it does not compare to Enterprise class offerings.
With MobileMe, we can sync our calendars, contacts and email. We have a version of “push” which really only provides instantaneous email, not calendars or contacts. Even Apple has gone on record to state what is “push” and what is not. A colleague here on TAB also wrote about what we should have expected for push when MobileMe was released, as compared to what we received.
There are three main Enterprise server synchronization tools for calendaring, contacts, email, notes and tasks in the market.
- Microsoft Exchange (or more specifically, Exchange ActiveSync)
- Good Mobile Messaging
- Blackberry Enterprise Server
Each of these services directly connects to Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, Outlook Web Access and Windows Mobile Devices/Blackberrys. If you have used any of these enterprise class services, you know what true “push” means (for calendars, contacts, email, notes and tasks).
One of the big misses that Apple left out of MobileMe is the ability to accept meeting invites from other users when not using a Mac. This especially causes problems when using the iPhone or the MobileMe web calendar.
In order to complete this meeting circle, we need to be able to accept these invites from anywhere. What makes this situation worse is that we cannot create/send meeting invites from the iPhone or the MobileMe web calendar. This is very frustrating, especially for those who use MobileMe for business (or personal business).
There are many situations where I am away from a computer and I want to send an invite to my wife for dinner (or maybe just put something on her calendar that I will be out for the evening). We both use MobileMe and yet my wife has to wait until I get home for me to send her the meeting invitation.
Another big miss is that Apple does not provide the ability to sync Tasks (To Dos in Apple speak) and Notes. Everyone and their mother has complained about Apple not supporting these two sync items, especially when adding tasks and notes on their iPhone or via the MobileMe web applications.
Thankfully, the Apple developer community has offered up solutions around these two missing items, some examples include:
- Evernote (for notes) – free
- Omnifocus (for tasks) – $79.95 + $19.95 for the iPhone App
- Remember The Milk (for tasks) – $25/year
- Things (for tasks) – $49.95 + 9.95 for the iPhone App
There are many other solutions, although these three offerings have either Mac or Web clients, as well as iPhone applications.
Yes, Apple did achieve a reasonably decent service with MobileMe. It has been generally reviewed as such. However, for Apple to provide Enterprise-class synchronization, they will need to ensure native support for the management of meeting invites as well as notes and tasks. Sadly, we have no idea when Apple will add this functionality. Here is my vote for a major announcement at the Macworld keynote…