Sachin Agarwal Says Apple Should Make MobileMe Free

Apple doesn’t do “loss leaders”, so I can’t see them making MobileMe free for everyone. But I could see them including free MobileMe service when you purchase any Mac or iPhone OS device. MobileMe calendar, contact, and bookmark syncing work great, but how many iPhone and iPad customers are missing out because they don’t want to pay $99 a year for it?

But this bit from Agarwal isn’t pragmatic:

So picture it: you buy an iPad, iPhone, or a new Macbook Pro. You turn it on and login with your MobileMe account. You already have one since it’s free. Instantly that device has all your media and other data. There’s no more USB syncing.

Like Agarwal, I’ve complained about the “tether this device to a Mac or PC” out-of-the-box experience. But wireless sync — especially over cellular networks, but also including Wi-Fi — can’t serve as a replacement for USB syncing and backup until network speeds get much, much faster. Most iPhone/iPod/iPad users have tens of gigabytes of music and video. We’re years away from being able to sync and restore 64 GB of data over the air. This is one area where Apple offers a far better solution today than Google.

Free (or cheaper, or whatever) MobileMe would be great for email, calendar, contacts, and bookmark syncing. But it wouldn’t help with music and video syncing, which is a huge part of the iPhone OS experience.

Update: A suggestion from a friend: “They should just merge MobileMe into iTunes accounts and give the basics away for free and charge for upgrades.” Brilliant. Single sign-in for everything.

Thursday, 27 May 2010