iPhone Calendar Syncing: 1.x vs. 2.0 vs. MobileMe + Whither the Digital Hub?

Mac nerdery stalwart John Gruber over at DaringFireball has put together a very interesting essay about how iPhone Calendar syncing has evolved from firmware 1.x (1.0 - 1.4) to firmware 2.0, and how the current iTunes syncing differs in functionality from syncing via Apple's MobileMe service.

From welcome improvements to frustrating choices, from new methods of use to evolving work-arounds, Gruber ultimately comes to the ultimate question:

Whither the “digital hub”?

While iTunes originally served as the one-stop location for all syncing and sync settings, MobileMe now works outside the iTunes universe, but does not offer the options (e.g. selecting individual rather than all calendars to sync) iTunes does, nor does the MobileMe pref pane.

Is there a way for Apple to cleanly present a unified place to manage all iPhone syncing, with a robust set of options?

My vote remains iTunes. When MobileMe is in use, keep the settings enabled, and pass the preferences along to the "cloud". That keeps data, media, and commerce all in one place, with one interface, in a familiar context. Just "push" choices of calendars, contact groups, etc. back up to MobileMe.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone Calendar Syncing: 1.x vs. 2.0 vs. MobileMe + Whither the Digital Hub?


Calendars and synching them on Mac/iPhone is a embarrassment, if not a big joke.
You really just have to choose which version of broken you want. I subscribe to calendars I depend on just as much as my personal local calendars. Since the MobileMe version of working with calendars is broken in regards to subscribed calendars, I choose to do it the tethered way by synching via iTunes.
I love Apple hardware and Mac OS, but Apple is the not be-all, end-all of everything. They have a long ways to go before they "get it" with networked computing.

I depend totally on my desktop and phone calendars syncing, both ways, reliably. I was suckered into buying iPhone by Jobs' keynote speech (and I was having yet another bad day with Outlook and WM6 on my XDA).
Mobile Me is a JOKE!!! I've tried it every which way but can't get anything approaching repeatability or reliability from it, finally turned it off last night and went back to iTunes syncing - still less than perfect...
Surely it can't be THAT difficult??

For me, I want to sync all my home calendars, which is working perfectly using MobileMe. For work calendars, ActiveSync is handling them just fine to.
Where it's breaking down, I think, is for those who are more ninja with the needs.
Merlin Mann, for example, might be going to war...

Grrrr. My iphone calenders just synced some events that i deleted off my macbook pro's ical weeks ago. What am i paying for mobile me for then?