What Do You Want to See in MobileMe 2.0?

MobileMe was announced by Steve Jobs and demonstrated by Phil Schiller at WWDC 2008. Tagged originally as "Exchange for the rest of us", a disastrous launch -- where Apple tried to do too much at once, including the iPhone 3G, iPhone OS 2.0, and the App Store -- and a problem with early computer-side syncing forced them to downgrade the promise of "push" to more of a gentle "nudge".

Fast forward 6 months and MobileMe has grown through its pain becoming almost, though not quite, everything Apple promised it would be at WWDC. Web-based email, contacts, and calendar are synced in near-real time to and from the iPhone and the Mac (Windows mileage may vary). Photos function, and iDisk is beefier, but still functionally on par with its .Mac roots.

But what do the next 6 months hold? If we get new iPhone hardware in June, and iPhone OS 3.0 along with it, could Apple be ballsy enough to try and give us MobileMe Take 2 at the same time? And if they are, what do we want to see in it?

Mac users already get tons more, highly useful features in MobileMe than Windows users. Sync will literally duplicate preferences, docks, bookmarks, password keychains, and more. And Back to my Mac, which keeps track of the IP addresses of your different Macs and then "just works" out file and screen sharing is epic (nope, I've never had a problem with it -- and it saved my skin at Macworld!). Some of these, however, would be welcome as additions to the iPhone's function set. Having Mobile Safari sync and make available logins to iPhone Apps like 1Password would be convenient. Being able to screen share like Jaadu VNC would be excellent, but it's just a start.


Dieter's list includes the ability to easily send from different email aliases. The iPhone in general currently makes it impossible to set up an email address alias on the device (and working around it via syncing mail settings with iTunes isn't always elegant). Having MobileMe handle this, along with taking a page from Gmail and actually allowing MobileMe to POP email from other services and push it directly to the iPhone would be excellent.

To round out the MobileMe mail upgrades, giving us server-side rules/filters would be highly useful (e.g, applying a rule to move all newsletters to a sub-folder that doesn't alert me when it arrives would be welcome). Add to that the ability to star/flag email directly on the iPhone (and sync those states between web and PC) and it would become a competitive offering worth its premium price!

Contacts and Calendars

iPhone 2.0: Is ActiveSync an IMAP/CalDAV Trojan Horse?Moving on to MobileMe's Contacts and Calendars, why not hook them fully into Apple's own CalDAV and CardDAV protocols? Let us subscribe to online directories and shared calendars right from the iPhone (or the web).

Let's take a page from Palm's Pre and transparently pull -- and aggregate -- contact and calendar information from popular online services like Google and Facebook.


Photos should sync. We should be able to upload a photo to MobileMe's gallery and have it sync back to a subscribed gallery in the iPhone's Photo app, same as it does in iPhoto. For bonus points, iPhoto smart albums should also be sync'able. If I use iPhoto 09's Faces feature to tag my godson, and create a smart album based in part on that tag, having that go automagically to MobileMe and the iPhone would be killer. Allowing a Flickr option? Double killer.


Chad remembered that we were originally promised iDisk file sharing via email link. We haven't seen it yet, how about it Apple? While we're at it, while MobileFiles is a great app, iDisk should be built into the iPhone. If iWork.com actually becomes a viable product for Apple, that should be built-in accessible as well. The lack of an on-device file system and document editor could be slightly mitigated with just those two additions.

Notes and To-Do's

The iPhone was originally supposed to sync notes via iTunes but that feature fell off the roadmap at some point and hasn't been seen since. To Do/Tasks, of course, never even made it onto the roadmap. Heck, Exchange supports syncing those data types, and the iPhone won't even do it via ActiveSync. It should, and Apple should include it in MobileMe 2.0 and build the apps into iPhone OS 3.0.

What Else?

Well, those are just a few ideas, we're sure you must have a bunch more great ones. Let us know in the comments. We have a few months left and maybe Apple will listen: what do You want to see in MobileMe 2.0?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

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

What Do You Want to See in MobileMe 2.0?


Should there be two versions: a basic PIM version that comes with all iPhones, and a Pro version with more storage and features that you can upgrade to?
("free" is not a viable business model, so there would either have to be ad-based support like Google, or an up-sell to pro or something).

Just to be a little more accurate, HTML mail text capabilities (I often say "rich text" because it's easier, even though it's inaccurate).

I've always been disappointed at being unable to sync photos and subscribe to calendars... but you guys already mentioned that.

Is $8+/month any easier? $2+/week? $0.33+/day? :)
I'm happy to pay for solid, secure, private features I can't get for free (or sometimes to avoid advertising based on searches of my private data). I don't judge on cost, but on worth.
For PC users, I think MobileMe has a much harder value prop. Back to my Mac and Mac Sync make it worthwhile to me all on their own.

How about document sync? Have some doc/ppt/whateverelsesupported pushed to the iPhone as soon as it's changed? Maybe even Google Docs integration...

SSH and/or SSL encrypted login sessions and data exchange for ALL synced data types.
Passwords alone are not strong enough.

iDisk integration.
to-do sync. Look, I know there are lots of todo programs for the iPhone, but why the heck can't apple sync tasks from iCal to MobileMe / the iPhone? (I wouldn't even use it... it just seems OBVIOUS?!)
Back to my mac for iPhone. It'd be like browsing your iDisk, except it'd work with any file on your Mac. If it's not a supported file, well, too bad.

Not sure if this is a MobileMe issue but I would love to have the ability to tell it when to sync, like BB does. I want to leave my phone on 24/7 but don't want emails coming through at night. Also, how about a read all, or delete all. The price is hard for me to swallow as well.

@Rene Ritchie
I'm happy to pay a reasonable price for an app or service. Simply put: I do not think MobileMe offers a service worthy of its current price-tag... at least as far as my personal needs are concerned.

My opinions. YMMV.
1.) Better Pricing Plan:
- While $99 for a single year is reasonable for the service when looked at on a cost per month basis requiring to pay it all in one fell swoop crushes that view. How about a monthly payment plan?
2.) Actual (non-mac) syncing capability.
- When they said “Exchange for the rest of us” what they really meant was “Exchange for the rest of us Mac users”. A significant portion of the iPhone users are tied to a Windows machine. Like it or not. Since most of use are tied to corporate email accounts and calendars Apple needs to REALLY focus on getting the WIRELESS sync to/from Outlook down and get around that whole "you can't sync because you're on an exchange server" issue. These days if you have to plug in to sync...consider it a fail.
3.) Google and Yahoo
- Those two entities alone account for WHAT percentage of personal email accounts? How about teaching their development teams how to work with wireless syncing of Tasks, Calendars and Contact lists? The only company that's even come close is RIM and that's only if you tie into a BES server. There are third party options like NuevaSync, yes, but all they're really doing is highlighting shortfalls in what should be base capability.
4.) iDisk
- Turn iDisk into a Mozy like archival service where your working files are maintained in multiple places at once. If I thought I could get all of the cloud syncing PLUS Mozy like backups...I'm there. (and would be willing to pay up to $20/$25 a month for an unlimited sync and archive package.)

A key feature I miss from my palm:
let me link a calendar event with a contact!
If I have a 2pm phone meeting with John, I should be able to click from the meeting record to his contact info.
Or from a calendar entry for "concert at the Jones Club", there should be an easy way to see the club's address & phone#.
I realize this would need to be a change throughout the iphone/mobileme/osx lineup but trust me it'll be worth it!

Oh, and I'm probably not the only person to wish I could just categorize a contact. Instead I try to add contacts into groups, but then most contacts I add from the iPhone end up not being in a group. And looking at any given contact there's no way to know what groups it's in (if any).
So for utility sake, give me an extra view in MobileMe to show me contacts that aren't currently in a group!

@Mashono- check out iPhonebang.com, there is a tutorial to get hotmail running. It's the 7th post down

I think iCal ToDos will come to the iPhone in the next major update. I just hope they put it in with the Calendar app and not a separate app.
I also foresee iTunes getting a new name (though maybe not right away), since it's not all about "tunes" anymore... just as the iMac name was changed to MobileMe when it became more about the Mac.

For anyone mentioning the price, it's pretty much identical to the top exchange servers out there. Well worth $100 a year. And like Rene said, Mac users will really think it's a deal for all that you get.

How about making it real fast and real stable across the World, i am constantly hearing about problems accessing email!!

There should be a slimmed down option that comes free with an iphone contract that just syncs email prefs, contacts and ical. This is all I use mobileme for as idisk is way too slow and quite unreliable. I'm just coming up to renewing my mobileme contract and can't decide too or not. I haven't used any of the photo sharing or disk space as there are free options out there that work far better faster and easier to use.

I'd just settle for being able to use my iDisk in Vista without having to remap it each time i log in

The ability to upload a folder of images/videos into iDisk then allow them to also be displayed in the gallery. Not everyone, but I'd like to be able to select a folder and say "yes display this one in the gallery".
I'm a PC user and I find the $99 price tag reasonable if you take into account how much a decent exchange account would cost plus 20gig online storage. Plus this way I get push email, contact and calendar sync and it leaves the exchange account free to connect to my works exchange server for emails.

A web based system that will work on any browser, plus snappy in use. return back to a clean web based layout (Google/Live) instead of the heavy dated desktop application look.
idisk uploads that completed and do not stall at 99%.
A web based calendar that doesn't freeze when in use
24/7 Telephone support
Reduced price $99 is too much compared to MS Live at $20... MS Live offers more a lot more for the price

Another "KILLER" Feature would be would be to make a folder in you iDisk available as a Personal Content Server for Stanza!!!!!!

This may not be a mobile me thing but I would just like to print a document or email from my iphone via Bluetooth or wifi.

It is possible to upload photos to a MobileMe gallery from the iPhone, but it requires you to set things up first from iPhoto. There's a great tutorial on this at Mac Guru Lounge.

I just want MobileMe to actually work with Windows. I've had nothing but trouble trying to get it to sync from the MM control panel. It has yet to do it. The push feature for incoming mail works fine and is the main reason why I got it. But this is like buying a Lexus and not getting it's toys to work. If they can make it more compatible with Windows, I'll be happy.

To be able to set up and sync alarms and attachments in the online MobileMe Calendar.
For the online MobileMe services to load faster, particularly the calendar. MS Outlook Web Access is much faster.
Keychains with password to not only sync via MobileMe but to be accessible from online and iPhone. I know 1password does this, but it is overly complicated.
For the Family Pack to allow sharing calendars and files.
Online Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Bento that can be edited.
Unlikely, but an online ITunes that I subscribe to for additional fee.
Maybe not MobileMe but Garageband or iTunes to add downloadable guitar tab/chord/lyrics that can sync to iPhone.

1) HTML mail text capabilities
2)Better compatibility with Windows browsers such as the oh-so-popular Mozilla Firefox
3) iDisk from iPhone
4)Ability to star/flag email!

mobileme is supposed to be the service to have your data at the same time in your pocket and in your desktop device, to not waste time coping, moving or uploading it, isn't it?
well, to have that i think the first step would be in the mac desktop apps, to merge ical, mail, contacts, to do, notes, keychain and chat in the same app. And it should have the same aspect and the same name in the iphone. Then, all this everyday communication dataflow has to be up to date in your desktop and in your pocket. this is where mobileme becomes important, and has to be stable, fast and 'real time'. This should be the free options for everybody.
Then, the paid version, could have other sync options based on an iDisc system, which allows you to access iphoto, itunes and office documents (googledocs style), etc.
I think this is the concept that would work for me.

As one of many Palm users starting my switchover to an iPod Touch, I'd really appreciate being able to sync at least once from the Palm Desktop directly to MobileMe.

The one and only thing that I want is to be able to use my own email address.
For the money they charge it's an absolute disgrace that you're locked into bloody me.com email addresses. A deal breaker...

A LIGHT version of MobileMe -- without MobileMe!
I am appalled to pay $350 CDN (over the duration of my phone contract) just to get Find My iPhone. That's more than the cost of the iPhone.
The rest of the service is totally redundant and replaces far better functionality that is already available for far less. As a PC user I can se absolutely no value in the rest of the service.

Server-side rules and filtering. Just that. If Apple supply that, I'm fully sold for life. The fact that MM doesn't include it already sucks. DO IT, APPLE!