Posts tagged “launch”.

Why I’ll be canceling my MobileMe trial account

December 4th, 2008

If first impressions are everything, then MobileMe never had a chance.

After I bought my iPhone 3G, I signed up for the trial MobileMe account. Back then, it was only a 60-day free trial, but Apple soon added 30 days onto that, and then 30 days onto that, after MobileMe’s launch arrived like a lead balloon.

The idea seemed swell enough: sync your Address Book, iCal, and Mail settings and entries with the ever-present Cloud, and your iPhone. But since July, I’ve run into more problems than solutions, and MobileMe has been a frustrating mess.

My free trial is up on Monday, Dec. 8. I’m going to cancel my account.

Looking back, I never really needed MobileMe to begin with. trashmobilemeBecause I plug my iPhone into my Mac almost every night, any new entries in either iCal or Address Book get synced each way – from the iPhone to my Mac, and from my Mac to my iPhone. I don’t need the “push” capabilities MobileMe claimed to offer because my syncing schedule was fast enough.

It’s too bad. Apple had a big uphill effort replacing the .Mac service. MobileMe seemed like a decent-enough resolution to everyone’s complaints against .Mac: not much storage, lackluster syncing, no star features that made it seem worth the $99 annual subscription. With it’s modern browser interface and over-the-air syncing, MobileMe looked great on paper. In practice, however, it failed to live up to my expectations.

Maybe it was a lack of habit, but I never found myself missing MobileMe when I wasn’t using it (which was often). If I used my iPhone and Mac for business, the cloud syncing might seem like a bigger deal. But I had a system down, and it worked just fine for me.

The one feature that did catch my eye was the photo sharing galleries. My friend’s wedding photographer put together a beautiful presentation (the subjects helped) using MobileMe’s slideshow capabilities. But again: I don’t really need it. Flickr works just fine as a photo-sharing environment for me. I can make slideshows with Flickr that look fine for my needs. I’m not a wedding photographer. I don’t need anything fancy.

Another thing that bothered me? The fact that iDisk iDisk Sync [thanks commenters!] takes up the 10 GB of space from my hard drive. Maybe I’m a rare case, but when I launch iDisk, it takes away whatever space is available away from my Mac’s “available” space. Why store things on a fragile cloud when my hard drive works just fine? I love the idea behind iDisk, but my iBook is cramped enough without taking that additional 10 GB away.

Apple’s solution? Don’t use iDisk Sync.

The launch didn’t help things. We all remember that, right? The big outage that first weekend. How it took weeks and weeks of Apple tinkering to get even basic services like e-mail up and running for all MobileMe users. For a while there, MobileMe seemed like a big embarrassing misshap for Apple – right up there with the big system outage for the iPhone 3G’s launch. That kind of thing can leave a bad taste in the mouth. I guess it’s never gone away for me.

Part of me is skeptical about this “cloud computing” stuff. I understand that Google seems to have it down, barring Gmail outages, and – lord bless them – Microsoft is working on their own cloud syncing projects. But Google apps like Gmail are hooked up to my, which runs from my desktop, and I don’t often make appointments or add contacts through a web browser. That stuff lives on my Mac. I like that I can edit a contact’s information on my iPhone and the change gets logged in Address Book in OS X. There’s no extra log-in-to-the-web-service involved.

If I had several Macs strung out over several locations, with only my iPhone in common, the idea behind MobileMe could come in handy. Backing up my data to the cloud? Sure. Do it all the time. But easy and reliable syncage still seems to be a giant Work In Progress. I’m not yet impressed.

So thanks for the couple of free months, Apple, but I’m saying “no thanks” to MobileMe. Maybe some day I’ll find a use for it – one where I can justify renewing my subscription. Right now, though, I can’t see any good reason to keep MobileMe around. It’s either been a thorn in my side or a non-starter, and life’s too short for either of those.

NewtVid: the iPhone cometh at Macworld 2007

November 5th, 2008

This Macworld keynote from Steve Jobs, as he announced the original iPhone in January 2007, remains one of the best ever.

Now we learn that Apple has breached the 10 million iPhone mark, with 7 million iPhone sold last quarter alone, I think it’s pretty cool to look back and see how all this started. It still gives me chills when he lets his crowd in on the joke.

NewtVid: iPhone 3G launch in Ann Arbor

August 12th, 2008

It seems like forever ago now, but all the fun we had on iPhone 3G launch day comes back to me when I watch that video.

The “don’t-you-feel-bad” guys are T-Mobile reps, who had the bad luck of being stationed next to an Apple store at the Briarwood Mall. They had one customer the whole time I was there. T-Mobile shoppers were either too intimidated or too horrified at the gross consumerism to step foot at their home base.

Good times. Relive the madness of that weird day in July, a whole month ago, when I reported from the front lines.

MobileMe and iPhone 3G troubles roundup

July 11th, 2008

3G Epilogue: pics from the day

July 11th, 2008

Made it home safe and sound, and finding out news about the server crashes have spread like wildfire. I helped break the news over at Macenstein, but I think everyone eventually got the message.

The iPhone 3G launch was a worldwide event. Something had to go wrong. It’s too bad that “something” was of this magnitude.

More… »

Ann Arbor Apple Store: 11:15 a.m. back in business.

July 11th, 2008

An Apple rep came out and said the servers are up, but it’s been “up and down” – he said this while giving the roller coaster motion with his hand.

Seems with MobileMe problems and now this, Apple has its hands full.

The line is moving, but super slowly. We haven’t moved in probably 10-15 minutes, but people are walking out of the store with phones again.

The nice lady next to me is off to grab a cookie. Meanwhile, my iBook’s battery is just about out, so more updates when I get into the store and can access an iMac.

Cisco / Linksys iPhone putts along.

December 15th, 2007

Today at work we had a Santa visit thing, and a dad whips out an iPhone to take a picture of his daughter. It got me thinking: “What ever happened to that OTHER iPhone?”

Turns out it’s still being sold by Linksys, who got bought out by Cisco – and for a pretty decent price (it’s even on sale at

What is that other iPhone? Back when Apple was announcing their iPhone, Cisco said they had owned the rights to the name since 1996, and were planning on releasing their Skype-based model back in January. Then they sued Apple for trademark infringement, and the two agreed they could both use the iPhone name as long as they didn’t step on each other’s lawn (but I’m sure some of Steve Jobs’s excellent negotiation skills have something to do with it).

Cisco’s iPhone sounds like a pretty cool deal: hook up with Skype over wifi without needing to hook up to a computer. It’s not as fancy as the Apple iPhone – no music or touchscreen or PDA-like options – but it was never meant to be a direct competitor.

I searched around Amazon to see what actual buyers were saying about it, and it was a mixed bag. Some complained about dropping wifi connections and missing calls, especially with Vista, while other glowed about the “other” iPhone:

We have a lot of family all over the world, and this phone frees us up completely from our computer. With WiFi, we can get all our Skype calls anywhere in our home at any time. The only drawback is the battery life, which lets the phone last only 2 days max between charges. Otherwise, we operate it virtually the same as any cell phone…Without a doubt, the Skype phone has allowed us to keep in touch with people all over the world for virtually free. All our calls are free, and the sound quality is excellent.

So there you have it. Linksys/Cisco keeps cranking them out, and Skype users keep calling grandma in Poland.

And guess what? There’s yet a third iPhone out – this one by e-blue. Only it’s spelled “i-Phone.” See that dash? That stands for originality.