iPhone Life magazine

MobileMe

Apple's new Web-based service lets you push e-mail, contacts, calendar, and more to your iPhone, Mac, and PC.

If you have a computer at home, at work, and an iPhone, it can be difficult to keep all of your appointments and contacts up to date on all your machines. Apple's new MobileMe service helps to solve this problem by allowing users to have their e-mail, contacts, and calendar appointments pushed directly to their 
iPhone/iPod touch, Mac, or PC at the same time, without the need to dock and synchronize. In other words, whenever you make a change on one computer or device, such as add a new contact on your iPhone, that new contact is immediately pushed to your other computers over-the-air. Everything is updated automatically.

 

How it works

MobileMe uses an online server, or "cloud," to store all your e-mail, contacts, and calendar appointments. Whenever you make a change or addition, the cloud receives and redistributes the information to your computers automatically. It also pushes your e-mail to all of your computers automatically, so that you receive your mail as it arrives.

MobileMe works with the built-in software of Macs, PCs, and the iPhone/iPod touch. On Macs, this includes Mail, Address Book, and iCal. On PCs, it works with Microsoft Outlook in both Windows XP and Vista. For the iPhone/iPod touch, it works with the built-in applications.

 

Me.com Web apps

Another great feature of MobileMe is the ability to access all of your e-mail, calendar appointments, and contacts from any location over the Internet. This is possible through me.com, where you log in to your account and use the MobileMe suite of Web applications that includes Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Gallery, and iDisk. These apps are easy to use and are similar to desktop software, and any changes you make here will be reflected in Mail, Outlook, and your other desktop software automatically.

Gallery and iDisk are two of the Web apps included at me.com. Gallery is a place where you can upload and organize your photos and even allow friends to view your photo albums and upload their own pictures to them. iDisk is an online hard drive where you can store, access, and share files.

 

The MobileMe plan

The MobileMe service is available in two different options through a yearly subscription. The Individual plan is a one-year subscription of full access to the MobileMe service for $99 and includes 20 GB of e-mail and file storage and 200 GB of data transfer per month. The Family Pack is $149 and includes one Individual account plus four Family Member accounts, each including a separate e-mail address, 5 GB of e-mail and file storage, and 50 GB of data transfer per month.

You can add extra storage for mail, file sharing, Web publishing, and more. An additional 20 GB is $49, an extra 40 GB is $99.

For more info on MobileMe, visit apple.com/mobileme

 

Other Options

4SmartPhone (4smartphone.net): A service that provides push e-mail, contacts, calendar appointments, and tasks.SugarSync (sugarsync.com): View and share documents and share photo albums, even if your computers are turned off.Funambol (funambol.com): An open source push e-mail, PIM sync, and device management service.PowerFolder (powerfolder.com): Provides file syncing, sharing, backup, and remote storage.IBackup (ibackup.com): Navigate between folders, share files/folders, and view documents and images on a mobile device.