Sure, when I gripe about my MobileMe experience and suggest that people hold-off on adopting Apple’s new “push data” service, few listen (or cared). But, when Walt Mossberg goes on record as saying that MobileMe isn’t yet ready for prime-time, the world listens (and probably cares). Such is life in the blogosphere.
Am I bitter? Perhaps. Am I wrong about MobileMe essentially marring what could have been a fantastic dual-product launch from Apple? Apparently not.
Service blunders have had MobileMe sputtering along with unreliable email delivery, laggy web-based interface, ridiculous billing errors, and misleading push data features. But, the sad truth is that the root of the problem lies in Apple’s insistence on forcing their MobileMe customer to play only within their designated MobileMe sandbox.
MobileMe email can only be sent to and from the @me.com email address that comes bundled with the service. Changes to Calendar and Contacts data on your computer don’t immediately push to your other devices (like that iPhone 3G in your pocket). Add to that MobileMe’s awkward PC-syncing issues, and you’ve got a recipe for a disappointing experience.
Don’t get me wrong. MobileMe has incredible potential. But, until Apple can figure out how to deliver a push-data service that actually works while putting more emphasis on the user and less on controlling the experience, MobileMe will continue to flounder.
Sidenote: Apple might believe that their successful philosophy of controlling the user experience on hardware like the iPhone can carry over in to web-based services. But, it should be more and more obvious to Cupertino that a locked-down service doesn’t affect the same experience as a locked-down device.