Free MobileMe!

The iPad in the Eyes of the Digerati

Tim O’Reilly makes an important point beyond iPad:

Media and application syncing across iPhone and iPad is poorly thought out. MobileMe, which should be Apple’s gateway drug for lock-in to Apple services, is instead sold as an add-on to a small fraction of Apple’s customer base. If Apple wants to win, they need to understand the power of network effects in Internet services. They need to sacrifice revenue for reach, taking the opportunity of their early lead to tie users ever more closely to Apple services.

I’ve been saying two things for many years now:

1. Whatever Apple offers as an online service for it’s users should be free and built into the experience of using its devices. When you get a Mac, iPad, or iPhone or any current or future Apple device that can communicate via the internet, you get a free Apple account with email, syncing technologies to connect all of your devices and a bit of storage, both public and private to share your information with others. This is such a no-brainer for Apple I find it hard to believe that Steve Jobs has allowed this deficiency to sit for so long, seemingly untouched.

2. Most products that Apple has offered as online services have been terrible: eWorld, .mac, MobileMe all suffered and suffer from a seeming inability to take in the best of what’s going on outside of Apple and use the great stuff to make Apple’s offerings even better.

When many of us were ditching AOL for the freewheeling internet and web, Apple was still struggling to offer proprietary and expensive services for Macintosh users to hold them in. It was a mistake and Apple continues to make this mistake with MobileMe.

What holds us in is the great design, the ease of use, and our love of these great products. Making MobileMe better and free would encourage and support people buying even more Apple hardware knowing that moving information between devices is easy and free.

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