For those who have been subscribers of the Apple Internet utilities suite for years the change to iCloud is most likely a mixed bag. While we are excited about what new features, we cannot help but lament pieces of the service that we've come to know and love that are not going to be a part of iCloud. In this post we take a look at some .Mac and MobileMe features we love, what we're excited about in iCloud, and what we currently have with MobileMe that is going away with iCloud. Dear readers, consider this your primer on the MobileMe to iCloud transition.
A .Mac subscriber since 2003, it was with much trepidation that we transitioned against our free will to MobileMe clutching our .Mac email address all the while. Although many might balk at the price of this suite of products from Apple, we have been quite content with our email, web host, extra backup, and sync services for a price we consider rather reasonable, $99. While we are happy that iCloud is free, we are not completely convinced, as we look at another transition that might make the service we love and rely on unrecognizable.
What we loved about .Mac:
- E-mail- We still retain our .Mac email address and it has been a constant in our college & post college lives. We like using our .Mac with Mail and although we also have a Gmail address we find our .Mac address is still our primary email address in our professional lives and hearts.
- HomePage: The WYSIWYG website builder was handy for whipping up impressive (at the time) sites for college projects. We also loved using it to share photos from trips with loved ones instead of emailing them images.
- iDisk + Backup: Our first cloud backup option, iDisk coupled with Backup made it easily to make sure important files were kept safe offsite.
- iCards: Although not the most cutting edge design wise, iCards were a great way to send salutations and virtual cards that were not incredibly cheesy.
What we love about MobileMe:
- Web hosting: Using iWeb with MobileMe has been a no-brainer and a simple way for us to get numerous sites online. My mom not known for her tech savvy has fallen in love with this solution for its simplicity and loves showing off websites that she has built without any input from her kids.
- Gallery: Sending images from our iPads and iPhones directly to the Gallery has made sharing photos quickly a "snap." The design of the gallery is clean and simple and although we are not thrilled with how it integrated with iDisk we are happy that it exists.
- Find my iPhone: We have used this locating of portable device feature numerous times and the locking and messaging feature has helped one of our devices make its way back to us (the person who had the device admitted he was compelled to return it to its owner because of the lock screen and nice message).
- Storage: The 20GB of storage have been quite helpful by being our cloud backup provider for a select group of files and for being our flash drive in the sky. It is not an exaggeration to say that we use our iDisk every day, several times a day.
- Sync: Having our Mac Dashboard widgets, keychains, Dock items, and System Preferences sync has made our lives so much easier since we daily use multiple machines. Of course having our emails, address book, and calendar sync is pretty brilliant as well.
What we're excited about in iCloud:
- Photo Stream: Images taken on one device syncing the rest, what's not to love? We are eager to see how well this works out since we are avid iPhoneographers and would love to cut out the whole sending to Gallery or emailing of images to get them on our Mac.
- iTunes in the Cloud: While slightly dubious about how well this will work in the USA, we are intrigued by the idea and are willing to give it a shot since it costs us nothing to try.
- Documents in the Cloud: We use our iPad often for typing up notes and working on documents, it will be nice not having to iDisk them or email them to get them on our other devices.
- App Sync: Not having to manually sync and download apps that we purchased on one device to get them on another will be nice.
What we hope Apple won't change:
- E-mail: Our .Mac email addresses
- Space: 20 GB of online storage space for less than $99 a year
- Backup: How incredibly easy it is to choose files to backup
What we'll miss:
- Web hosting: To say that we will miss the easy iWeb hosting would be a massive understatement.
- iDisk: While this new "on the Cloud" features are interesting in iCloud we will miss the simplicity of having 20 GB or so of storage mounted on our desktops that we have come to rely on all these years.
- Gallery: Our friends and family members have the location of our galleries bookmarked and it will be more than a little inconvenient to build up that photo storage sharing location again.
- Sync: We know that email, contacts and calendar sync will remain, but we will miss the Mac Dashboard widgets, keychains, Dock items, and System Preferences syncing in a big way.
Options to fill in the missing features (MobileMe features ending on June 30, 2012):
- Evernote: We use Evernote daily and think that with the lack of iDisk our use of this helpful note taking and syncing app will increase.
- Dropbox: With iDisk going away, our use of Dropbox is most likely to increase. We have not been terribly impressed with how it integrates with our iOS devices and hope that it will improve and fill in for iDisk by June of 2012.
- Dreamhost: There are certainly a myriad of web hosts out there, but we opted for Dreamhost thanks to recommendations from fellow Apartment Therapy writers, their great customer service, and fantastic price ($9.24 for a year). While not as painless as the iWeb + MobileMe combination, using Dreamhost with iWeb is relatively simple and is better than opting for abandoning iWeb altogether which we are not ready to do for all of our sites.
- Google Services: While we currently do use Google Docs, Gmail, and Google Calendar, our use is minimal compared to how often we use the services provided by MobileMe. With the vanishing of iDisk, we speculate that our use of the Google suite of options will increase and we hope for better iOS integration and a cleaner interface from Google in 2012.
What are your thoughts on the MobileMe to iCloud transition? Do you have any suggestions for tools to use to fill in the hole left by iCloud?