Apple apologizes for its MobileMe "push" service (Update)

Apple has struck out on its MobileMe service. It's not what it claims to be.

Apple is the master of hype. Normally, it lives up to that hype. But in its 3G iPhone launch and now with its MobileMe synchronization service, Apple has fallen down. Flat.

Billed as an upgrade to Apple's .Mac service (to which I have subscribed for years), MobileMe is anything but . In fact, as The Register reports, it's not even the push email service that it purports to be. It's IMAP, just as .Mac was.

Email is managed through IMAP, and strictly speaking is pulled by polling the IMAP servers every minute, though that gives a reasonable impression of being pushed....

[C]hanges made using the desktop application are not instantly or automatically reflected on the iPhone or within The Cloud. Such changes need to wait for a synchronisation process, a lag of up to 15 minutes, before they are propagated between the platforms. Not only that but anyone trying to use some of the more advanced IMAP capabilities, such as the APPEND command, will find the MobileMe service unaware that any changes have been made to their e-mail account, at least until a good-old SMTP delivery triggers notification.

Is it really that big of a deal? Perhaps not. But it's also false advertising on Apple's part, and an unworthy "upgrade" on a service that for years has only had one major benefit: The name ".mac." I don't want a lame ".me" email address, and I'm finding that I don't really benefit from the changes to the .Mac service.

Are you getting more mileage from MobileMe?

UPDATE: I just received this from Apple:

We have recently completed the transition from .Mac to MobileMe. Unfortunately, it was a lot rockier than we had hoped.

Although core services such as Mail, iDisk, Sync, Back to My Mac, and Gallery went relatively smoothly, the new MobileMe web applications had lots of problems initially. Fortunately we have worked through those problems and the web apps are now up and running.

Another snag we have run into is our use of the word "push" in describing everything under the MobileMe umbrella. While all email, contact or calendar changes on the iPhone and the web apps are immediately synced to and from the MobileMe "cloud," changes made on a PC or Mac take up to 15 minutes to sync with the cloud and your other devices. So even though things are indeed instantly pushed to and from your iPhone and the web apps today, we are going to stop using the word "push" until it is near-instant on PCs and Macs, too.

We want to apologize to our loyal customers and express our appreciation for their patience by giving all current subscribers an automatic 30-day extension to their MobileMe subscription free of charge. Your extension will be reflected in your account settings within the next few weeks.

We hope you enjoy your new suite of web applications at me.com, in addition to keeping your iPhone and iPod touch wirelessly in sync with these new web applications and your Mac or PC.

Wow. Apple...apologizing. That's newsworthy!

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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