Rumor: Will Apple make MobileMe free?

It's an unconfirmed tip with little more than "an air of credibility," but it's still fun to think about. Why a free MobileMe would be good for you.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

It's just a rumor, but wouldn't it be great if Apple decided to stop charging for MobileMe? Apple

From the Rumors We Want to Believe Dept., MacDailyNews reported Friday that "Apple is planning to make MobileMe free."

As most iPhone owners know, Apple currently charges $99 per year for the service, which keeps your data (e-mail, contacts, appointments, etc.) in sync between your devices, your PCs, and the Web. MobileMe also provides the potentially invaluable Find My iPhone and Remote Wipe features.

Tempting though all that may be, I've never pulled the trigger on a MobileMe subscription. That's in part because I hate subscriptions in general, and in part because I think $99 is unreasonable. Make it $29 and I'll bite.

Or, better yet, make it free. Could that really happen? At this point the evidence is flimsy at best. MacDailyNews cites only a "tip we cannot confirm," but notes that it has an "air of credibility."

The bigger question: Is this likely to happen? Let's break it down:

The rumor is true because:

  • Apple makes so much money from iPhones, apps, and the like (the company reported a $3.37 billion profit for the first quarter of 2010), it can afford to be magnanimous.
  • MobileMe hasn't exactly been a runaway success. Offering it for free would likely bring millions of new users to the service, potentially paving the way for Apple to sell other services.
  • Speaking of which, Apple recently shut down Lala, the streaming-music service it acquired about six months ago. Perhaps MobileMe will be bundled as part of a new content service that will roll out with iPhone OS 4.

The rumor is false because:

  • Apple never gives anything away.
  • Current MobileMe subscribers would likely go bananas, having paid their $99.

  • The MacDailyNews story includes nothing in the way of credible information. (Truth be told, we debated whether it was even worth reporting.)
  • Apple never gives anything away.

Make no mistake: I'd love to see this happen. I just don't think it's likely. What about you? Think Apple will turn MobileMe into MobileFree? Or is this just wishful thinking?