The single and family license packs of MobileMe have gone AWOL in Apple online and retail stores and according to AppleInsider resellers have been advised that these products have been declared end-of-life by Apple. Apple’s MobileMe service is running fine, but the $99 annual package has disappeared from both virtual and physical shelves in what some reckon is a prelude to the service going free.
Resellers were notified today that retail versions of MobileMe will no longer be sold in store, and that resellers are able to continue selling their current supply until they run out. This news is both welcome and a little concerning at the same time. On the surface, digital application distribution is by far the most convenient way to get applications these days. I can’t remember the last time I purchased software in store. Wait, I lied. I bought the latest iLife when it shipped, but that was only because it was only available in store at the time.
The service caters to Windows PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad owners, who use it to synchronize address books, calendars and e-mail between devices. The service also offers 20GB of online storage space, as well as Web-based e-mail, calendar and contact applications. MobileMe, which was priced at $99 for a single user membership and $149 for a five-user family pack, has disappeared from Apple’s e-store. Search results from, say, Google, now lead to invalid pages on Apple’s site.
This may also be a move towards a partially free MobileMe. We heard yesterday that Apple is planning to use the North Carolina data center for iTunes and MobileMe in the spring. If the rumors are true, we could see a lot of the features of MobileMe offered up for free as early as Spring 2011.
Apple certainly has big plans for its cloud-based synchronisation service, and the company has already said that its new, huge data centre in North Carolina will be iTunes related. The New York Times has already said that Apple is going to start bundling access to MobileMe with its hardware, but the same report refers to the half-size iPhone, which has since been dismissed by many Apple watchers.