On June 6, 2011, Apple’s MobileMe service died a quiet death. This death came at the hands of Apple’s new cloud offering, iCloud, and with the blaring notes of James Brown’s “I Feel Good”. Now, while Apple device users are delving into what’s available in the new, free cloud service, MobileMe users are left wondering: what happened?
At WWDC in San Francisco, Steve Jobs and his heavy-hitters were on hand to unveil their new cloud solution. It was a big day for Apple, and Steve Jobs was suitably cheery in his standard long-sleeved black shirt and jeans, happily telling those in attendance that he had a solution for keeping their devices in sync, all the time, one that was more than just a “hard disk in the sky”. Instead, said Jobs, “we’re going to move the center of your digital life into the cloud.”
The details of the iCloud certainly sound promising, with things like computer-free iOS device setup and updating and the iMessage app set to make the lives of Apple users much simpler. No longer will those with iPads and iPhones be tied to their computers by short, white cables, and no longer will Apple device users be mocked for their lack of accessible, free, messaging functions.
But along with the shiny new-ness of iCloud came the sad news that MobileMe, Apple’s subscription-based set of Web services, will be phasing out in the next year. The original MobileMe Web page on the Apple site now informs visitors that the service will no longer be accepting subscribers, and current subscribers will see their service end as of June 30, 2012.
In an effort to placate those who have a MobileMe account, Apple has extended the time on all such accounts to run until the service’s end-date in 2012, and although some of the services that MobileMe currently offers will make the jump to iCloud, there will be a number left behind. Current users will be able to keep their MobileMe email addresses when they move to the cloud, and Apple states they will be able to move their contacts, calendars and bookmarks as well. Familiar features like Back to My Mac and Find My iPhone will remain in iCloud, but iWeb, along with all of its web-publishing functionality, is disappearing.
Apple’s iWeb page still has the tag line “Web design for the rest of us”, and doesn’t make mention of the fact that the service will be gone in less than a year. The transition FAQ for MobileMe indicates that “you can easily move a site published to MobileMe to another Web hosting service,” and makes it quite clear that despite iCloud’s broad array of features, support for MobileMe and iWeb-published Web sites is not among them. Of course, the refrain heard from Apple is that iCloud is free, where MobileMe was not, though for those that need more than 5GB of storage on iCloud, a fee will apply.
What’s interesting about the lack of iWeb hosting is the seeming disinterest from Apple in creating an option to replace it. They claim moving to another Web hosting provider will be “simple”, and with Apple’s track record, that is likely true. Strange here is the fact that Apple doesn’t seem to care about retaining hosting customers, and is fine with their business going elsewhere. More than any other move in the last few months by Apple, this speaks to their dedication to the cloud as the “new technology” of choice, something other companies should take note of.
Apple is typically on the forefront of technological change, and large, public clouds have been simmering on the back burner for years while Internet gurus claim they are the “next big thing”. Now, with Apple finally releasing a user-based, free public cloud service and in large part abandoning their stake in Web hosting, there can be no mistaking their intentions. Steve Jobs has seen what the cloud can do, and he’s determined to put an “i” in front of it.
If you use iWeb hosting, you’ll have to make a change in the next year if you want to keep publishing your Web site, since iCloud won’t support what you need. While Apple may “feel good” about their new direction, only time will tell if abandoning Web hosting will prove to be fortune or folly.
If you are one of many that will be left high and dry when Apple shuts the doors on iWeb you can “feel good” about it. This is your chance to take control. The Customer Care department at myhosting.com has been prepped and is ready to help you migrate your websites from iWeb/MobileMe to your own web hosting server. The best part is that you get to continue using the iWeb application to create and manage your websites and the only difference is that you’ll publish the site to your own web hosting server instead of MobileMe. Sign up for our Basic Web Hosting plan and have your website online in only a few minutes.
***Update: Visit our iWeb publishing tutorial for instructions on how to publish your iWeb web site to your myhosting.com account.