RIP MobileMe And iWork.com
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
As one season passes, another begins, and so goes the setting to rest of Apple’s MobileMe and iWork.com as iCloud takes over syncing duties for Apple devices.
Often regarded as a mistake and one of Apple’s rare failures under the reign of Steve Jobs, MobileMe, the service which synced calendars, emails and photos between devices, was supposed to be Apple’s victorious entry into the cloud.
Instead, the service was often spotty for many users, and even incurred the wrath of Jobs on more than one occasion. In a closed-doors employee-only meeting about MobileMe, Jobs once famously started by asking those in attendance “Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?”
A few employees offered up simple answers, only to be met with an angry Jobs, yelling, “So why the F*ck doesn’t it do that?”
This news hasn’t caught anyone by surprise, of course. Apple announced the death of MobileMe and iWork.com after the first iCloud announcement, giving subscribers to these services ample time to move their data, hopefully to an iCloud account. MobileMe was announced June of 2008 and promised to sync data between iPhones, iPod Touches and Macs.
It was laid to rest nearly 4 years later on June 30, 2012. Though MobileMe is officially deceased, users can still fetch their data and move to an iCloud account for a limited time.
iWork.com, on the other hand, was introduced in January of 2009 as a part of an iWork software update. iWork, Apple’s productivity suite of software, includes Keynote, Numbers and Pages. iWork.com allowed users to move documents from these applications to the cloud to collaborate and share them with others. This functionality is also performed by iCloud, rendering the service redundant, if not altogether pointless. Today, Apple sent all iWork.com users an email, saying, “Dear iWork.com user, Remember, as of July 31, 2012, you will no longer be able to access your documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web. We recommend that you sign in to iWork.com before July 31, 2012, and download all your documents to your computer.”
Of course, Apple also hopes those iWork.com users who aren’t already signed up for their next iteration of cloud syncing will sign up for iCloud to take advantage of similar document collaboration and sharing.
Downloading your cloud-based documents is easy enough. Simply sign in, then click the download button next to each file to store on your computer as either a Pages ’09 file, .pdf, or Word file.
As MobileMe takes its long trip to the bottom of the digital sea, most will likely remember the service as a failure. A costly $99 per year, MobileMe suffered data loss and downtime, resulting in several apologies for the service. Steve Jobs even said the launch of MobileMe was “not Apple’s finest hour.” He even claimed the service was “not up to Apple’s standards.”
As such, directly after the iCloud announcement and demo, the memories of MobileMe haunted those who had been burned by the service, causing many to wonder if Apple could ever pull off a cloud solution that worked as it was announced. So far, iCloud has been slowly rolled out, performing most of what Apple had promised. The July 31st day of death for iWork.com is not an insignificant one. Mountain Lion, Apple’s newest Mac OS X, will bring the iWork.com functionality to iCloud and the iWork suite. Mountain Lion is set to launch sometime in July, giving Apple the opportunity to seamlessly transition from one cloud service to another, should all go well.