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Apple introduces MobileMe "push" internet service

Alongside the iPhone 3G, Apple on Monday introduced MobileMe, a new Internet service that delivers push email, push contacts and push calendars from the MobileMe service in the "cloud" to native applications on iPhone, iPod touch, Macs and PCs.

MobileMe, which replaces the company's ailing .Mac service, also provides a suite of rich Web 2.0 applications that deliver a desktop-like experience through any modern browser, including Mail, Contacts and Calendar. A Gallery for viewing and sharing photos, as well as an iDisk app for storing and exchanging documents online, are also included.

"Think of MobileMe as 'Exchange for the rest of us,'" said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. "Now users who are not part of an enterprise that runs Exchange can get the same push email, push calendars and push contacts that the big guys get."

With a MobileMe email account, all folders, messages and status indicators look identical whether checking email on iPhone, iPod touch, a Mac or a PC. New email messages are pushed instantly to iPhone over the cellular network or Wi-Fi, removing the need to manually check email and wait for downloads. Push also keeps contacts and calendars continuously up-to-date so changes made on one device are automatically pushed up to the cloud and down to other devices.

Push works with the native applications on iPhone and iPod touch, Microsoft Outlook for the PC, and Mac OS X applications, Mail, Address Book and iCal, as well as the MobileMe web application suite.

MobileMe web applications are 100 percent ad-free and provide a desktop-like experience that allows users to drag and drop, click and drag, and even use keyboard shortcuts, all in a unified interface. Users can even switch between applications with a single click and use the Gallery web app to share photos in high quality.

MobileMe's Mail Web Interface.
iPhone 3G
MobileMe's Contact Web Interface.
iPhone 3G
MobileMe's Calendar Web Interface.
iPhone 3G
MobileMe's Gallery Web Interface.
iPhone 3G
MobileMe's iDisk Web Interface.

Using any browser, the new Gallery web application allows users to upload, rearrange, rotate and title photos; post photos directly from an iPhone; allow visitors to download print quality images; and contribute photos to an album.

Meanwhile, MobileMe iDisk lets users store and manage files online with drag and drop filing. The iDisk web application also makes it easy to share documents too large to email by automatically sending an email with a link for downloading the file.

MobileMe includes 20GB of online storage that can be used for email, contacts, calendar, photos, movies and documents. The service is set to launch on July 11 alongside iPhone 3G, with a yearly subscription fee of $99 for individuals and $149 for a Family Pack. The Family Pack includes one master account with 20GB of storage and four Family Member accounts with 5GB of storage each. MobileMe subscribers can purchase an additional 20GB of storage for $49 or 40GB of storage for $99 annually.

Users who wish to try out the service with no obligation can sign up for a free 60-day MobileMe trial. Current .Mac members will be automatically upgraded to MobileMe accounts.

Using an iPhone or iPod touch with MobileMe requires iPhone 2.0 software and the soon-to-be-released iTunes 7.7 or later. For use with a Mac, MobileMe requires Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11 or the latest version of Mac OS X Leopard. For a PC, MobileMe requires Windows Vista or Windows XP Home or Professional (SP2), and Microsoft Outlook 2003 or later is recommended.

MobileMe is accessible on the web via Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, and Firefox 2 or later. Internet access requires a compatible ISP; fees may apply. Broadband Internet connection recommended. Some features require Mac OS X Leopard and iLife '08.

A Guided Tour of the MobileMe service is available at