In a charming display of hindsight, Apple has described the improvements and updates to MobileMe that rolled out in September 2008. The improvements were mostly tweaks (“Provides a ‘loading’ graphic to indicate that messages are still being loaded instead of a blank page”) although some were potential showstoppers (“Resolves an issue where attempting to add contacts from MobileMe mail was not working” and “Clicking Logout from Account now fully logs you out of MobileMe”).
Why, however, describe all this right now? Well, the initial MobileMe launch was a disaster and the product is quite complex. It is, in short, a copy of OS Xs basic PIM tools like Mail.app and Address Book on a web-based platform, something Microsoft is aiming to do in the next few years/months and something Google is doing amazingly well as evidenced by GMail and their online office suite.
MobileMe is a strong product. I’ve used both iterations for years and if you’re willing to pay a premium it works will as a data and setting storage system. I know there are plenty of other sites out there that do the same thing, but convincing users to use a service tied to your OS and, in this case, hardware, is the Holy Grail of software sales. There’s a reason Microsoft is putting so much effort into improving the XBox Live experience: the users need to know paying $X per year is worth it an $X per year per X million users – simply because you’re running a server farm for them – is a formula for spinning gold.