updated 04:10 pm EST, Wed February 16, 2011
Rumor has MobileMe mimicking Ustream, Foursquare
Apple's future plans for MobileMe could involve more than just the media locker, a source rumored on Wednesday. The company would center it on a unified profile page that would merge social networks with media services. Among the plans caught by Cult of Mac would be status updates, including Foursquare-style location check-ins; it would not only host photos and videos but even offer live video streaming like Ustream or Qik.
Locations would be tagged with "tokens," similar to Facebook Places or comments, photos and to-do items on Foursquare. It might even offer deals for frequent visitors. Location awareness would come into play and give users an alert when a fellow group member is within five to 50 miles.
Apple's recent emphasis on tightly controlled privacy would be borne out here and would let users selectively decide what information goes out to the public profile. Very open users could even make their location public.
The goal would be to change users' MobileMe pages from static galleries to truly live pages. It would serve as a snapshot of a person's life at that moment. Internally, it's likened to a "webserver in your pocket," according to the tip.
While unconfirmed, the rumor would sync up with similarly unverified talk of a near-storageless iPhone tied to the cloud. Apple could keep the storage to a minimum but guarantee that the service, now rumored to be going free, would always have the most recent media and status updates.
The timing of the service wasn't given out, but technical issues would prevent a short term release. The new MobileMe is "complex" and isn't working well yet, the source claimed.
A unifying service as described would be reminiscent of a much more advanced version of Microsoft's Kin Studio but could also give Apple an edge over Android. Google already has services like Latitude for location, Hotpot for recommendations and Picasa for photos, but photos and other elements aren't linked together. Live streaming would be completely new and a way to get an edge over Android.
Website developers could be upset at the move, however. Apple's service could potentially supplant Foursquare, Ustream and others by providing many of the same tasks built-in. Google so far hasn't squeezed out competitors with its own integration, nor has Facebook Places snuffed Foursquare, but it wouldn't be as wide ranging.