Interviews with ex-staff suggest failures start at top
After the negative reaction to Maps in iOS 6, the spotlight has once again shone on some of Apple's other large-scale service-based failures. Interviews with former employees, carried out by the New York Times, suggest that a set of repeated failures in Internet services stems from the top.
20GB accounts may be shrunk without paid subscriptions
Apple is starting to notify some ex-MobileMe users of impending downgrades to their iCloud accounts. When Apple began pushing people to transition away from MobileMe, they were given temporary 20GB iCloud accounts as an incentive. The new email memos state that unless people pay for higher-end iCloud subscriptions, their accounts will be downgraded to the free 5GB tier on September 30th. Apple had originally set a June 30th deadline, but moved the date in May.
Time running out to backup data stored in galleries, iDisk
More than a year after the announcement of iCloud, Apple is starting to shut down MobileMe-related servers. Reports have started to surface of Apple support personnel telling customers that accounts that have not been migrated will be deleted, possibly as soon as the end of business today. MacNN received conflicting information from Apple support representatives regarding the exact day of the shutdown, ranging from a confirmation of the end of day report, to "sometime later in the year." Regardless of support-provided information, the MobileMe service has been officially closed since June 30, and any data still on the service is at risk of loss, and should be retrieved immediately.
Troubled service makes way for iCloud
On Sunday, Apple carried forward with promises and officially shut down Mobile Me. Me.com now displays a swinging "closed" sign, as well as links to help users migrate to iCloud, or download files from a Mobile Me Gallery page or iDisk. One limited function provided by the site is finding missing iOS devices tied to me.com email addresses. Apple notes that people only have a "limited time" to migrate or download content from Mobile Me, but isn't any more specific.
Users must download and move materials
Apple wants MobileMe users to know that they have just 30 days left to download a copy of their iPhoto Gallery pictures, iWeb websites and iDisk stored files before the service is shuttered permanently. To that end, the company has emailed a large yellow countdown sign reading "30 days left" to users as a blatant reminder. Though the free iCloud takes on some of the features of MobileMe, these three areas have not been carried over and will disappear at the end of this month.
Mobile Me ending
Users of Apple's soon-to-be-defunct Mobile Me cloud service have reportedly begun receiving notifications from Apple that the service is on its last legs. A tweet reblogged by 9to5mac shows what appears to be a screenshot of a notification from Apple, warning a user that his Mobile Me service will be expiring at the end of June. The Notification directs the user to visit me.com/move in order to migrate data to an iCloud account.
Move to iCloud accompanied by headaches, says plaintiff
A new class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple in California, accusing the company of "unfair, unlawful, deceptive, and misleading practices" in promoting iCloud, according to AppleInsider. The case -- filed on behalf of Danyelle Comer in the US District Court for the Northern District of California -- specifically targets Apple for failing to properly transition paid Mobile Me subscribers over to iCloud. "Throughout the migration, Apple failed to adequately ensure that features Mobile Me users were paying for would be accessible, including access to their e-mail accounts for which customers pay additional fees," complaint documents read. "As a result, numerous Mobile Me users suffered damage from the inability to access their individual accounts."
Me.com email to continue after MobileMe's end
Apple will announce several new iCloud feature upgrades at June's WWDC, claim sources for the Wall Street Journal. One of the highlights is expected to be photo sharing. While users can currently sync photos via Photo Stream, these are only accessible under the same Apple ID. The sharing feature would not only allow people to make photosets public, but to make comments on others' collections.
Apple entices transitions to iCloud
Apple's effort to complete its sunsetting of MobileMe continued today, with the company quietly announcing an extension of its offer to MobileMe users of 20GB of free storage on iCloud. MobileMe subscribers switching to iCloud will receive 20GB of free storage until September 30, 2012.
Free upgrade still only available for Intel Macs
Users of Intel Macs that have not, for one reason or another, yet upgraded to either Snow Leopard or Lion may be rewarded for their lethargy: an e-mail sent out to qualifying MobileMe customers offers them a free copy of Snow Leopard so that they can then upgrade to Lion and maintain their MobileMe account and address through iCloud. Respondent simply click on a special link to log into their MobileMe accounts and are directed to a registration form.
Germany says Motorola ban valid for now
A Mannheim court on Friday reinforced an earlier decision to allow Motorola's ban on iCloud and MobileMe in Germany. The ruling on push services demands that Apple pays Motorola an unspecified amount of damages. Devices themselves are so far unaffected.
Apple fails in appeal of German push patent suit
Apple's appeal to the ban of push notifications in Germany after a legal spat with Motorola fell on deaf ears this past Wednesday. The ban will continue for a time of at least one year, keeping Apple legally prohibited from using its push notification feature for its iCloud and outgoing MobileMe services. The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court made the ruling, supporting Motorola's claim to the patent related to push e-mail notifications.
Apple forced to drop push e-mail service
Apple has failed in its legal bid to stop Motorola from forcing an injunction against its implementation of push email in Germany. Consequently, Apple has pulled the function from its iCloud and MobileMe services. The Cupertino-based company has posted a support statement on the matter, which now leaves German iOS users having to force e-mail updates by opening their mail application or setting their e-mail client to check periodically for new e-mail.
Motorola strikes a blow for Android against Apple
Motorola has scored two significant victories against Apple in Germany, the result of two separate legal actions it has initiated in a Mannheim court, according to FOSS Patents. The first of the two cases dates back to a decision handed down in December where Motorola won an injunction against Apple on its implementation of 3G/UMTS technology and has resulted in Apple pulling its iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 as well as all of its iPads from its online store in Germany. The second has resulted in an injunction against Apple’s implementation of push e-mail in iCloud and MobileMe.
Latest variation making the rounds
Though most Mac users already know never to send their login information for any site in response to an e-mail (often posing as the user's bank, brokerage firm, Apple or other name-brand internet companies), variations on the phishing e-mail continue to pop up, particularly just before and after Christmas. The Mac Observer's Bryan Chaffin reports getting a new one specifically aimed at MobileMe users.
Old me.com, .mac accounts not getting messages
Some emails sent to me.com or .mac addresses are going missing, according to complaints on Apple's support forums. In particular messages sent from Comcast but predominantly RoadRunner domains are either arriving as much as a day late, or disappearing entirely. The affected domains are also scattered across the country rather than located in a particular region. Unexpectedly, forwarding a message from one account to another may work without issues.
CEO responds to customer concerns
Representatives from new Apple CEO Tim Cook's office recently called a customer who sent an e-mail bemoaning the forthcoming loss of certain sync services and iDisk in the transition to this fall's iCloud service, and was told that the company would consider adding back some of the lost features "if there's enough feedback on the subject," AppleInsider reports. Some features of MobileMe, which cost $99 per year, are being dropped from the free iCloud service.
Lion beta 11C55 turns on full iCloud
Apple gave developers a full view of iCloud integration in Mac OS X for the first time with an unusual Sunday release of a new Mac OS X 10.7.2 beta. The new 11C55 build already includes iCloud instead of requiring a separate install, like in earlier releases. No known bugs exist with the build, but users are expected to test both iCloud itself as well as Address Book, iCal, Mail, Safari, and legacy MobileMe support.
Apple paying close attention to executive mail
Like his predecessor, Steve Jobs, new Apple CEO Tim Cook is taking the time to respond to customer emails, reports say. Much of the email Cook has received so far is said to be congratulations for his new job, to which he is normally responding with simple thanks. In some cases though he has gone into more detail, for example thanking an Iraq veteran for his military service, and repeating Auburn University's "War Eagle" battle cry in response to someone who used it first.
iCloud website was briefly open to MobileMe users
(Update: now closed to all but developers) Apple held a surprise for the later part of the day on Monday by launching iCloud.com for developers as a beta. The pages take on many of the non-media tasks of MobileMe but use a visually much richer interface made to look both like iOS as well as the skeuomorphic (real-world analogy) calendar and contact interfaces of Lion. Most of these, such as Find My iPhone or iWork, usually need settings switched on in MobileMe.
iCloud may require Lion updates
Apple's upcoming launch of iCloud may need an update to Mac OS X Lion two versions ahead. A claim late Saturday has supposedly shown an "iCloud for OS X Lion beta 5" in the developer channel that would need the 10.7.2 update to run. The BGR source's notes had the far-term update being available solely for the sake of testing iCloud.
iCloud to have web apps for mail, calendar, more
Apple has posted an iCloud transition guide both to outline what was changing and to assuage worries that web apps might go away. The Q&A promises that the calendar, contacts, e-mail, and Find My iPhone will all still have web interfaces. The only services going away will be iWeb hosting, the Gallery pages, and iDisk, although iDisk is partly replaced by iCloud.
Requires iOS 5, OS X Lion
Apple is resurrecting expired MobileMe accounts in the transition to iCloud, notes 9to5Mac. Under the current arrangement, old MobileMe username and password combinations can be used as iCloud Apple IDs. The option only works, though, if a person has iOS 5, OS X Lion and the iCloud beta client.
Web hooks for platform may be relatively limited
Recent job listings suggest that iCloud may not get a MobileMe-style web interface, or at least not a complete one. The company currently has several iCloud Java Server Engineer positions open, each of which requires "5 years experience designing, implementing and supporting highly scalable applications and web services in Java." A single opening is present for an iCloud C++ Server Engineer, which involves creating and supporting "highly scalable applications and web services in C/C++ on Unix platforms," plus familiarity with Apache and HTTP servers like nginx and lighttpd.
Me.com and Mac.com addresses to be retained?
Although Apple has positioned iCloud as the eventual replacement of MobileMe, the company has not yet spelled out exact details on any transitions or changes from the myriad services MobileMe offered, leading to some user anxiety over the fate of individual services -- from iWeb page hosting to photo galleries. A discovery by a reader at Mac Rumors seems to indicate that some of the MobileMe services are already being mirrored on iCloud servers.
Jobs says iWeb going away after iCloud shift
Apple chief Steve Jobs in a e-mail response to a fan reportedly confirmed that iWeb hosting was going away with the shift to iCloud. When asked if he'd need an alternative web builder and a hosting service, the CEO supposedly gave a simple "yep" response from his iPhone. The MacRumors reader was worried at having to start fresh and made it clear in the feedback.
Aliases must remain static until switchover
MobileMe email aliases must remain static until the fall, an Apple support document states. Until that time, aliases can no longer be added or deleted, set as active or inactive, or even have their colors or descriptions changed. Although actually sending and receiving email continues to work, the ability to modify the aliases will only be restored once MobileMe users start migrating to iCloud in the fall.
Document explains iOS, Lion, Windows steps
A leaked PDF file shows how Apple intends to migrate people from MobileMe to iCloud. The document is split into three different sections: one for iOS 5, another for OS X Lion, and a third for Windows. With the first two, Apple's wording currently assumes a person is using the iOS 5 beta or the Lion developer preview.
Find My iPhone 1.2 allows delayed notifications
Although the current version is presently listed as v10.2.2, Apple should shortly be distributing iTunes 10.3, a new version of its jukebox software for Mac and Windows systems. The upgrade will mainly add support for iCloud, Apple's new service for sharing apps, music and other content across multiple devices. The company is sometimes slow to enable software updates it has announced elsewhere.
iCloud may be new paradigm for iOS devices
Apple's plans for its iCloud launch could make it more of a fundamental platform shift for Apple than just an upgrade to its existing service, a new clue has given out at the last minute before WWDC. One source for the historically reliable John Gruber said not to see iCloud as an extension of MobileMe but instead to "think of iCloud as the new iTunes." Instead of routing most syncing through a desktop app, much of it would happen through the Internet and let iOS devices work independently of a computer.
Apple iCloud music publisher talks said procedural
Apple's remaining talks with music publishers for its cloud music should be very straightforward, sources mentioned Friday. Now likely to have secured labels, it was already known to need deals with each label's corresponding publisher but isn't expected to face trouble. The company doesn't have any "theological hurdles" with publishers and hadn't reached a deal only because of who it had to approach first.
Apple has Sony for iCloud, only Universal waiting
Apple's deals for its cloud music service, tentatively part of iCloud, gained momentum overnight after mentions of a third label deal. Following Warner and EMI, Sony has also reportedly signed onboard. Music industry contacts reiterated to Bloomberg that Universal was also close to a deal, though they added that publishers still needed to sign on along with the labels.
Apple gets EMI for cloud music, near done
Music label insiders revealed late Wednesday that Apple had signed on EMI for its cloud music service. The company had already landed Warner for its service, so far known as iCloud, and now had half the major labels it needed. The contacts informed CNET that only Sony and Universal were left and that their deals were close enough that they could be ready by next week.
Servers failing to respond to pings
The Mail component of MobileMe is currently down or suffering from serious issues, some users are reporting. The exact nature of the trouble can range from difficulty with the web app to IMAP services being unavailable. Pinging mail.me.com may not work, and did not work for MacNN.
Orders now handled by reseller
Amazon, a popular discounter and reseller of Apple's MobileMe retail box, has run out of stock and is now using a reseller, The Factory Depot, to fulfill orders. The change comes nearly three months after Apple warned resellers it was discontinuing the boxed edition of the service, which only contained a code used to pay for or renew an annual subscription to MobileMe.
Apple corporate structure gets detailed look
An in-depth study of Apple's corporate structure has uncovered previously secret details about both the 2008 fallout over MobileMe, how CEO Steve Jobs has been preparing for his eventual exit, and a potential clue as to a major project. Following the major service problems after MobileMe launched alongside the iPhone 3G, Jobs reportedly assembled the entire MobileMe team and asked them "what MobileMe is supposed to do," according to Fortune. After an explanation, he simply responded "so why the f*** doesn't it do that?"
Lion search shows MobileMe sequel nicknamed Castle
A code hunt by Consomac.fr on Saturday helped confirm that iCloud would be a direct sequel to MobileMe through discovering its codename. Searching through the elements of the Find My Mac feature, the French team found account migration features that would let users "complete your upgrade" from MobileMe to Castle. The name is presumed to be just a placeholder and wasn't accompanied by any clues as to features.
Apple iCloud said beyond media, in iOS 5 and Lion
Sources claimed Friday that the iCloud name was likely what it would call its upgraded cloud services and wasn't just confined to a media locker. The just-acquired name would find itself on both iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion and sync not just music in a locker but MobileMe and possibly more. Betas of iOS 5 and Lion were expected by AppleInsider to show at WWDC in June.
No word to support $4.5 million pricetag
Apple did in fact buy the iCloud.com domain name from Xcerion, say sources quoted by All Things Digital. Although initial word of the deal came in Thursday, its state was described as uncertain at the time, and iCloud.com is still technically registered under Xcerion's name. The ATD sources have declined to say whether or not the alleged $4.5 million pricetag is accurate.
Apple said buying iCloud domain
Apple may have bought iCloud.com [redirect] in a sign it's getting closer to launch its rumored cloud media locker service. Swedish online storage firm Xcerion is rumored to have sold the web address to Apple for $4.5 million and moved over to CloudMe.com on April 5. GigaOM hadn't independently confirmed the deal, but a WHOIS check Thursday morning confirmed Xcerion was for now still officially listed as the iCloud domain owner.
RIM buys Tungle for BlackBerry calendar sync
RIM on Wednesday bought Tungle. The company is best known for a calendar sync service that lets users keep their schedule updated across desktop apps and platforms as well as share available scheduling time with others. Users could either update on the web as well as on BlackBerry and iOS mobile apps, with an Android version still in the works before the takeover.
iTunes cloud music may not be free for long
Apple's iTunes cloud music plans might not necessarily be free to use, contacts in the music business hinted Tuesday. They stopped short of claiming to know the pricing but heard it could be free to use at first and incur a fee later. CNET in getting the tip also didn't learn how the model would work, such as whether it would be a trial for a MobileMe subscription or if it would be a separate fee.
MobileMe winding down, iWork pushed to App Store?
Apple has shut down rebate offers for MobileMe and iWork, according to a leaked internal memo. It was previously possible to get $30 off a MobileMe subscription when buying a Mac or iOS device, or $30 off a new copy of the iWork suite when buying a Mac. Resellers were asked to "remove any reference to these promotions by close of business" on the 18th, the memo indicates.
HP TouchPad cloud music, video supported in leak
HP's intention to build a webOS cloud media locker, and possibly beat Apple and Google to the feature, was given more definitive support late Friday after a leaked presentation. A pair of slides describing the TouchPad reportedly showed both the known HP Movie Store but also an intelligent, online music syncing option. PreCentral's copy showed that it would not only allow remotely storing and streaming music, including songs users "don't yet own," but would determine owners' preferred music and prioritize it for local caching on the TouchPad itself.
Google Music talks regressing
Google Music's progress may have not only stalled but backfired if a leak Friday is accurate. A change in terms over the past few weeks may have seen progress "gone backwards" as the two sides couldn't reach a deal. Whether or not it was the direct cause, AllThingsD heard the discussions for cloud music were fundamentally "broken" and that Google was even reconsidering the plans themselves.
Apple hires Microsoft datamanager GM Timmons
Apple's cloud ambitions became clearer late Wednesday with reports that Apple had lured away Microsoft's Datacenter Services General Manager Kevin Timmons. His new role wasn't known but came just two years after he had left a role as the operations lead at Yahoo. The move spotted by Green M3 is believed to have been very recent, and Timmons has yet to update his LinkedIn profile (above) to reflect the change.
Company promises 'future of cloud services'
Apple is assembling a special team dedicated to cloud services, a job listing reveals. The company is currently hiring a Cloud Systems Software Engineer for its Cupertino campus, where the person will join a "small team" responsible for developing "the future of cloud services at Apple." The listing is extremely vague as a rule, referring to the team's projects only as "software which forms the foundation" of the "most exciting new products and services" at the company.
Google buys PushLife for media syncing
Google on Friday quietly bought out PushLife in what could be major help to its Google Music initiative. The deal, estimated to be worth $25 million, gets a company whose self-titled service let non-iOS smartphones get access to iTunes collections and other to streamline getting to Windows Media Player. Users can not just play but manage the collection remotely, making playlists or buying new music, PushLife mentioend.
Apple said getting 12PB of Isilon cloud storage
An insider at Isilon Systems claimed Wednesday that Apple had made an unusually large request for cloud storage systems. The company has reportedly bought 12 petabytes of space for the sake of video downloads on iTunes. Storage Newsletter's contact believed the move would be enough to make Apple the biggest Isilon customer, eclipsing video-heavy sites like DailyMotion and NBC.
MobileMe calendar sync halting on May 5th
The first Service Pack for Office for Mac 2011 will go live next week, Microsoft has announced. The company is promising a collection of stability, security and performance updates, as well as "some new features." Chief among these is calendar, task and note sync between Outlook and Mac OS X's Sync Services, which will for instance allow Outlook appointments to be copied to an iPhone or iPad.