How Hard is MobileMe Really "Pushing"?
Merlin Mann | Jul 16 2008
According to many users, and as reported by numerous news outlets, Apple MobileMe's implied promise of instantaneous sync between between multiple devices (including, it had been implied, your desktop Mac) is not accurate. Since it appears that syncing from the desktop to anywhere else in "the cloud" can actually take as long as 15 minutes, many are questioning Apple's referring to this functionality as "Push" (as opposed to simply sped-up, automated "syncing"). Marin Perez of InformationWeek writes:
You may have shared my slack-jawed gape and consequent fistbump when Phil Schiller's WWDC demo of MobileMe [free iTunes link] implied magically fast, truly instantaneous syncing. Because that's really hard to do well -- and implying MobileMe would enable such a thing suggested mighty technological leaps over the previous .Mac service, whose sync skills and reliability were famously uneven at best.
While most of us won't see our lives fall apart if true Push is not happening on MobileMe, it's still disappointing that Apple implied they were solving a complicated and thorny problem vs. simply speeding up the frequency of syncing via an existing method.
FWIW, this weekend I informally tested MobileMe's syncing skillz on two Macs, "the old iPhone," and via apps on the MobileMe site. Mostly this consisted of creating calendar items with unique date and time stamps and seeing how long it took for them to show up on the different devices. Let's just say the two Macs were, far and away, the pokiest syncers for both incoming and outgoing events.
Mostly I guess I'm just bummed that this wasn't the sufficiently advanced technology that it seemed. I'm sure there's room for improvements and enhancements to MobileMe -- and God know what it took to get that thing out the door in the midst of last week's shitstorm -- but I'm disappointed in Apple. I don't mind the RDF -- a lot of times, it's a fun place to hang out for an hour or two -- but playing fast and loose with terms that mean something in the market they're trying to penetrate is not cricket.
Elsewhere on this issue:
The Question to You
Was Apple playing lawyerball with the term “Push?” Is this just a marketing disappointment, or are you missing functionality that you were counting on? Is a 15-minute syncing adequate for your needs? And what had you taken away from the MobileMe demo at WWDC? Was Mr. Schiller’s explanation accurate of the service you received? Jump to starting around 1:07:00 of the WWDC Keynote to decide for yourself.
Update 2008-07-16 09:00:04 PDT
Excerpted from a Me.com customer email sent an hour ago:
Classy, well put, and mostly well-explained. Plus, as Dan Moren mentions in comments, they're tossing in a free month of service, owing to a .Mac -> MobileMe transition that was "rockier than we had hoped."
Thing is, it still doesn't help me understand how some of the most competent engineers (or is it marketers?) in California knowingly chose to call this functionality something that it clearly was not. That still bugs me.
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