Apple's MobileMe, a collection of cloud services designed to support Macs and other Apple devices, has been given a makeover that makes it look and in some ways behave more like an iPhone app than a Mac program.
The first thing a user will notice is that the row of icons for the different functions -- e-mail, contacts, calendar, image gallery, iDisk online storage, and Find My iPhone for tracking a missing iPhone or iPad -- has been replaced by a single cloud icon.
Click on that, and a new band of large icons appears across the middle of the browser window. It looks a lot like the row of app icons on an iPhone or iPad.
As for new features, most of the attention has been lavished on the webmail service. Users now get a choice of three views: widescreen, with mailboxes on the left; compact, with mailboxes hidden; and classic, the three-pane view familiar from most e-mail clients.
Other features are accessed from a row of buttons across the top of the window.
For more new features, see Page 2.
The mail upgrade is more than just a facelift, however. MobileMe now supports mail rules and folders, so users can automatically sort incoming mail.
Initial tests indicate that the webmail rules and folders don't automatically appear in the Apple Mail client, so if you set up a folder and rule in MobileMe, you'll have to go to the Web to read the mail in that folder.
Besides user folders, there's also an Archive command that sends a message to an Archive folder with one click where, Apple says, "it's always available for future reference."
The other major new feature is "push" e-mail. New e-mail shows up in the Inbox as soon as it arrives, without having to wait for the user to get new mail or refresh the window.
MobileMe costs $99/year for an individual subscription, $149/year for a Family Pack (AU$119/$179), with a 60-day free trial.