Daniel Eran Dilger
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MobileMe .Mac Rebranding Runs Into Snafus

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Apple shut down its .Mac services for maintenance Wednesday night while switching over to the new MobileMe. While .Mac email continued to work with some interruptions, other services went down completely, including sync, iDisk file access, webmail, and web hosting. Attempts to access online .Mac services either presented a “this service is temporarily unavailable”page (listed with a copyright date of 2007) or redirected users to the MobileMe preview site.

While some subscribers report having been able to successfully connect to the new me.com site and log in, others have seen sporadic service availability or have never been able to log into the new system. Some .Mac subscribers, when attempting to configure iDisk or sync from the Mac OS X System Preferences, are still finding that those services are offline. Attempts to connect to iDisk are blocked and users are directed to their offline copy (below).


The MobileMe Software Update.

Apple made available a software update for Mail and the .Mac prefpane of System Preferences. After installing the update, Leopard Mail jumps from version 3.3 (below left) to “3.4 (928)” (below right).


The Address Book and iCal apps are not updated, as the push features of MobileMe are performed through Mac OS X’s Sync Services, requiring no changes to the client apps themselves. While not yet available from Software Update, the update is available for download at:


In addition to replacing all mention of .Mac with the new MobileMe name and logo, the new version of Mail also updates existing .Mac email account settings to add an “@me.com” address; the existing “@mac.com” address remains, allowing the user to both send or receive mail using whichever address is desired.

The .Mac prefpane is also updated to reflect the new MobileMe branding, although by Thursday afternoon, the MobileMe services were still not yet active for some users. Apple has previously migrated subscribers through scheduled maintenance periods or unplanned dotmac service outages in batches, so the fact that MobileMe is working for some users and not others is no surprise.

The blue globe .Mac icon is now replaced with a square cloud icon, removing the somewhat confusing similarity between the .Mac icon and the Mac OS X networking icon, which was identical but grey in color. The service description has also changed to reflect the new push services and support for the iPhone and iPod touch.

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While MobileMe syncing and file services have been interrupted or unavailable for some subscribers, .Mac POP and IMAP email service (but not webmail) has largely been available throughout the transition, apart from some delays. However, Apple still has some bugs to work out.

After updating Mail, the program reported getting an invalid security certificate because of a host name mismatch, indicating that Mail is trying to connect to mail.me.com but the certificate Apple is using is still referencing mail.mac.com (below). That’s not a security issue, but does present a confusing and somewhat alarming warning to users of the service.


The problems with the .Mac transition to MobileMe are being overshadowed by the release of iPhone 2.0 software, the mobile apps store added to iTunes 7.7, and the iPhone 3G release tomorrow. After updating the existing iPhone to the new 2.0 software, the Apps Store is already functioning directly to download applications, and shopping through iTunes and syncing via USB also works.

AppleInsider | Apple’s iPhone software v2.0 available early for brave users
Given that Apple has already sold 5 million iPhones and plans to sell millions more of the 3G model in the coming months, it might come as no surprise why the Apps Store is working early while the MobileMe transition (which currently serves a couple million .Mac subscribers) is running late. However, Apple will likely make more money from selling annual $99 MobileMe subscriptions to iPhone and iPod touch users than it will from pulling in a 30% cut from mobile apps sold through the Apps Store.

If you are a .Mac subscriber, report your experiences with the MobileMe transition in the comments below.

[Update: Progress! Able to log in temporarily into my account at 6 AM PST, but was unable to actually bring any of the apps up. Oddly, my friend on the same network was able to log into his account and use the MobileMe apps from his iMac.

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At 7 AM PST, MobileMe was simply returning a new, rebranded error page (with a 2008 copyright!) :

MobileMe error

By noon PST, all MobileMe apps were functional and push messaging was working on the iPhone. In order to activate push messaging, you have to select “Mail, Calendars, and Contacts” from Settings and activate MobileMe push for each service. This erases the existing contents of your iPhone calendar, contacts and bookmarks (“Turning on contacts,” below) and then retrieves a live pushed version from MobileMe, so be sure to sync your data first so MobileMe has a full copy of all your stuff.

MobileMe push
Once push setup is complete, changes made on the desktop, on the iPhone, or online in the MobileMe apps are all kept in sync with just a delay of a few seconds. Make a change anywhere and it it relayed up to the cloud and down to your other synced devices (Mac, PC, iPhone, iPod touch, and the online apps). Pretty slick.]


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  • iDavegan

    I received the certificate, and just closed it. Other then that I haven’t seen anything. I did install MobileMe manually as soon as it came out as well.

  • Nic Heuser

    I have been trying frequently to log in to mac.com or me.com since early this morning, and I almost always get the Temporarily Offline screen or a redirect to the me.com information page. One time, earlier tonight, I actually got a me.com login screen. I logged in successfully and played a bit, but responsiveness was very slow (I assume everybody and his brother is doing the same thing). After just a few minutes, I was logged out and unable to get back in. I wonder if maybe there’s some sort of DNS propagation thing happening, because this seems very similar to the kind of intermittent service you get when you change the DNS records on a domain name–it usually takes at least 24 hours to work properly, but after 36 hours or so, things are usually pretty stable. Apple’s problems may be completely different, but it’s worth mentioning.

  • Berend Schotanus

    http://www.me.com leads to redirect as described above (The Netherlands, July 11, 9:30 AM)

  • pixelkisser

    At one point I managed to log in to Mobile Me, got the little icons in the top left of the screen but then it just hung. Every other time has gone to either of the two screens you mention. My web based version of iCal is still working tho…

  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    Mobile? still not Me completely in The Netherlands ;-(

    About 24h ago all seemed OK as Mail told me to do the software update (which worked without a hitch) and my website was available through web.me.com. When I went to update my second machine it was all gone.
    At time of writing my laptop has a fully functional MobileMe preference pane and I am syncing my stuff. Web.me.com is still offline, but web.mac.com works OK.
    Me’ll have to see……

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    As of this morning (10:30 AM in Switzerland, 1:30 AM PST):

    – the MobileMe prefpane is now pulling up my account info;
    – Sync appears to work correctly and can now list my registered systems;
    – iDisk shows my usage correctly. iDisk.mac.com pulls up the old public file interface, while iDisk.me.com reverts to the old .mac site;
    – still can’t access any other web stuff on .mac.com or me.com

  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    My sync action returned some no-can-do errors “due to inconsistent data” for Mail, Preferences and TextExpander. Oh-well…….

  • Berend Schotanus

    Mobile Me is now available (The Netherlands, 11:30 AM). Not very fast but it looks GREAT!

  • drantyev

    Mexico City, 4:57 AM local, mobileme full operational. A little bit slow though.

  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    @Berend: Lucky you :-). Still no dice here (Haarlem, NL 12.04h).

  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    OK, I’ll have to correct myself here: web.me.com isn’t working, but me.com is. Let’s see if it holds ;-). Still can’t do the software update on my 2nd machine though…..

  • elppa

    I have sibscribed since iTools, then .Mac, now MobileMe. My MobileMe transition:

    homepage.mac.com – up
    iDisk.mac.com – up
    iDisk in Finder – up
    Mail in Mail.app – up
    System Preference Pane – down
    (But I did get the certificate warning this morning)

    With System Preferences I too had the “An Error was returned from the Server, Please try again later” message.

    So what I did was to sign out and then sign back in. BIG MISTAKE. Now it won’t let me sign back in, saying there is an unknown authorisation error.

    Have just been able to log into the me.com iDisk web app (the first time I’ve got beyond the login screen or been redirected to http://www.apple.com/mobileme). It is very pretty, but slow as hell. Too slow to use.

    UPDATE – As I was typing I tried signing into sys preferences and it now works.

    The most important part is Mail, which fortunately has never gone down. I am surprised Apple managed to make such a mess of it though given their normal track record for competence and delivery.

  • lmasanti

    “However, Apple will likely make more money from selling annual $99 MobileMe subscriptions to iPhone and iPod touch users than it will from pulling in a 30% cut from mobile apps sold through the Apps Store.”

    The most interesting thing is that MobileMe payments will support the infraestructure that holds Apps Store.

  • dicklacara

    It is getting better. I have been changing calendars among 2 iPhones and 1 Mac. It usually pushes a change in about 1 minute.

    It seems to push faster if you make more changes???

  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    web.me.com is now online here in NL

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  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    Nirav, art thou a troll?

  • fatbarstard

    Well its 10am here in New Zealand – we may have got the iPhone first – but the email from Apple telling me that MobileMe is launched still hasn’t arrived…

    It would have helped Apple to tell its .Mac subscribers that they might experience problems during the switchover… now everyone is grumpy – see what the guy over at the smallwave wrote!

  • jpmrb

    Tokyo, Sat 12, 10:05. Checked me.com … No problem here, just put my user name, password, ticked the “Stay logged for 15 days” and in a few second, i had the full MobileMe interface on the screen. Everything works very very fast. i hope it is the same for everybody. i still can’t access the mac.com page, but i don’t care!
    Good luck and patience to everybody: it’s worth it.

  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    The web stuff is rather slow here. I hope it will pick up some speed in the next few days, but I am conservative in my expectations.

  • lmasanti

    Can somebody join Google Maps plus the location where problems were found to find out where are the worst Apple data centers?

  • rogeradams

    Well, I have had access to my @me.com since last Monday, 7th July but note that the version of Mail is still 3.3 and not 3.4. I have checked the downloads page at Apple support but cannot find Mail v.3.4 listed for download, even as a search item. In addition, Software Update cannot find any updates. Also my .Mac preference pain is still the old format (given that I am still on v.3.3). Anyone any ideas as to why I have full access to @me.com but do not have v.3.4 of Mail?

  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    So they indeed pulled the MobileMe v1.0 update for OSX and today replaced it with v1.1. Both my machines are now up and running with it.

    Let’s see what weirdnesses crop up over the next few days.

  • rogeradams

    I got a software update alert this morning (9.00 Bangkok time) and now have Mail v. 3.4 installed so everything is back to normal. I did not see the version # of the update but assume you are correct about it being 1.1.

  • Deanston

    Early glitches are not surprising, an experience Apple needed to learn, and users should be able to forgive with the product and service down the road. I’m more interested in the back story. What technical steps did Apple do on preparing iTunes and me.com leading up to the iPhone 3G launchWhat is the backend architecture /infrastructure that me.com is running on? One thing I find intriguing about the Snow Leopard story is nobody delves deeply into WHY Apple is pushing hardcore on OS development. Just a case of nerdy engineering pride or trying to outdo Windows/Linux? Or is it Apple aiming to run the entire Apple Cloud, plus expanding into the Cloud business, with Snow Leopard? Apple is already hoarding a portfolio with every aspect of computing (a lesson learned from MS?). It’s hard to imagine Jobs will be content to depend his business on some generic Linux farm. Daniel?

  • WholesaleMagic

    Well, it all seems to be working fine for me, apart from being unable to access the calendar app at me.com from time to time.

    What annoys me is that even though I have synchronisation set to ‘Automatic’ in my System Preferences, my computer only syncs once every ten minutes or so. Is anyone else experiencing this?

  • lmasanti

    “One thing I find intriguing about the Snow Leopard story is nobody delves deeply into WHY Apple is pushing hardcore on OS development.”

    I think that this is two ways: they “want” a harder OS (as a general better OS) and they “need” a harder OS (to run their systems).
    But I do not think that the “top levels” of Apple’s offerings are being done “all in Apple’s hard and soft”.

  • WholesaleMagic

    Okay, I have realised that the fact that my Mac does not push straight to the cloud and to my iPhone is not a problem: it is just the way the service works. It really sucks that Apple say that it all pushes from everywhere, but in reality my Mac isn’t pushing anything. It’s just syncing stuff at a faster rate than it previously did (once every 15 minutes).

  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    Still some loose ends here. My mac frequently disengages from my cloud and iWeb frequently reports an error when updating my website.
    Whereas my Cloud capacity was doubled from the get-go, I have heard from friends who are still waiting for that part of the upgrade.

  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    MobileMe is still Wonky Donkey over here (The Netherlands). iDisk is absolutely dead slow, if available at all. Just had to log out of the service and log back in again in order to get any iDisk functionality. And Oops, iDisk just disconnected itself again. iWeb also has trouble updating my site. I’m clearly not out of the woods yet.

  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    MobileMe is beginning to look up here it would seem. The Cloud does not disengage at the drop of a hat anymore and I am now doing large file copies to my iDisk. This is still slow (26MB in 2h vs 10h earlier on with the disengagements), but at least it is consistent. Sync also took less time to finish. I think we are getting there.

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