Rumor: MobileMe may soon be free

MacDailyNews reports an unconfirmed rumor that Apple may soon make MobileMe's services free to all users. MobileMe currently costs US$99 per year for a subscription; it provides cloud storage, email, photo galleries, and syncing of contacts/calendars/bookmarks across Macs, PCs, iPhones, and iPads (not to mention Find My iPhone). While the service has many useful features (some implemented better than others: I'm aiming my stinkeye at you, iDisk), many have balked at the price tag.

Similar storage and email services from competitors like Google and Microsoft come either free of charge or at reduced cost compared to MobileMe; even MobileMe's distant ancestor, iTools, was a free offering back in the day. Of course, MobileMe delivers more iPhone & Mac-friendly syncing than Google does, but at $99 per year, it's a fair bet that few people are taking advantage of everything MobileMe has to offer.

MacDailyNews' source says MobileMe will become free of charge "sooner than later... depends on certain facilities going operational." This almost certainly refers to Apple's new server farm in North Carolina. Aerial footage of Apple's server farm, released in February, showed that the complex's buildings were either mostly or entirely constructed, so the facility may be ready to go online at any time.

I hope this rumor is true, especially the "sooner than later" part -- my MobileMe subscription is due for renewal at the end of this month.