When Steve Jobs/Apple announced iCloud as the successor to MobileMe the questions started circulating about the features that weren't mentioned. In other words, would features like iDisk or iWeb publishing go away? What about web access to email? Apple has posted an FAQ here outliing which features would make the transition and which ones won't. Unfortunately for long time MobileMe (.mac, iTools) users at least 3 features won't make it:
- iWeb Publishing
My goal here today is to provide some alternative suggestions for those who have come to rely on these three features.
Let's start with iDisk
The good news here is that there are some great alternatives already in place. First of all you'll get 5GBs of free space with iCloud. This means that your iCloud aware Apps will be able to store documents in the iCloud. However, if you want more traditional drag, drop & syncing storage, then I highly recommend Dropbox.com. You get 2GBs of space for FREE. You can buy either 50GBs of space or 100GBs of space. The software is very Mac like and you can install it on all your Macs (or PCs) and they even have an iOS App (and Android App) for access to your content on your mobile devices. You can always access your content from any computer that doesn't have the software installed via their web interface. Granted Dropbox has had a couple of security scares recently, but they stayed on top of it, fixed their holes, apologized to their customers and provided great customer support during the breaches. Any company can be hacked (yes it even has happened Apple on more than one ocassion). I can't say enough good things about Dropbox and have been using it for the past year without any problems. I have the 100GB plan and basically treat it like my documents folder. It syncs everything I put in it up to the cloud as well as between all my networked computers at home. I always have access to my photos, documents, etc. even via my iPad or iPhone.
Gallery is the feature of MobileMe that allows you to easily share your photos and movies from iPhoto. While I do have some photos on my MobileMe Gallery, I already share those same photos in other places. The good news is that even if you are an iPhoto user and you want to keep things simple, iPhoto allows you to share photos via Flickr.com and Facebook.com just as easily as MobileMe. Both Flickr.com and Facebook.com are FREE to use and have much larger communities than MobileMe. With Flickr you can lock down access to individual Photo Sets (Albums) or pictures. Dropbox also has photo sharing support with instant galleries by simply dropping a folder of images in the Photos folder. You can also post short movies. Speaking of Movies, I acutally prefer to post videos to YouTube anyway. With MobileMe visitors were required to have QuickTime installed and that was usually a pain for Windows users. Everyone is already used to YouTube and YouTube videos work on just about everything. The videos play back in Flash OR HTML 5. Also the YouTube player is built into most mobile devices being sold today. You can restrict YouTube videos to be Unlisted or Priviate. Lastly YouTube is FREE.
If you're an iMovie user, iMovie can already upload to YouTube directly and YouTube supports HD video, which MobileMe didn't. If you're an AppleTV user you can view Flickr Albums and YouTube videos just as easily on your TV as you did MobileMe content.
You can signup for Flickr.com here
You can signup for Facebook.com here
You can signup for YouTube.com here
This one is probably the hardest to replace from an ease of use standpoint. The handwriting has been on the wall for iWeb for a while now and Apple hasn't updated it. Your options here are not bad though. If you like iWeb you can keep using it as you always have. The only difference is that by June 2012 you'll need to find another hosting service to host your iWeb sites. Most if not all hosting services allow you to upload your websites via FTP and iWeb supports uploading via FTP. I use GoDaddy and Network Solutions for most of my hosting needs. I don't particularly have any love or hate for either of these companies. They work fine most of the time for me. I don't really have a "perfect" hosting recommendation. Everyone I talk to recommends a different company and there doesn't seem to be one big national hosting company that stands out above all the rest. I would start by looking at pricing and up time. If you're an iWeb user chances are you're not hosting a big commercial website. Therefore you can probably save by going with a smaller local hosting company. You'll want one that's been around for a while and has a good track record for not only their up time, but their customer service. In other words if your site goes down on Friday evening, will it take until Monday before you can talk with someone about it?
If you want to move away from iWeb completely, then I would strongly recommend looking at one of the blogging services such as WordPress.com or Google's Blogger. Even if you have NO DESIRE TO BLOG, you can set up a "regular looking" website using these services. They're web based and allow you to easily update your site's look with literally hundreds if not thousands of free templates and of course you can post photos and embed videos too. Don't forget that for many inviduals they've given up the notion of having a "personal website" in favor of social networking sites like Facebook and Tumblr.
Here's a document explaining how to move your iWeb site from MobileMe to a different hosting provider.
All of these services are FREE:
You can get a WordPress Blog (website) here
You can get a Blogger blog (website) here
You can get a Facebook page here
You can get a Tumblr page here
The Bottom Line
Remember that you don't have to make any of these decision today. You technically have full use of MobileMe until June 2012. However, it's probably best to start thinking about your transition plan now as opposed to waiting until the last minute and having to find places to put your content.