2011-01-26

What if Apple made MobileMe social and gave everyone an account?

Source: The Oatmeal
We all know that Apple’s Ping is quite ... underwhelming. Its existence seems unmotivated, a tepid me-too effort from Apple. And what’s with the name? If they wanted it to sound like a search engine, “Bong” or “Bang” would have been nicer.

What could Apple do to land a true hit? How about the following?
  • Free: Make MobileMe free for everyone who owns an Apple device. The accounts for that are already there, via the iTunes store. Free is the important thing, because it’s the only way to get people to actually use it.
  • Useful: Make sure you get the basics right. Contact syncing that actually works, usable file syncing (think Dropbox, not iDisk), etc.
    • Ping is not successful, because there is no point to it.
  • Social, simply: Add very few social features, kind of a Facebook light. You certainly can leave out the chat and messaging. Simplicity could be a sales point, because Facebook has become a bit of a mess.
  • There is an audience: It would have a shot at being successful, because Apple customers trust that company (well, at least more than Facebook). And because it would be free.
Benefits:
  • Improved file handling for iOS: It would allow the iPad to be used as a stand-alone device, because it could be synced with the cloud. If the service had Dropbox-like functionality, it could be the foundation of a universal file system for iOS devices.
  • Cloud computing done right: It would get Apple started in cloud computing, where Google currently has a competitive advantage (wireless syncing!). The ultimate goal of Apple is to sell devices. And cloud computing, if done right, can dramatically increase the appeal of devices (three words: Instapaper, Dropbox, Instagram).
Update 2010-02-16:

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