Apple tidbits: Black Friday, mobile gaming, and MobileMe

Here's a rundown of some of the Apple news making the rounds this Wednesday:

Apple may launch most aggressive Black Friday pricing yet--AppleInsider: On a day when the stock market tanked once again on news of shifting priorities in the government's bailout plan, coupled with pessimistic forecasts from huge retailers like Best Buy, this notion doesn't seem all that far-fetched. Last year, Apple offered $101 discounts on MacBooks and other discounts on iPods on Black Friday, and Ben Reitzes of UBS thinks similar discounts could be applied more broadly across Apple's product line on that particular … Read more

Apple offers details on recent MobileMe update

Clarification at 10:00 a.m. PDT: Details about the update have been added.

Apple has disclosed information on a recent MobileMe update, offering a glimpse at the changes and fixes it made in late September to its beleaguered service.

According to information posted Wednesday, the latest known update largely affected MobileMe e-mail and calendar features--two areas that have encountered a rash of problems since the service debuted in July in less-than-perfect shape.

Apple apparently wanted to specifically point out its efforts to improve the service. "Since server-side updates are a bit more innocuous than a standard software update … Read more

The curse of Apple MobileMe's "Connection Failed"

While flying from SFO to Newark last weekend, I repeatedly ran into a Mac OS X system pop-up telling me that the "Connection Failed." The cursed box repeatedly interrupted applications, including the QuickTime movies we were using to distract our toddler from flipping out on the six-hour flight.

After five days of punishment, I finally found the root cause: MobileMe.

If you are not a MobileMe user (I'm not), then you may/may not know that your credentials are stored in two different places: the MobileMe control panel and your user account.

During my trouble-shooting process, I fixed permissions, deleted old server connections, and deleted libraries. But nothing fixed the problem. Then I finally noticed that I had an iDisk icon on my sidebar (but nowhere else). When I tried to drag it to the trash, my laptop went into an endless loop and I had to finally reboot.

Having never used the iDisk and not having any applications that I was aware of using an iDisk, I started searching and figured out that it might be part of MobileMe. But when I checked the MobileMe control panel, the information was blank. Back to square one. … Read more

Quickoffice demos iPhone apps at CTIA

Here at the CTIA Wireless conference in San Francisco, Quickoffice, historically a mobile documents viewer for Nokia phones, is showing off demos for four new iPhone and iPod Touch apps aimed at Apple's contingent of MobileMe users.

The first, called MobileFiles, will let you view e-mail attachments, including Google and documents from your iPhone, something that iPhones don't currently allow. Quickoffice is expected to launch MobileFiles as a free, view-only app in November.

Following that, Quickoffice plans to release three more applications for reading and editing spreadsheets, Microsoft Word documents, and PowerPoint presentations, respectively. Called Quicksheet, … Read more

Apple finally ready for iTunes subscriptions?

Three Mac rumors sites have received anonymous tips that Apple is getting ready to introduce a subscription iTunes service in September.

We were already pretty sure that September would bring new iPods, but Apple might have something more ambitious up its sleeve. MacRumors, MacDailyNews, and The Unofficial Apple Weblog are all saying a tipster spilled the beans about a $129-a-year iTunes service that would piggyback on Apple's MobileMe service.

The reports are all eerily similar, suggesting that accurate or not, all the sites heard from the same source. Under the new service, Apple would offer unlimited access to half … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 791: And the horse he rode in on

We're joined today by special guest Wil Harris from, in what he chooses to call "British Invasion" and we choose to call "extremely welcome third voice." In the news today, MobileMe accounts are extended again, free beta style (hint hint), Muxtape bites the dust (temporarily?), and Bigfoot turns out to be a rubber costume. Astonishing.

<> Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 791

Episode 791

Apple extends MobileMe accounts--again

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Apple extends MobileMe accounts--again

In an apparent attempt to make up for the problems that plagued MobileMe's launch in July, Apple has announced that it will extend user accounts another 60 days for free--that's on top of the 30-day free extension Apple gave users in July.

In an e-mail sent Monday to MobileMe subscribers announcing the extension, Apple acknowledged that the Web services suite needs more work:

We have already made many improvements to MobileMe, but we still have many more to make. To recognize our users' patience, we are giving every MobileMe subscriber as of today a free 60-day extension. This … Read more

Apple's MobileMe suffers more downtime

Apple's MobileMe suite of Web services suffered another outage Monday that affected an unknown number of its users.

Of the included services, Mail was inaccessible for approximately two hours. Earlier in the day we had received scattered reports from users who were unable to access their mail. Those reports were later confirmed both through Apple's MobileMe status ticker and Twitter's real-time search tool. For those affected, all other aspects of MobileMe were reportedly up and running.

Monday's problems centered on a lack of access to Mail on three fronts: through the Web, on the iPhone, and … Read more

Launchpad Chicken: MobileMe and sync trouble

Guest post: Jean-Louis Gass?e looks into Apple's MobileMe launch misfire and whether Apple can run a worldwide wireless data synchronization service for tens of millions of users. The essay was originally posted on Monday Note.

Simple is hard. Easy is harder. Invisible is hardest. So goes one of the many proverbs of our computer lore. As Apple found out last month with the MobileMe launch misfires, the lofty promise of "Exchange for the rest of us" translated into a user experience that was neither simple nor easy--in a highly visible way. Four weeks later, the service … Read more

Daily Debrief: Apple's iPhone apps sell, 3G network flails

It's been a month of mixed reviews for Apple's iPhone 3G. One on hand, millions of users have clearly given the Apps Store a vote of approval by downloading 60 million applications to their phones in the first month. Even though many of them are free, Apple CEO Steve Jobs tells The Wall Street Journal that translates into roughly $30 million in sales, or 1 million bucks per day.

The bad news for Apple is the constant stream of complaints coming in about the phones' 3G connectivity. In Monday's edition of the Daily Debrief, I sit down … Read more