New iCloud FAQ: Yes, there will be webmail
Since iCloud was announced by Apple on June 6, the TUAW inbox has been filled to capacity with questions about the many features of Apple's cloud computing platform of the future. Unfortunately, we have been just as much in the fog as you have about what features are moving from MobileMe to iCloud, and how the transition between the two services will take place. Today, Apple published an online document titled "Frequently asked questions about the MobileMe transition and iCloud" to clear away the confusion.
As it turns out, I was wrong in my speculation that Apple was going to be getting rid of web-based versions of Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Find My iPhone (as was our friend and former Engadget colleague Josh Topolsky, who apparently got some bad intel from a misinformed or confused Apple PR staffer). Fellow TUAW editor Chris Rawson disagreed with me on that speculation, and it turns out that he was correct. Apple has publicly stated on the FAQ page that "Web access to iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Find My iPhone will be available at icloud.com this fall."
Apple notes that "The core services provided by MobileMe have been rewritten to work seamlessly with iCloud." That being said, the FAQ shows that three services of MobileMe aren't going to make the transition -- iWeb hosting, Gallery, and iDisk.
If you use MobileMe to host your iWeb-created site, be sure to read our posts on replacements for MobileMe hosting and WYSIWYG HTML editors for Mac. Apple has also posted a knowledge base article about transitioning your iWeb sites to another host.
Of course, new features -- iTunes in the Cloud, Photo Stream, Documents in the Cloud, auto-downloads and purchase history for apps and books, and backup and restore of mobile devices -- are to be added with iCloud. That may be cold comfort if you're a longtime iWeb user, have complex iDisk workflows or extensive MobileMe galleries... but it's something.
For those of you with .mac or .me email addresses, Apple is going to let you keep that address into the future. The company states that you can "move your MobileMe mail, contacts, and calendars, as well as your bookmarks, to the new service. When iCloud becomes available this fall, Apple will provide details and instructions on how to make the move."
Apple also provides knowledge base articles on how to save MobileMe Gallery photos and iDisk files. Other highlights of the document include info on merging MobileMe accounts (not possible), using multiple iTunes account for store purchases and iTunes in the Cloud (possible), what to do if you will be using more than the free 5 GB of iCloud storage (you can buy more), and submitting a refund request for unused or partially used MobileMe licenses.
Be sure to take a look at the Apple document and associated knowledge base articles as they're sure to ease your mind about some iCloud questions -- and possibly raise other questions about your life in the cloud.
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