Feeds

Apple has that syncing feeling over MobileMe

When we say push, we really mean shove

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Apple has rewritten marketing bumf for its MobileMe service after it emerged the "push" service actually needed customers to do their own share of shoving when it came to updating desktop apps.

MobileMe, or "Exchange for the rest of us" as Apple bills it, is supposed to push data between online storage, which Apple calls "The Cloud", desktop applications such as iCal, and mobile devices such as the iPhone or iPod Touch.

But while some data is being pushed and some being pulled, the rest is still reliant on a synchronisation process inherited from its ".mac" predecessor.

Email is managed through IMAP, and strictly speaking is pulled by polling the IMAP servers every minute, though that gives a reasonable impression of being pushed.

But the dispersal mechanism for updates to the contacts or calendar are dependent on where the changes are made. Updates made to The Cloud (through a web interface) are instantly pushed to the desktop applications and iPhones, and changes made on an iPhone (or iPod Touch) are echoed to The Cloud and desktop. But changes made using the desktop application are not instantly or automatically reflected on the iPhone or within The Cloud.

Such changes need to wait for a synchronisation process, a lag of up to 15 minutes, before they are propagated between the platforms. Not only that but anyone trying to use some of the more advanced IMAP capabilities, such as the APPEND command, will find the MobileMe service unaware that any changes have been made to their e-mail account, at least until a good-old SMTP delivery triggers notification.

To most people these might seem a minor issues, but many Mac users are up in arms about what they see as inaccurate representation of the service.

The vehemence is such that Apple has amended its descriptions to reflect the fact that desktop applications need to have a sync interval set up, as shown by a comparison hosted by MacRumours.

The issue is certainly being taken seriously by some, though. As one poster to the Apple discussion forum put it: "Pretty much the only reason I signed up for MobileMe was to be able to 'push' calendar and contact changes between my four Macs and two iPhones."

Quite why the poster feels the need to maintain six identical contact lists on four computers and two iPhones we don't know, but with such a spread of devices instant synchronisation is clearly a necessity and a 15-minute delay unacceptable. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?