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MobileMe for Business

Let’s say you’ve got one computer that you use for work, a second one that you use for your family and home life, and an iPhone or iPod touch that you keep in your pocket. That’s three devices, each with their own mail, contacts, calendars and more. If you change a phone number for one of your customers on one system, you’ll have to manually make the same change in the other ones as well. What you need is a way to consolidate and synchronize all of your data so that you’re working with one set of information regardless of which device you’re using. This is one of the main benefits of MobileMe from Apple.

MobileMe is an annual subscription service. The software you need is already built into Mac OS X v10.5.8 and your iPhone or iPod touch. For a Windows system, all you need to do is download free iTunes software and a free control panel. You simply purchase your subscription to MobileMe and sign in.

For mail, calendar, and contacts integration on your Mac, you’ll be using Mail, Address Book, and iCal. The iPhone and iPod touch each have their own built-in applications. With Windows, you need to set be using standards-based solutions such as IMAP, LDAP, and CalDAV-compliant calendar servers. You can use Outlook in conjunction with Microsoft Exchange Server to wirelessly push e-mail, calendar events and contacts to your iPhone, but full synchronization is not supported at this time.

Once you’ve got your subscription and your software set up, your data will be automatically synchronized over your devices so that you’re always working with the most current information. Open a message on your Mac and it will be marked as read when you look at your iPhone. Add a note to a contact in Windows, and the same information will be pushed to your Mac. Make an appointment in the field on your iPod touch, and you’ll see it in your calendar when you get back to the office. MobileMe puts an end to the insanity of trying to stay on top of your vital business data while you’re trying to stay on top of your business.

Online Storage

MobileMe brings a whole host of other features to the table as well. With your subscription, you’ll also get online storage called an iDisk. You can access your storage bank through any web browser where you can download and upload files. You can even share access with your customers, friends or family and, if you wish, allow them to make changes or upload their own files. If you’re running Mac OS X, you can mount your iDisk right on your desktop. It looks and acts just like another hard drive attached to your system. You can also access your files through your iPhone or iPod touch and even view Microsoft Office files, iWork documents, PDFs and more. iDisk is incredibly convenient and you’ll find tons of great ways to make it work for you. Say you’re working in the field on an important document and you need to back it up. Just upload it to your iDisk and you have an instant backup, even if something tragic happens to your notebook. Need to get a big file from a client? Give them access to your iDisk and they can upload the file on their own without dealing with FTP hassles. Then download their file at your convenience, or keep a copy archived online with anytime access from almost anywhere.

Online Photo Gallery

If you have a business like a photography studio or a real estate agency, you’ll love the MobileMe Gallery. It’s an online library of photos that you upload from your computer or your mobile device. Create albums, thumbnails and slide shows that you can browse and rearrange on a whim. You can also allow visitors to view and print photos in your gallery. So you can create an album with photos from a new house that’s for sale and allow your prospective customers to take a look inside the property. Or take all the photos from a wedding shoot and let the bride and groom go online to select their favorite shots.

A Conclusive Winner

A MobileMe subscription has even more for your iPhone or iPod touch like easy file sharing, public folders and security features. But the big draw for business is the ability to synchronize your e-mail and contact information across platforms, plus the convenience of online storage. It’s a simple enhancement, but it gives you the freedom to work whenever, wherever and however you want.

Apple, iCal, iPhone, iPod, iPod touch, iWork, Mac, Mac OS, MobileMe, and iDisk are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.