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Apple Preparing to Offer MobileMe for Free to at Least Some iOS Users?

MacRumors has done some additional reporting on a story they first uncovered earlier this month. At the time they were reporting that evidence in the iOS 4.2 GM release suggesting that Apple was going to allow MobileMe subscribers to login using their Apple IDs. In short, a consolidated login.

This new MacRumors report however claims that their is new evidence in current iOS 4.2, and iOS 4.2.1 GM builds that in fact suggest that Apple is preparing to offer a free tier of MobileMe.

New evidence uncovered in recent iOS 4.2 builds and the iOS 4.2.1 golden master seed is suggesting, however, that Apple will be offering a free MobileMe tier to users. The evidence comes in the form of a new private framework known as AppleAccounts.framework that includes a series of device-specific error messages referring to free MobileMe accounts. In particular, the error messages include alerts regarding having reached “the maximum number of free accounts” for a given device and certain devices not being “qualified for free MobileMe service”.

MacRumors even shows what the code looks like:

223724-mrme.png

The report goes on to say that these error messages are localized in dozens of languages, and are not present in the current release of iOS 4.1. However, another error message found elsewhere in the system suggests that email may not be included in this hypothetical new MobileMe tier.

“This Apple ID cannot be used for MobileMe Mail, but you can use it for other MobileMe services.”

Some of the features that do appear to be present include Contact/Calendar/Safari/Find My iPhone/ iDisk/ Notes over-the-air sync, and Photo Gallaries.

In short, it looks like some form of over-the-air syncing is coming to iOS, which is lacking in comparison to Google’s Android platform.

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