iCloud Isn't a Replacement for MobileMe: Is Apple Completely Backing Away from Web Apps?

One thing I completely overlooked when Apple announced iCloud yesterday was the fact that it’s not replacing the current MobileMe email, contacts and calendar apps with better ones – it’s shutting all of its Web apps – including the MobileMe photo galleries – down altogether. Apple’s iCloud site doesn’t make any mention of these services whatsoever – instead, just like iTunes in the Cloud is all about syncing music files and not streaming them over the web – MobileMe’s core features have been replaced with better syncing tools.

Over at The Next Web, Martin Bryant wonders if Apple will offer Web apps for iCloud and hasn’t revealed them yet, or if this is yet another ploy to lock users into the Apple ecosystem. Web apps, after all, could run on virtually any machine and would allow iCloud users to bypass most of Apple’s other products if they wanted to.

For Apple, the Cloud is About Syncing, Not Web-Based Access to Your Data

My take: for Apple, it’s all about the devices. The iCloud site currently says that “iCloud stores your email, calendars, and contacts and automatically pushes them to all your devices. So you can switch from one device to another and still go about business as usual.” There is no mention of a Web service whatsoever. The problem, though, is that you can’t just sit at a random computer and log in to your MobileMe email account if Apple doesn’t release new versions of the MobileMe Web apps, which will surely make for some unhappy users.

It would be a shame if that’s really the case, but given the overall idea behind iCloud, I really wouldn’t be surprised if Apple simply thinks that Web apps are not the way to go and doesn’t replace the current set of apps with new ones. For the time being, current MobileMe users will have 12 months before the service will shut down completely.