Apple MobileMe revamp plot thickens

Things are definitely afoot in the Apple camp when it comes to the Mac maker's £60-a-year cloud-based storage and syncing service.

Rumours have been flying around for months now that Apple has been preparing to fundamentally change the way in which MobileMe works. Suggestions range from making it into a free service for all Mac or iOS device users, to becoming a fully cloud-based music and media-streaming hub for all and sundry.

The fact that Apple has spent a shedload of cash on massive new facilities which could house the kind of mega-servers required for such a service has done little to dampen the rumours.

The latest twists in the tale leave us little in doubt that Apple is plotting something big for the service, which is much maligned by those who have no experience of it, but beloved of those who have.

Exhibit A is Apple's announcement to store staff that, from today, the boxed retail version of MobileMe will no longer be available through bricks and mortar shops or online.

Secondly, the Cupertino company has announced that the entire MobileMe network will be out for an hour or so this evening for routine maintenance.

Now we're probably adding two and two and coming up with 22 here but - if we were about to make a paid-for service free, and wanted to keep it a secret, but didn't want to put off potential customers, and wanted to make sure we could quickly and easily give recent purchasers full refunds on their credit cards without them having to come back into the shop with a bulky box which would end up in a bin... that's the way we would do it.

We're not saying that's what Apple is doing. It's just what we would do .