Apple’s migration to the Mac App Store is well underway today. Earlier, OS X Lion was pushed to developers through the Mac App Store, FaceTime is now available in the Mac App Store, and pretty soon MobileMe will only be available through the Mac App Store.
Resellers were notified today that retail versions of MobileMe will no longer be sold in store, and that resellers are able to continue selling their current supply until they run out. This news is both welcome and a little concerning at the same time. On the surface, digital application distribution is by far the most convenient way to get applications these days. I can’t remember the last time I purchased software in store. Wait, I lied. I bought the latest iLife when it shipped, but that was only because it was only available in store at the time.
The concerning part is that software discounts will no longer apply to MobileMe. Currently you’re able to buy MobileMe for a heavy discount on Amazon and other websites. When a software bundle like MobileMe is grossly overpriced at $99.00 per year, buying it on Amazon takes a lot of the sting out of the annual fee. MobileMe goes for about $60.00 on Amazon.
This may also be a move towards a partially free MobileMe. We heard yesterday that Apple is planning to use the North Carolina data center for iTunes and MobileMe in the spring. If the rumors are true, we could see a lot of the features of MobileMe offered up for free as early as Spring 2011.
Retail boxes of MobileMe only contain an activation code, as well as some promotional material, so there’s no need for Apple to continue to ship empty boxes for the sake of in store sales any more. Sure, the boxes provided in store visibility, but when you have Apple Store employees trying to up sell you on services like MobileMe and One to One any chance they get, the boxes aren’t really needed any more.