updated 02:30 am EDT, Tue March 29, 2011
Contradicts rumors of all-free service
A German Mac news website claims that Apple has plans to implement alternative payment methods for their suite of internet services, known as MobileMe, in the near future. Currently, those without credit cards are caught in a dilemma -- they can't renew their subscriptions electronically, but neither can they buy a retail "box" with the MobileMe activation or renewal code from a retail store (Apple has removed the MobileMe box from its retail stores, though some dealers may still have older stock available).
Rumors have swirled for many months that the service is due to undergo a major revamp, spurred by an e-mail from Apple CEO Steve Jobs to a customer promising the service "will get better in 2011."
The rumors have taken various forms, from making at least some version of the service available for free to adding a cloud-based "media locker" for a small fee -- or changing, dropping or revamping existing services (which include website hosting, photo and video galleries, ad-free IMAP e-mail, account syncing, limited backup, equipment tracking, personal storage space and other features).
Last month, Apple made MobileMe only available as a free online trial offer, and the only way to buy or renew a subscription required a credit card -- leading to speculation that the revamp could come soon (now currently believed to be in April).
The report that Apple is working on alternate payment methods would indicate that the company is still planning on charging for at least some of the services in an overhauled MobileMe offering. [via MacNews.de]