Apple has recently notified retailers that it has discontinued the retail boxed version of MobileMe, shifting the product entirely to digital sales. Some existing stock may still be available, but it’s confirmed that the boxes are no longer being produced. This was probably due to environmental concerns, as the box was unnecessary and only contained an activation code and certain promotional materials.
Furthermore, Apple has been working on an overhaul of it’s MobileMe service, possibly investigating a free option that would provide content streaming, as well as a “digital locker” to store their media. The discontinuation of traditional MobileMe sales may be paving the way for just such an update.
Apple’s North Carolina data center has been the subject of considerable speculation regarding potential cloud-based offerings. Apple acknowledged at yesterday’s shareholder meeting that the center is not yet open, but should be opening soon to support MobileMe and iTunes. Five times larger than Apple’s existing primary data center in Newark, California, the North Carolina center will offer significantly expanded infrastructure for the company that could support the rumored cloud-based services.
If an update were to occur, it seems likely that mention will be made at Apple’s March 2nd event.