Yesterday Apple announced that anyone with an iPad, iPhone 4, or iPod touch (4th generation) that is running iOS 4.2 can sign up for the Find My iPhone service for free without having to have a MobileMe subscription. You can register for the service through the Find My iPhone app available in the app store.
People with a MobileMe account already have this functionality as part of what they are paying for.Those who don’t can sign into the Find My iPhone app using your Apple ID (the same account you log into your iTunes account with) and get set up. Once you’ve done that, you can either log into the MobileMe web site using your Apple ID, or use the Find My iPhone app to find any of your iOS devices wherever they might be.
Unfortunately, getting set up initially requires an iPad, iPhone 4, or 4th generation iPod touch. People with an iPhone 3gs and no iPad, for example, will be out of luck. People who do have a qualifying device can register, and then once registered, find any of their iOS devices, regardless of revision, using the service.
Since my iPhone 3gs is the most recent iOS device I own, I wasn’t able to set myself up to use the free Find My iPhone service. However, I’m still excited about it, and it’s because of the fact that they have made a MobileMe service available to non-MobileMe subscribers using the Apple ID as a login.
I’m hoping this is an indication of things to come. It would be great if we could eventually log into MobileMe without having to register a MobileMe account, just using our Apple ID, and use other services like cloud storage, streaming iTunes music, and data synchronization between devices, just to name a few.
It’s possible that Apple’s new data center is just going to be used to keep iTunes running under ever increasing load, or to provide space for the current and future MobileMe subscribers under the same for pay model that exists today. But it’s also possible that Apple is going to start making these services available to any Apple customer with an Apple ID, which means anyone who has ever logged into the iTunes store to buy music or iOS device apps.
Wouldn’t that be nice?