Apple is preparing to offer free access to its MobileMe service with the release of iOS 4.2. That’s according to MacRumors, which has unearthed mentions of “free accounts” in the final build of the OS, which is due to land this week.
While this is undoubtedly good news for those who aren’t down with paying Apple a subscription fee, it appears unlikely that this will stretch to free MobileMe mail. Code in the gold master build of iOS 4.2 also says, “This Apple ID cannot be used for MobileMe Mail, but you can use it for other MobileMe services."
Instead, it seems you’ll be able to tap into MobileMe using your Apple ID, allowing you to use other services such as iDisk, Find My iPhone and over-the-air syncing of Calendars, Notes and Contacts. The latter is an area where iOS has been seriously lagging behind Android, which uses Google sign-ins to sync contacts info and restore backed-up apps.