Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) confirmed Friday that it will allow iCloud users to access their mail and calendar information through a Web browser when the new service launches this fall, clearing up confusion over whether or not Apple planned to bypass the browser entirely with its new service.
Last week confusion reigned over Apple’s plans for iCloud after This Is My Next reported that Apple planned to do away with browser-based access to the e-mail, contacts, and calendar services that Apple currently offers through MobileMe when it launches the revamped iCloud Web service later this fall. The suspicion was that Apple wanted to encourage people to use applications for those services as opposed to browsers, but many wondered why such a simple utility would have to disappear to accomplish that goal.
Turns out, it’s not going anywhere. “Web access to iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Find My iPhone will be available at icloud.com this fall,” Apple wrote in an FAQ on the MobileMe/iCloud transition posted Friday. Some MobileMe services are indeed going away, such as Gallery and iDisk, but services that replicate those functions are being added to iCloud along with some additional features.
While Apple’s view of the world is indeed app-centric, accessing one’s e-mail or calendar information from any computer is a modern convenience that any truly competitive Web services offering would have to have. Apple has much to prove to combat the long-standing belief that it simply doesn’t understand how to bring its design expertise and elegance to the Web, and removing such an easy-to-use feature would have been a step backward.