It's not fee-free service, but it's certainly a sign that Apple are stepping up their game when it comes to MobileMe functionality. The company has updated their MobileMe Mail client with a new beta, and while their obvious target is Google's Gmail there's also a fair amount of streamlining for those using multiple Apple devices. Not least are the new processing rules, which can be set up via the online interface and then organize incoming email on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC.
There's also a more iPad-like UI, together with an optional "compact" view that hides the folders; Apple have also added single-click archiving and a new formatting toolbar. The whole thing is supposedly faster, too, and the webmail client now uses SSL for security. If you're trying to access MobileMe on your iPad, your MacBook and your iPhone - and we know there are plenty of people out there with just that trio of devices - then this new beta may be the answer to your email prayers. You can sign up for an invite at Me.com and hitting "Request an invitation"; now we just have to hope Apple go the whole way and make it all free.