Nov. 22, 2010 at 10:54 AM ET
Apple's Find My iPhone program is no longer only for those people sucker enough to pay $100 a year for MobileMe service. Everyone with the latest generation of devices gets it free, once they upgrade to the OS 4.2 update available today.
Yes, the phone that lets you pinpoint, lock and even message an errant device no longer comes at an irrational premium, as long as you own the iPhone 4, a fourth-generation iPod Touch or an iPad. Similar services for BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 devices have launched for free, giving pundits an excuse to point a finger at Apple for charging extra for what amounts to product safety, or at least peace of mind.
So, starting today, according to Apple:
You can create a free Find My iPhone account on any iPhone 4, iPad, or iPod touch (4th generation) running iOS 4.2. Once you create an account on a qualifying device, use your Apple ID and password to enable Find My iPhone on your other devices running iOS 4.2. Find My iPhone is not available in all countries.
Now, all Apple has to do to be in line with its competition is make the rest of MobileMe free: Whoever heard of paying for e-mail, photo galleries, or online large-file transfer?
Update: Apple posted separate set-up guides for each device: