Apple looks to force .Mac down our throats in 2006 - Macenstein

Apple looks to force .Mac down our throats in 2006

Posted by Helper Monkey

One thing I was struck by again and again as I viewed this year’s MacWorld Keynote speech was just how often the term .Mac seemed to come up. It seemed like for every new feature or App Steve Jobs unveiled this year, there was yet another way to link it to your .Mac account.

Luckily for us, EVERYONE has a .Mac account!

And why wouldn’t they? I mean, if you’ve just spent $80 on the new iLife ’06 suite, odds are you’ll want to pay another $100 a year to actually use it, right?

OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. With the exception of the new iWeb, most features in iLife currently work fine without a .Mac account. But let’s project a paranoid mind two years into the future. We’ve all heard rumors of the increased .Mac bandwidth being tied to the theoretical future streaming/storage of full length movies purchased through the iTunes store. While this did not happen this January, it certainly seems plausible. What if a .Mac account would be needed to purchase feature films via iTunes? And we’ve also heard of Microsoft’s strategy to move its Office suite of software to the web. Jobs said flat out that iPhoto’s new “Photocasting� feature requires a .Mac account to publish to. Could Apple be considering moving its iApps online as well? It isn’t all that far fetched an idea.

I have not yet seen iWeb in person, but there does not appear to be any mention on Apple’s site of using it to create a website that can be viewed on any server other than a .Mac account. In fact, your average 12-year-old who isusing iWeb to make their website will likely hit “publish� and then tell their parents that iWeb doesn’t work without a .Mac account, and can they borrow $100?. Oh sure, if you know what you are doing you may be able to find the files iWeb creates and ftp them yourself somewhere, but the clear indication here is if you want to make a website, and you want to make a podcast, and you want to share your photos with your friends, you really ought to have a .Mac account. And it might be a good idea if your friends had one too.

I do realize that for many the .Mac account makes sense. For $100 a year, you get some nice features, an OK amount of storage, and fairly seamless integration with the iLife apps, and this would be fine if the iApps were free (I still think iPhoto should be free, and iTunes should not be billed as part of the iLife suite). But if I pay $80 for iLife ’06, whose only new feature is a web building App (sorry, all the other apps got incremental upgrades only), I would hope I would not be expected to shell out $100 a year to keep it running.

Of course, I am being a bit extreme here. But this year’s keynote speech seemed to me to represent a LARGE shift towards .Mac integration with the iApps. My spider sense is tingling, and I am a bit worried that by this time next year, Apple will have come up with yet another reason why I need to sign up for a .Mac account just to use software they already sold me.

I realize all companies are out to make money, and I am not saying .Mac is a bad thing. But the way Apple is marketing this is worrisome. I’d rather they just sell iLife for a flat $100 and include the .Mac thing for free, or that they include iWeb as a part of .Mac, and not a part of iLife. Make iWeb yet another benefit of owning a .Mac account.

I suppose in the end it is all semantics, really, and I would rather see Apple say, “Look, if you get a .Mac account you can use this free app to put all your iLife stuff on the web!� instead of saying “You just bought a $12 application, now, if you get a .Mac account, you can use it to put all your iLife stuff on the web!�

12 Responses to “Apple looks to force .Mac down our throats in 2006”
  1. Damien says:

    I could not agree with you more.

    My main gripe is that .mac is still not worth the money it asks for. 1 GB? For Homepage, Email and iDisk? When google mail offers twice this for just mail it seems very unfair to charge $100 for the pleasure of half that space spread across 3 uses

    The Interface on the .mac page is horrible, brushed metal does not work well online!

    In the end to make .mac more popular they need to offer a lot more. A nicer interface, more space as standard, and a more trusted email. Email should not go down.

  2. Jake says:

    Look on the iWeb page under one click .Mac publishing. It’s right there: you need a webserver, but not necessarily .Mac (it’s “recommended”). It’ll be interesting to see what the requirements for the generic webserver are.

  3. Frank Mylls says:

    I think they should port iLife to Windows (at least part of, like iWeb), if they really want to migrate users over to OS X. Think about it from a marketing perspective. Look at what iTunes did for the iPod. Once they allowed Windows users to use iTunes, iPod sales jumped through the roof. Apple seems to want to pull users from Windows to Mac via the iPod according to many websites (hey, if this is easy, think of what else can be just as easy.)

    Continue this “strategy” (if this is it). Show Windows users how easy it is to do basic every day stuff using thier software. Many people want to start blogging and have thier own website (I read an article many moons ago that said everyone should have a domain – I Agree – it’s like a home address that you can take wherever). iLife can help them make life easier. Once users get comfy with it, reel them in to a Mac so that they can see how easy it is to do other tasks. I’m not a Windows hater (I like both OS’s as well as Linux, and have all three running).

    Apple is full of marketing genious. I’m sure they are already thinking of somethign similar.

  4. Jesse says:

    Some say that to port iLife to Windows would reduce the advantage OS X has in lifestyle applications. However it’s only a matter of time until Microsoft replicates this experience themselves. Once the happens the competitive advantage will be reduced if not lost entirely. If Apple were to port iLife now, they’d a least have the mind-share of those users and even some additional revenue which could be poured back into R&D. Apple makes cool hardware, but each year that goes by, it becomes the software that defines the company. I think more emphasis on Software is a good thing.

  5. As a .Mac customer from day one, I agree that the iWeb product could’ve been a feature of .Mac rather than iLife. I’ve been purplexed at times by Apple’s offerings (or lack of) of .Mac features.

    I dissagree though with the comments on the value of .Mac. Even though I could probably find solutions to many of the uses I get out of .Mac, the convenience of all its tools well integrated with the Mac makes it well worth the $100. I believe I use every tool they offer. I especially like the automatic syncronization of Address Book, iCal, and Safari Bookmarks on all three of my Macs (work, home desktop, & personal PB). In fact, I’m waiting for them to create a path for a current .Mac user (such as myself) to transition to the .Mac Family Pack, so I can include my family in on the fun.

    Yes, Apple is in this for the money and their motives may look suspect. But maybe they’re forcing .Mac down our throats for our own good.

  6. Harv Nagra says:

    Microsoft can try, but they will not successfully replicate the experience of iLife on Windows. They have absolutely no concept of what good interaction design is, and have never demonstrated it in any of their products. They don’t figure out what the users want before they do it, they just pump out garbage and see what sticks. Read The Inmates Are Running the Asylum for more on this horrifying process.

    I don’t think Apple should port it to Windows AT ALL. iLife is an advantage of having a Mac.

  7. Damien says:

    There still remains little benefit though. How many email services have downtime? It is also a terrible interface. I like the new home screen they have put up now but i wish they would make the mail and address sections equally improved. It just looks terrible

    How much is upgrading your space to 2gb?

  8. jbelkin says:

    First, NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO BUY ANYTHING. It’s available if you want it. If you can’t afford .Mac or don’t want it or don’t need it – DON’T BUY IT. iLIFE 6, 5, 4 ALL run fine (as many people I know are still running 4) on your Mac. Why are you so offended when Apple offers people a pretty seamless integration of their app to .Mac?

    If it’s NOT for you, don’t buy it but just let it go – you have to examine why you loathe it so much?

    Do you feel we’re being ripped off so you want to protect us “saps?” The price is right upfront. It’s not like Apple charges you $179 for ilife with .Mac so you feel like it’s “wasted,” Yes, you lose a little integration with outside websites/web hosts but can you name two web hosts that offer the exact same serivces with the exact same way to FTPing or loading info?

    Apple offers you a CHOICE. You don’t need .Mac to run your Mac. Yes, you can get a free email address and storage for essentially free so if that’s all you want, you obviously don’t need .Mac but for some of us (and you will allow us to buy something you don’t buy, right?)

    We prefer an email address that is not going away or classier than one ending in ‘hotmail.’

    We like being to access our SYNCED address book and our mail from anywhere where we can get an internet connection.

    We like being able to access our SYNCED Safari bookmarks from anywhere in the world with internet connection.

    We like having a graphical representation of our storage space (iDisk) so it looks just any HDD on our mac and we can drag files to and from it.

    We like being to assign a password to a folder for people to grab and drop files into using a setup that is graphical and easy to understand.

    We like being to highlight a bunch of photos and send it to a CLASSY looking webpage from iphoto and assign an url.

    Even before iWeb, I have a website but know very little about HTMl or care to – Apple offers a couple dozen extremely classy homepage templates for craeting a blog or even posting a video on the web.

    We like getting free software every few months including hundreds of sound effects and garaageband loops, games, etc …

    AND that’s NOT all of the features of .Mac.

    If that’s not wotth $70 to $99 bucks a year – hey, that’s your choice but don’t feel the need to get offended when people do buy .Mac and HAPPILY. Do I wish it were $20 a year – sure. I also wish I could buy a Ferrari for $5k but the price is upfront.

    If you think .mac is just email and storage space – clearly you have NO IDEA what you’re missing. If you know HTml and can code in BBEdit – great – you don’t need .Mac but for some/many of us – it’s a lot of pretty cool features for not that much money. But just because you can’t, won’t or don’t need it – do NOT BAD MOUTH it because from what’s written above – you clearly don’t know what you’re talkinga bout.

  9. I agree that .Mac has some neat features, but as far as having a “classy” e-mail address, I don’t know that .Mac is any more classy than hotmail.

    And as far as an address that isn’t going to go away, Hotmail has a better chance of sticking around than Apple does as a company, let alone an e-mail account.

    I think what all these people are saying is the main thing .Mac seems to have going for it over free services is it integrates well with the iApps. If the iApps were free, this would be great (and don’t say just buy a new Mac to get them free.) But since the iApps are increasingly adding features that seem to be relying on .Mac to run, or to be cool, it seems a little lame to charge for both. And without .Mac iWeb is essentially useless, even if there is a convoluted workaround to export to a different server. Therefore the point that it should have been bundled as a part of .Mac instead of iLife ’06 is a valid one.

  10. David says:

    there is one major important change in iDVD – third party DVD burner support – that is reason enough for me to upgrade

  11. Damien says:

    Also isnt going to go away is more likely if you have to pay $100 each year to keep it.

    I was not attacking those who use it simply pointing out the reasons why i do not like it. You might want to think and read before you flame.

    I would also like to see where i was offended ?

    If you cannot read and have to make up motives then stay out of a discussion until you understand what the post was saying.

  12. J says:

    Excuse me, but last time I read you can do this whole “photocasing” stuff on another website. .Mac is NOT required for that! Your photos, however, will NOT be password protected like they could be in .Mac. iWeb also publishes to other sites and not just to .Mac.

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