Finally! A Rumor I don’t care about! (oh, and one that I do) - Macenstein

Finally! A Rumor I don’t care about! (oh, and one that I do)

Well, I didn’t think it could happen, but an Apple-related rumor has finally surfaced that I don’t care about. TUAW has got wind that .Mac might be undergoing some enhancements to coincide with the new iPhone launch, presumed to happen as early as next month. According to their “anonymous source”, .Mac users who own an iPhone will gain push e-mail, as well as “Full over-the-air syncing including calendars, contacts, and email (similar to Exchange) and .Mac syncing on Windows”.


I know from reading our comments that we actually have a fairly high percentage of .Mac users among our readership, and hey, more power to you. But personally, I hate .Mac. It’s not that I have anything against the functionality it provides, it’s just I am among the fairly large (and cheap) portion of the Mac community that thinks it should be free, as we have essentially already paid for it. As each version of OS X and each version of iLife is updated, more and more “big name” features have become tied to owning a .Mac membership in order to use them, and Apple has become more and more aggressive in making you aware that while it’s great you’re using iPhoto, if you had .Mac, you could do some cool stuff! Same with iWeb, iMovie, etc. – that annoying .Mac icon is everywhere. In fact, even to use one of the coolest new features of Leopard (Back to My Mac), you need to pay $100 a year for .Mac. (How are we poor Mac users supposed to catch our laptop thieves without Back To My Mac?).

As a fanboy I realize there is a certain thrill to having an e-mail address that has “Mac” in it, but aside from that, .Mac’s allure has somehow evaded me. When just about all the same functionality is available for free via other services, it seems crazy that Apple charges so much for so little. A whopping 10 GB of online storage? Wow. That really makes .Mac’s backup feature useful. And now there is going to be .Mac iPhone integration.


Well, as apathetic towards .Mac as I may be, alongside this particular .Mac rumor I don’t care about is one that I DO care about. Digg user GCarden mentions here that ” just today I got a poll via email from Apple asking me, among other things, how much I’d pay for each individual feature of .Mac.”. While the comments in response to GCarden for the most part coincided with with my feelings (drlha writes “I hope your reply was “$0″ because I can get all these features for free from Google/Yahoo etc.” while willynilly says “.Mac is already used as an excuse not to fix several glaring functional omissions from Apple software; for example, the inability to export E-mail filters in order to use them on multiple machines. Let’s not encourage further use of this fee-based service as a crutch.”) the idea that Apple may be considering breaking up the .Mac services into an a la carte menu is intriguing to me. I don’t want to pay $100 a year for .Mac, but I might pay $10 a year to be able to publish web galleries out of iPhoto (although, really, even though this feature is the one I would use most from .Mac, it is the one that is specifically designed to encourage further spending on prints, and therefore the last one I think SHOULD be charged for). Hopefully, if GCarden answered “0” to all questions in Apple’s survey as drlha suggested, we may see a either a price drop or segmented pricing structure in .Mac’s future, if not (dare we hope) the abolition of fees altogether?

Unfortunately, even I think that’s a bit optimistic. It’s more likely that Apple’s considering a >Mac price hike, and hoping to get a bunch of “I’d pay 4 times as much for all the joy .Mac has brought me!” in response to its survey… still, one can hope.

13 Responses to “Finally! A Rumor I don’t care about! (oh, and one that I do)”
  1. Kelly says:


    You make some great points. I am a .Mac user and I have no complaints. Not even the price. I think $100 is a bargain for all that I get. The best feature for me is iWeb. I don’t know squat about website design, etc. and it allows me to make some good albeit basic web pages. I love it! Love

    Looking forward to seeing more done with .Mac.

    Also hoping for more enhancements to iWeb.

    Hoping the price stays the same or goes down.

    No problem with .Mac from me.


  2. All the features you state here are the reason .Mac is not free. There is no service on the Net anywhere that offers all of what .Mac offers in one place.

    – Website hosting
    – Domain Name access
    – IMAP email (Google only just recently got that)
    – 10Gb Storage (Google has more but you can’t easily access it as a device)
    – Photo Galleries
    – Access to software discounts
    – Back to my Mac
    – Addressbook synching
    – Calendar synching
    – Group shares
    – and more

    Some companies offer some of these and charge more. I seriously doubt your claims of .Mac not being worth it are well thought out, and anyone else who thinks this for that matter. The fact this service is so cheap is a miracle in itself.

    I challenge you to show me a free service that provides ALL of these features and is integrated into the system. You can’t.

    $100(US) a year? Seriously? You can’t afford that?

    Apple needs to control all these in one place to make it as seamless as possible for users. There is no seamless access to GMail’s disk storage, no seamless access to its video and photo galleries, no seamless access to its website storage so yes it is worth every cent of nothing to be honest.

    At least the $100/yr weeds out the riff raff.

  3. Art Vandelay says:

    I swear, if Steve wastes his time up there talking about .Mac when he could be announcing a new MBP, I’m going to get Randy Newman to come sing again.

  4. odin says:

    I have .Mac but I would never pay $100 for it. I got a license on eBay for about $59. Personally I find the sync function way too simple to do without. I’ve had other solutions in the past, but none that fell into place so well.

  5. Ethan says:

    I don’t like the idea of Apple abolishing the fee altogether. I personally think Apple should view .mac in the same way it views the iTunes Store. Apple claims to make very little from the iTunes store, and has used it to encourage iPod sales. And it has worked.

    Apple is a software company. They make hardware for two reasons: it allows them to make really great software, and it is their bread and butter. What really defines the experience for the user is the software. If .mac were free it would add a whole new level to OS X – and just like iLife, would come with every new Mac. But it would be a money pit for Apple.

    I think Apple should be charging only enough to cover their costs (or most of their costs) for .mac, and use it to drive sales of Macs where the real money comes from. $100 a year isn’t bad, but at $30 a year, everyone would be on board.

    I think Apple has convinced themselves .mac is important to their business. And I agree. I wouldn’t put it past them to release a major/semi-major update to the service this year. I say that if Apple is really cooking something up with .mac for WWDC it will be the rumored features (they make a lot of sense) and a substantial price drop.

    As far as Apple polling to see how much people would pay for the individual services of .mac – who the heck thought that means they might serve the pieces up a la carte? That type of question doesn’t have anything to do with the idea of offering individual paid services, but rather to gauge how much people value those individual services. It’s ridiculous to suggest Apple would offer a menu of different online services to pick and choose from.

  6. I wouldn’t want to live without it – it’s seamless, works beautifully and is supported by more and more applications. It’s around £60 in the UK and worth every penny 🙂

  7. darrell says:

    i have to agree with the doc for a different reason altogether – what .mac offers surely can be done in other free or cheap ways – google IMAP, firefox bookmark sync, mozy backup. i’ve tested these all out and personally i’m pretty sure .mac would be a better experience.

    but i believe .mac should be free with all current versions of iLife. you buy iLife 08? you get .mac for free till iLife 09. and once apple has you using these every year you’ll be hooked. sure it sounds like a stupid idea, but they could raise the price of iLife to accomodate it. say from $50 to $75. you buy a new mac? you get .mac for free for a year… or do you already?

  8. Ed says:

    Well I’d love to sign up for .mac. and yes, if you happen to be a professional user, then £60 a year is nothing. However, if you happen to be a creative student mac user (as most audio/film/design students tend to be) that £60 is just too much. 90% of my fellow students when I did Audio Engineering at uni had Mac’s, and 0% of them had a .mac account.

    I can assure you that if Apple dropped the price to £20 or maybe £30, about 60 students I know personally (and myself) would sign up this very instant.

  9. Alan says:

    Sorry, Loweded Wookie, even offered as a bundled service, the .mac services are not worth $100. I’m with Dr. Macenstein, it’s just not a service I care about. They could do so much more to make it worth it. Probably the biggest joke is 10 Gb of storage. That’s it? Are you kidding me? Apple has $20 billion in cash reserves and they’re offering 10 GB of storage for $100 a year? What?

    “There is no service on the Net anywhere that offers all of what .Mac offers in one place.

    – Website hosting
    – Domain Name access
    – IMAP email (Google only just recently got that)
    – 10Gb Storage (Google has more but you can’t easily access it as a device)
    – Photo Galleries
    – Access to software discounts
    – Back to my Mac
    – Addressbook synching
    – Calendar synching
    – Group shares
    – and more”

  10. Sudhir K Singh says:

    Well, i agree with the Doc. Dotmac is certainly overpriced. Though it seems to offer a lot, the majority of members don’t use half those features which, in any case, are freely available at other sites.

    What’s more the professionalism and promptness of its Support staff is not a patch on MIcrosoft Exchange.

    Methinks, Dotmac should offer basic services like syncing email, bookmarks, address book, calendars, standard back-up, and access to photo galleries for not more than $25.

    Pay the full price to get the the rest of the features, ie web hosting, Back To My Mac, Group sharing etc.

  11. imajoebob says:

    The only value in .mac is the cool .mac mail. Nothing else. You can get all the services elsewhere, just not the integration with the apps. It really sucks that you don’t get all the features (at least to use locally) when you buy a piece of software. It reminds me of this package called “Vista.” I wonder if Steve’s ever heard of it. I’ll bet he’d have great things to say about its pricing model. No?

  12. Mike A says:

    The ability to access your dotmac machines remotely is totally worth the price of admission. I have a mac at home that acts as a server where I archive all my client material. Today, Mother’s Day, I got a call from a client with a major emergency and I was 50 miles from home. Since my server mac is linked to dotmac, i was able to pull out my MBA, hop onto Mom’s wireless, access the files i needed and get it all done within minutes. My assistant lives across town and is able to access files and even work directly on the machine (it has a Turbo 264 plugged into it for video processing). Her mac is linked to my dotmac.

    if you own more than one mac, it is an absolute necessity.

    And yes, i know that i could probably do this with some sort of convoluted SSH and VNC but this works out of the box. How much have i saved by not hiring a consultant to come in and set this up for me?? i bet it was more than $100.

    Love the site. Keep it up.

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