.Mac is a group of online services offered by Apple Inc. mainly for its Mac OS X users, although a limited subset of features are available for other platforms. Originally a free service offered exclusively to Mac OS users, .Mac now works on an annual subscription service open to all platforms, while remaining primarily focused on Mac OS X. Despite what the name implies, .Mac is not a top level domain. History of .Mac
.Mac is based on iTools (not to be mixed up with Tenon's web application with the same name), which were Internet tools available free of charge for Mac users.Mac is a suite of Internet services and software launched at Macworld Expo, New York on July 17, 2002, and initially offered several tools to subscribers:
HomePage - a personal web hosting serviceiDisk - an online disk storage firstname.lastname@example.org - e-mail service provider offering both POP and IMAP protocolsBackup - a personal back-up solution that allows users to archive data to their iDisk, CD or DVD.iCards - an online greeting card serviceiReview - a website review serviceAs iDisk made use of WebDAV technology and mac.com was an IMAP service, these services could be accessed from any other computer platform (although a Mac was needed to establish an account).On September 17, 2002 Apple announced that more than 100,000 .Mac users had subscribed to the company's .Mac suite of Internet services and software since its launch in July.On September 30, 2002, the iTools service was discontinued, though .Mac continued as a subscription service. This move generated a mixed reaction among the Macintosh community, with some believing that .Mac was overpriced. Advocates, however, cited improved services and perks such as free software. Up to June 15, 2005, this included McAfee's Virex virus scanner (which was exclusive to subscribers), though some noted the irony and questioned the value for the virtually virus-free Mac.In October 2006, Apple launched an update to its .Mac Mail service that now resembles closely the experience of the Mac OS X Mail application. The new functionality is built on top of AJAX and provides rich user experience such as drag-and-drop, a live-updating three-way split view, and ability to resize panels.In a special event in August 2007, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the following changes to .mac:
A new Web Gallery feature, similar to Flickr and YouTube combined10 Gigabytes of total storage for all standard customers (meaning that 1GB customers now have 10GB) for no extra charge; 2GB/5GB users now have 20GB/30GB respectively100/200/300 GB transfer at no extra chargeMac OS X v10.5 "Leopard" uses .Mac to give dynamic DNS services for it's Back to My Mac feature, a remote desktop service. Pricing
.Mac is a subscription-based service priced at $99.95 USD per year. Existing iTools accounts were transitioned to .Mac accounts during a free trial period ending September 30, 2002. Each account comes with one mac.com email address with 10GB space (As of August 7, 2007). Users who want larger iDisks can pay for more space, for up to 30GB total (before August 7, 2007 it was 4GB). The space on an iDisk can be used in any manner (subject to the terms of the .Mac license agreement), and the amount of space dedicated to mac.com email is only limited by the size of the iDisk. The iDisk can be mounted as a normal volume on any Mac OS desktop.The annual fee for .Mac can be reduced either through Apple's referral program, which offers a 20% discount for the following year for each referral or by purchasing a subscription with a new Mac, which gives one a 30% discount. Criticism
Most complaints typically stem from the opinion that .Mac is overpriced,thereforenot offering value for the money. Others feel that there are a small number of apps that integrate with .Mac. While there have been calls for Apple to drop the price, Apple has kept .Mac's price the same.As of October 1, 2007 the notMac Challenge has been met, providing users who maintain their own servers with a means to emulate the functionality of Apple's .Mac client-side services. Mac OS integration
.Mac is closely integrated with the Mac OS, and having .Mac can extend the functions of many programs, most notably within the iLife suite. Among the most notable:
iDisks can be mounted as any other volume on the Mac OS desktop. Furthermore, it is possible to mount the public portion of another user's iDisk. This mechanism was one of the early ways to receive free software as part of .Mac. It is possible to queue files for upload to an iDisk that is offline, though actual uploading will be done only when the iDisk is mounted.Address Book entries, iCal dates, Safari bookmarks and, as of Mac OS X 10.4, keychains, mail accounts, mail rules, mail signatures, and smart mailboxes can be synched with the iDisk through iSync (prior to 10.4) or .Mac syncing (in 10.4), allowing easy synchronization between multiple computers.iWeb allows users to create web pages that can be uploaded to iDisk and published.Similarly, the iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, and iTunes libraries can easily be uploaded to iDisk (subject to various licensing agreements).Backup can be used to make backups to iDisk or local media.iPhoto can be used for one-click web-publishing of photo albums. Although support of iPhoto 2 has been dropped, this feature still works for versions of iPhoto shipped with iLife '04 and later. Security
.Mac connections are secured by utilising industry standard SSL encryption. When using a mail program, such as Apple Mail, your .Mac mail is automatically encrypted. In addition, iChat users using a .Mac account can encrypt their chats with other iChat .Mac users.
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