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Apple may re-brand .Mac internet service

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
Apple's .Mac online subscription service, often criticized for its lack of truly compelling features and steep prices to boot, could soon get a face lift and re-branding, findings in some of the company's latest software releases seem to suggest.

Daring Fireball is already onto the breadcrumb trail which began last week with Russian-language site Deep Apple discovering some peculiar changes to the "Localizable.strings" resource in Mac OS X 10.5.3.

Specifically, the site noted that strings related to iCal now include a wildcard placeholder for the .Mac name rather than a hardcoding of the name itself. This is changed from Mac OS X 10.5.2, the site added.

/* Label of the .Mac button in iCals General preferences. %@ is the new name of Apples online service (was .Mac) (remove -XX02) */

Inspired by Deep Apple, another site by the name of Blogging Robots picked up on on trail and discovered that the same wildcard holders had been embedded into the code for both the new versions of Safari and Mail.app.



/* Title of .Mac alert sheet, with .Mac brand name subsituted */
You need a %@ account that has syncing enabled = You need a %@ account that has syncing enabled;

/* Title of button used to open the .Mac system preference pane. */
AOS_SYNC_BUTTON_FORMAT = %@;
/* Descriptive text for .Mac Sync. */
AOS_SYNC_FORMAT = Use %@ to synchronize Accounts, Rules, Notes, Signatures, and Smart Mailboxes.;

The site added that the three applications appear to be retrieving the .Mac name from a CoreServices system file that could easily be infused with a new service name via a future software update, "and boom! all your apps will have the new name."

On-again, off-again rumors have pegged Apple to be working on an overhaul to .Mac that would appear around mid-year. Some tipsters have even gone as far as to suggest the company would tie the service into its 3G iPhone plans, offering a discount on the $99 per-year subscription fee for those customers who purchase both items.

Should that be the case, .Mac would suddenly seem like an odd brand for a service positioned at millions of iPhone wielding Windows users, Daring Fireball notes. As such, the site points to AppleInsider's January 2006 discovery of Apple's "Mobile Me" trademark as a likely candidate for a re-branding.

At the time, it was noted that Apple filed for the Mobile Me mark under four distinct categorizations, the most interesting of which being:

"Telecommunication services; electronic transmission and retrieval of data, images, audio, video and documents, including text, cards, letters, messages, mail, animations, and electronic mail, over local or global communications networks, including the internet, intranets, extranets, television, mobile communication, cellular and satellite networks; electronic transmission of computer software over local or global communications networks, including the internet, intranets, extranets, television, mobile communication, cellular, and satellite networks; electronic mail services; facsimile transmission; web site portal services; providing access to databases and local or global communications networks, including the internet, intranets, extranets, television, mobile communication, cellular, and satellite networks; internet service provider services; message transmission services, namely, electronic transmission of messages; telecommunication services for the dissemination of information by mobile telephone, namely the transmission of data to mobile telephones; mobile telephone communication services."

Meanwhile, the MobileMe.com domain name has been parked for some time under Apple's traditional domain registrar, Mark Monitor. Its records were updated less than two months ago. In itself, that doesn't say much. But the (below) resource photos also recently taken by Blogging Robots from a recent iPhone SDK build make things a bit more interesting:



post #2 of 86
Am I going to have to change my email address?

After going through AOL then a couple of Comcast addresses (@rr, @home and .net) and now FIOS I figured .mac would be my last stop for a while...
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post #3 of 86
I must admit, frankly, that I always hated the name. It seemed like a rip-off of Microsoft's bizarrely named .NET.

I seem to be in the minority of people who actually say they like the service, but even I think a name change would certainly be a welcome change. Mobile Me is not one of the names I'd choose -- sounds like Dr. Evil's sidekick (or his T-Mobile Sidekick?), even though I think it might give Verne Troyer a chance to return to Apple ads (he was ADORABLE in his ad with Yao Ming!)
post #4 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Am I going to have to change my email address?

After going through AOL then a couple of Comcast addresses (@rr, @home and .net) and now FIOS I figured .mac would be my last stop for a while...

My .Mac e-mail address ends with @mac.com. There's no .mac in the actual address.
post #5 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Am I going to have to change my email address?

After going through AOL then a couple of Comcast addresses (@rr, @home and .net) and now FIOS I figured .mac would be my last stop for a while...

Yeah, I used to have an eworld.com address.

m

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post #6 of 86
Hope this rumor is true.

Renamed or not, .Mac has long been Apple's least compelling/worst value equation offering.

I used it for a year to host my iWeb site but never found anything else relevant to me -- though the Leo Laporte MacBreak Weekly gang seems to find it a linch pin of their existence.

But for free I can collaborate on docs on Google, coordinate GCal and iCal, and store 5GB of data on various services (including M$'s SkyDrive!!). And host a website for less than a Ben Frank a year.

And someone can correct me, but in a mixed PC/Mac setup like I have, I don't think I can do the real-time sharing that can be done with multiple Macs.

My opinion is that .Mac COULD be a very compelling service, but it needs a real refresh, the latest computing in the cloud tricks, more features, more storage and a lower price (or more clearly added value for the AVERAGE computer user, not just Mac uber-geeks).

PS: At least I got to keep Backup.app for my subscription and use it to back up my key docs to a flash drive I keep off site, while using SuperDuper to clone my entire system on an external drive I keep in another part of the house (soon to be kept in a fire resistant safe).

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post #7 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

My .Mac e-mail address ends with @mac.com. There's no .mac in the actual address.

If you keep looking through the localized.strings file, you'll find the following text near the bottom:

Top radio button when subscribing to password-protected calendar. First %@ is the name of Apple's online service (was .Mac), second %@ is the name of the user's .Mac account, and the third %@ is the domain for Apple's online service (was mac.com)

The mac.com domain is clearly getting a new name. That doesn't mean that mac.com won't continue to work, it just means that mac.com won't be the name they advertise.
post #8 of 86
... or they could be using good coding practices by not putting variable names directly on a page but referencing them from another page.
post #9 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Am I going to have to change my email address?

After going through AOL then a couple of Comcast addresses (@rr, @home and .net) and now FIOS I figured .mac would be my last stop for a while...

Registering your own domain name and mapping it to something else isn't very expensive, then you'll REALLY never have to change your e-mail address. I've had the same address since the late 90's despite working for multiple companies, living in multiple states, and having had all of DSL, cable, and FiOS during that time.
post #10 of 86
Man this really sucks. The more I read about this the more depressed I get.

I have been on .Mac for over eight years.
The "mac.com" email address was supposed to be for life!

And come on ... "mobileMe"???? WTF?

That's almost as stupid a name as "Yahoo!"

Steve Jobs if you are reading this I do *not* want to change my great email address to "idiot@mobileme.com." I don't think anyone in their right mind would.

Out of the millions of possible names, "mobileMe" is not even a good one. In an email address without the intercapitals it reads "mobilame" ??? It also has no connection to Apple, Macs or iPhones.

This has to be either a joke, a misunderstanding. This is the first time in years I feel like saying "F*ck you" to Apple over one of their decisions.
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post #11 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

Hope this rumor is true.

Renamed or not, .Mac has long been Apple's least compelling/worst value equation offering.

I used it for a year to host my iWeb site but never found anything else relevant to me -- though the Leo Laporte MacBreak Weekly gang seems to find it a linch pin of their existence.

But for free I can collaborate on docs on Google, coordinate GCal and iCal, and store 5GB of data on various services (including M$'s SkyDrive!!). And host a website for less than a Ben Frank a year.

And someone can correct me, but in a mixed PC/Mac setup like I have, I don't think I can do the real-time sharing that can be done with multiple Macs.

My opinion is that .Mac COULD be a very compelling service, but it needs a real refresh, the latest computing in the cloud tricks, more features, more storage and a lower price (or more clearly added value for the AVERAGE computer user, not just Mac uber-geeks).

PS: At least I got to keep Backup.app for my subscription and use it to back up my key docs to a flash drive I keep off site, while using SuperDuper to clone my entire system on an external drive I keep in another part of the house (soon to be kept in a fire resistant safe).

The most compelling .Mac feature for me was always the iSync integration. Once they started deprecating iSync in 10.4, .Mac became almost useless to me. Someone really needs to go back and take a hard look at the iSync decisions in recent years and re-attack that API space.
post #12 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

My .Mac e-mail address ends with @mac.com. There's no .mac in the actual address.

Oh wow.
You might think I would have noticed that...

...But no.


------------------------------

OK, they can change the name, then. I'm not excited by Mobile Me either, but I don't see it as something to get too excited over...
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post #13 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

Hope this rumor is true.

Renamed or not, .Mac has long been Apple's least compelling/worst value equation offering.

I used it for a year to host my iWeb site but never found anything else relevant to me --).

I hear this a lot, but honestly, it all depends what you use it for...

For me, the ability to keep all three of my Macs in sync (daily) is worth the price alone.. The iDisk is a joke, but the syncing of contacts, calenders, appointments etc. is very useful..
post #14 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Registering your own domain name and mapping it to something else isn't very expensive, then you'll REALLY never have to change your e-mail address. I've had the same address since the late 90's despite working for multiple companies, living in multiple states, and having had all of DSL, cable, and FiOS during that time.

Yeah, been thinking about it for a few years. Just never got to it...
I may ask for advice sometime...
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post #15 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Registering your own domain name and mapping it to something else isn't very expensive, then you'll REALLY never have to change your e-mail address. I've had the same address since the late 90's despite working for multiple companies, living in multiple states, and having had all of DSL, cable, and FiOS during that time.

Yeah, I never understood why people use these email addresses that comes with the ISP. Things change, you move, you change internet provider. If you don't want to go with your own domain at least go with a provider separate from you internet provider. Like gmail, yahoo, hotmail (god forbid;-)) etc. Then your email address is a lot less likely to change while everything else might....

/Mikael
post #16 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Man this really sucks. The more I read about this the more depressed I get.

It's obvious from the comments in the localized.strings file that the .Mac service and the mac.com domain are getting new names, but there is absolutely no indication that mobileme is going to be the new name or that mac.com will be discontinued. The cost of maintaining mac.com as one of the names that points to the domain is trivial.

There is ample reason for a company to buy up domains they never plan to use. Do you remember the 1-800-OPERATOR service long ago? A competitor got the number 1-800-OPERATER and just let the phone ring. The same thing can happen with domain names. Just because Apple reserved mobileme.com doesn't necessarily mean they plan to use it.

Anyway, if you pronounce mobileme as moble-leem (accent on the second syllable), it sounds like a waitress in a diner. Imagine, "Hey, Mobileme, where's that beer I ordered?"

Anyway, Virgil, while practice makes perfect, I think it's a waste of good emotions to get worked up about this before it happens. The mac.com email address might be permanent after all. It might turn out that you have been all worked up about nothing, and if it does, you'll have to add "silly" to your emotional repertoire. So hold off all emotional reactions until the ninth.
post #17 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Man this really sucks. The more I read about this the more depressed I get.

I have been on .Mac for over eight years.
The "mac.com" email address was supposed to be for life!

And come on ... "mobileMe"???? WTF?

That's almost as stupid a name as "Yahoo!"

Steve Jobs if you are reading this I do *not* want to change my great email address to "idiot@mobileme.com." I don't think anyone in their right mind would.

Out of the millions of possible names, "mobileMe" is not even a good one. In an email address without the intercapitals it reads "mobilame" ??? It also has no connection to Apple, Macs or iPhones.

This has to be either a joke, a misunderstanding. This is the first time in years I feel like saying "F*ck you" to Apple over one of their decisions.

You're getting angry over a rumor. Why don't you wait to see if it's true first.
post #18 of 86
I'm for a overhaul of .Mac, right now it's not worth 10 cents. I'm forced to use it because it allows me to work from home by storing "Work in Progress files" on it. Ironically I can't use the "Back to my Mac" feature because it doesn't work. Well, it did work twice in the last month but that's not stable enough for me to count on.

The only bright side is I had it FREE for 2 years so when I was forced to pay for it this year I didn't feel so bad. But it's not worth it unless you need it to make money which most people don't.
post #19 of 86
MobileMe sure sounds like something made up by an ad agency. I think it should be something with an "i" prefix.
post #20 of 86
The idea of a remote folder that automatically syncs across any Apple device is great. So is syncing of address books and favorites. And I even use iWeb for family and personal stuff. BUT...
It is all so SLOW and over priced. It should be free, fast and the management and set up could be much improved. At the moment it is awkward and convoluted and I can't find decent instructions. It also sucks that I can't edit my published iCal (is iCal part of .Mac?) calender from a web browser. I have to use Google Calender. I really hope .Mac will get a major facelift. The name mobileMe is terrible in any context but I'm not going to loose sleep over it. I can't imagine Apple would choose that name as a brand. They may use it as a service within a brand. mobileMe sounds like a clever dorky service provided by a cell phone company. Very un-cool.
post #21 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

I hear this a lot, but honestly, it all depends what you use it for...

For me, the ability to keep all three of my Macs in sync (daily) is worth the price alone.. The iDisk is a joke, but the syncing of contacts, calenders, appointments etc. is very useful..

And it would be even more useful if the online apps worked correctly! The online Address Book doesn't display all of your contact's information, only a limited set that Apple has chosen to display, and even some of that data is missing from the online listings (it refuses to display any of my contacts, and Apple's tech support only says "thank your for contacting us, we are aware that some users have this problem, you won't be hearing from us again on this issue" ...gee thanks...). And the only way to view your calendar online is to "publish" it for all the world to view, and even then it's read only and you can't get to it from your .Mac home page.

The photo galleries created by iPhoto and Aperture are pretty cool, but barely compatible with most web browsers out there.

.Mac has potential, but right now it's a bunch of half-implemented online tools. If they can't at least match the free tools Google is providing (with a couple of low-cost apps to integreate with your Mac), then I won't be renewing when the time comes.
post #22 of 86
I'm sorry, am I the only one thinking "Magical Me", like in Harry Potter, when I see "Mobile Me"?
post #23 of 86
Are you kidding me? Nobody has said anything about your email address changing. Relax! Even if Apple does make the change, who's to say they won't keep the mac.com email addresses around indefinitely? Man, some people get so fired up over nothing...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Man this really sucks. The more I read about this the more depressed I get.

I have been on .Mac for over eight years.
The "mac.com" email address was supposed to be for life!

And come on ... "mobileMe"???? WTF?

That's almost as stupid a name as "Yahoo!"

Steve Jobs if you are reading this I do *not* want to change my great email address to "idiot@mobileme.com." I don't think anyone in their right mind would.

Out of the millions of possible names, "mobileMe" is not even a good one. In an email address without the intercapitals it reads "mobilame" ??? It also has no connection to Apple, Macs or iPhones.

This has to be either a joke, a misunderstanding. This is the first time in years I feel like saying "F*ck you" to Apple over one of their decisions.
post #24 of 86
They should just shut it down and return the money to the stockhol.... oh, wait a second...

They should move to a free model and rebrand it Gmobile. Give the whole nut to Google.

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post #25 of 86
Apologies to everyone for my angry rant, and thanks to those who pointed out that I was being too emotional about the whole thing.

It's just that I went through so much trouble over the years to get and to keep that email address and to support .Mac that the thought that they would change it to something so ludicrous kind of felt like a giant kick in the bum.

Okay, breathing now ...

... calm blue ocean ... calm blue ocean ... calm blue ocean ...
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post #26 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Man this really sucks. The more I read about this the more depressed I get.


And come on ... "mobileMe"???? WTF?

I don't really care what they call it, so long as they keep providing the iWeb enhanced webspace and online galleries (the main reason I bought in to .mac) and by far the biggest thing - sort out the damn speed issues, particularly in Europe. It crawls like a 3 legged rabid dog on sleeping pills sometimes, any time of the day, on a 10meg connection.
post #27 of 86
So, I figured out that the mobileMeAlbum.png is encoded in the special version of the .png format that the iPhone OS uses. So, I fired up iPhonePNG & this is what was produced:



You can try this yourself for proof. On http://www.newsfirex.com/blog/?p=176, download the precompiled version

place "mobileMeAlbum.png" into your home folder. Open Terminal & type (without the quotation marks):

"iPhonePNG mobileMeAlbum.png"

& it will produce a "mobileMeAlbum-Decoded.png" file
post #28 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

They should just shut it down and return the money to the stockhol.... oh, wait a second...

They should move to a free model and rebrand it Gmobile. Give the whole nut to Google.

Hmm, interesting... But maybe not the whole nut. Use the Google online apps for mail, address book, and calendar. It looks like 10.5.3 already allows syncing with Google's contacts (haven't tried it yet to see how good a job it does). Google can already subscribe to published iCal calendars and iCal can subscribe to Google calendars, but they are each read-only, one-way so need to fix that. Not sure how well mail would work, Google and Apple's Mail each do some odd things with IMAP accounts.

The web site publishing and sync data could still be handled by Apple, just use Google's apps as the online clients for sync data instead of Apple's crippled versions.
post #29 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panu View Post

Anyway, if you pronounce mobileme as moble-leem (accent on the second syllable), it sounds like a waitress in a diner. Imagine, "Hey, Mobileme, where's that beer I ordered?"

Isn't that a Chuck Berry song?
post #30 of 86
Firstly, IMHO, the @mac.com e-mail domain will not be going anywhere; there is too much brand recognition in it for Apple to simply forfeit it. As more users convert to the Mac platform and utilize the service, especially the younger generation as the cost of iPhone's decline, @mac.com will gain a certain penache and serve as a viral marketing tool. It will be cool the same way Facebook or MySpace is to them. I think .Mac will be revamped for this very reason; that being, in order to evolve it into an online social network. Mobile Me might just be an exclusive function of .Mac reserved for iPhone users. http://http://seekingalpha.com/artic...social-network
post #31 of 86
People of the planet .mac,

You need to calm down with these threats. So funny to read them I need a break sometimes. Apple will make it work, do not worry. I don't believe emails will change, probably you will have a choice of keeping @mac.com or updating it.

.mac is a great product but not explained well in Apple's Dictionary. If people knew what it is, they would buy it. Just like Apple TV. (LOL)

One thing i really hope they drop the Ancient Designs of iPages and iCards. They been on .mac for 6 years now. Don't redesign them. Just drop them....in trash.

Go APPLE!!!
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post #32 of 86
Nice.

I just got business stationery printed with my .mac address listed.
OK, can I have my matte Apple display, now?
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post #33 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by celebi23 View Post

So, I figured out that the mobileMeAlbum.png is encoded in the special version of the .png format that the iPhone OS uses. So, I fired up iPhonePNG & this is what was produced:



You can try this yourself for proof. On http://www.newsfirex.com/blog/?p=176, download the precompiled version

place "mobileMeAlbum.png" into your home folder. Open Terminal & type (without the quotation marks):

"iPhonePNG mobileMeAlbum.png"

& it will produce a "mobileMeAlbum-Decoded.png" file

So, the .png file is that blue book in your post? I'm trying to figure out if that is just a placeholder icon or if that is the real deal. Kind of weird for a "Mobile Me" icon.

Oh, and I like the Mobile Me name. Catchy.
post #34 of 86
There is no reason for the uproar over email addresses.

Even if new users get a MobileMe domain, there is no evidence to suggest Apple will force anyone to change their older dotmac email address. Rebranded Internet companies maintain alternate domains like this all the time.
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post #35 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Isn't that a Chuck Berry song?

Whew! What a relief! That's what I thought, "Mobileme, why can't you be true?" I thought I must be crazy, but you came up with the same thing.

So, either I'm not crazy or we are both crazy in the exact same way!

As far as the suggestion regarding tossing it to Google, maybe they should do that can just call it gMac (and wait for the lawsuits to come from the General Motors Acceptance Corporation.)
post #36 of 86
For $99.00 you get web hosting, 10G storage, email, and back to my mac. Oh wait, I can get all of this for free somewhere else (except for back to my mac)!!

Really Apple, $8.25 a month is a lot for this. Why not make it real service with push email, integrate it more with iPhone, lower the price, and add more features.
post #37 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

Nice. I just got business stationery printed with my .mac address listed.

I doubt they would stop support the old domain.
post #38 of 86
any improvement would be welcome and we won't lose our email address....come on guys it's apple and its simple to connect the two domains.....we worry too much.
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post #39 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

...come on guys it's apple...

That's what they're worried about!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #40 of 86
Come on everyone. If they are going to rebrand .Mac (and it sure looks like they are going to) they are not going to get rid of the mac.com domain. So everyone who is freaking out about getting their @mac.com email changed... that wont happen. They may end up making mobileme.com for new subscribers, but all the old @mac.com's will stay the same.

That happen to me a long time ago when Verizon bought out the phone company I had my dial-up account email with. They changed everything to Verizon including new subscribers but left every existing one the same as it was.

Do you see your town randomly changing street names and addresses and forcing everyone to change? No.... so @mac.com isn't going anywhere.
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