Apple may re-brand .Mac internet service

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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 iCal?s General preferences. %@ is the new name of Apple?s 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:







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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 85
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,742member
    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...
  • Reply 2 of 85
    macfandavemacfandave Posts: 603member
    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!)
  • Reply 3 of 85
    macfandavemacfandave Posts: 603member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 85
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    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
  • Reply 5 of 85
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,350member
    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).
  • Reply 6 of 85
    panupanu Posts: 135member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 85
    stevetimstevetim Posts: 482member
    ... or they could be using good coding practices by not putting variable names directly on a page but referencing them from another page.
  • Reply 8 of 85
    boogabooga Posts: 1,076member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 85
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    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 "[email protected]" 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.
  • Reply 10 of 85
    boogabooga Posts: 1,076member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 85
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,742member
    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...
  • Reply 12 of 85
    solsunsolsun Posts: 763member
    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..
  • Reply 13 of 85
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,742member
    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...
  • Reply 14 of 85
    webfrassewebfrasse Posts: 147member
    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
  • Reply 15 of 85
    panupanu Posts: 135member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 85
    icfireballicfireball Posts: 2,594member
    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 "[email protected]" 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.
  • Reply 17 of 85
    jawportajawporta Posts: 140member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 85
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    MobileMe sure sounds like something made up by an ad agency. I think it should be something with an "i" prefix.
  • Reply 19 of 85
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 85
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    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.
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