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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm a new member as well as a new Mac user, and I'm still getting my bearings. I apologise if this topic has been raised before.

Is Apple's .Mac service worth the annual fee? I'm looking at it from a personal (completely non-commercial) point of view.

Thanks.
 

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Hey gmm1976,

It's worth it for me as I use most of its services, meaning I publish and update my homepage regularly; I actually publish iCal calendars online; and I use iDisk (almost full), Backup, and iSync. Oh, and mail and webmail of course.

I know all these services are available somewhere else for cheaper but the simple fact is, without .Mac, I didn't/wouldn't do all of the above.

Check it out: My very functional homepage.

I was teasing my friends and family that I may not renew next year and they told me that they would pay for it. Hahaha.

So consider how much of the services you will be using and decide whether it's worth it for you.


Cheers.
 

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There are a few things I like about it.
I have a permanent eMail address. It won't change when I change providers. In fact, I didn't even set up an eMail account with my current ISP.

The value added with the occasional freebie offered by Apple is better than you would get with other, paid, permanent eMail services. A hundred free photos, a full copy of Virex, etc are the kinds of things you can expect from dot-Mac from time to time.

I don't use the homepages or iDisk storage as much as I should, but I do find it very convenient to post a document or application when I need to make it available to others, wherever they may be.

All these things could be done via your ISP, but then you are locked to their service and your physical address; change one and it has to be rebuilt.

Perhaps most importantly, I can afford it. Not everybody can, and not everybody is willing to be locked into a revolving charge (even if it is annual). The value declines if you think you may decide to not renew at some point in the future.
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Is Apple's .Mac service worth the annual fee?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I upgraded from iTools for US$49, and I think it was worth that price. Will I renew for another year in September? That depends on what Apple adds to the service by then (e.g. tighter integration with iLife apps for .Mac members?).

Apple is really good at pricing its products at What The Market Will Bear. For that reason alone, I suspect the question "Is .Mac worth the money?" will still be asked, no matter what services are added or changed.

Here's my .Mac review: (http://tinyurl.com/4nmf)
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In the beginning, Apple created iTools -- a collection of Internet services that was free to all Mac OS 9 users. The iTools suite featured Web-based e-mail, remote file storage and a Web authoring tool, but included extras like electronic greeting cards and a directory of family-friendly Web sites.

Apple recently expanded and relaunched iTools under a new name: .Mac. The bundle of services has been beefed up to include more e-mail and file storage, new backup and anti-virus software, plus a few extra features available only to OS X users.

Unlike iTools, however, .Mac is a for-profit subscription service. One year's worth of .Mac costs $159 (Canadian) -- a hefty increase from $0.

The individual bits that make up the .Mac service are not revolutionary -- you can get e-mail, Web authoring, anti-virus and backup software elsewhere, and you might even pay less for them.

The difference is Apple's legendary user friendliness and ease of use, and .Mac's tight integration with the Apple operating system.

.Mac takes complicated tasks such as Internet file sharing, Web site creation and data backup, and makes them easy and non-technical:

- "Homepage" creates attractive Web pages without requiring you to have any knowledge of programming or HTML.
- "iDisk" appears on the desktop like any other folder, making remote file storage and retrieval as easy as drag and drop.
- The @mac.com e-mail service can be used on the Web or with Apple's free Mail software. It supports both POP as well as IMAP, so users can also use other e-mail clients.

Apple also uses .Mac features to enhance the power of its own free applications. For example, all Mac users can organize and edit photographs using iPhoto, but .Mac users can do more. iPhoto is ".Mac-aware" and uses Homepage and iDisk to share photos on the Web with the click of a button.

The most useful tool in the .Mac suite is Backup -- new Apple software that makes it easy to protect important personal data. Backup uses preset categories called QuickPicks that locate and group similar files, no matter where they are stored on your hard drive. Backup automatically finds every Word document or Address Book contact with a single click, then copies them to recordable CD, DVD, or iDisk Web storage.

.Mac has other features as well, including iCards (electronic greeting cards) and the ability to Web publish calendars generated by Apple's new iCal calendar software. OS X users can synchronize their Address book and calendar data using .Mac with another new application called iSync.

Is .Mac worth the price? That's a hard question to answer. Despite the dot-com meltdown, many Internet users still expect something for nothing. iTools users who felt betrayed by Apple's move from free to fee say that any price is too high. Many users expressed interest in buying the e-mail service alone, but Apple did not provide that option.

If you compare feature by feature, .Mac looks like a good deal, at least for the first year. Yahoo! offers premium e-mail and Web storage services similar to .Mac's offering for $55 (U.S.) a year. McAfee sells its Virex anti-virus software for $60 (U.S.), and the most popular backup software for the Mac, Dantz Retrospect, retails for $50 (U.S.). These three items alone cost more than a .Mac subscription.

In the end, the success or failure of Apple's .Mac subscription service -- and Microsoft's new MSN 8 service, which has some similar features -- depends on how much consumers are willing to pay for Web services.

Before the switch, there were more than 2.4 million iTools accounts. As of Oct. 1, 180,000 people had signed up to pay for .Mac. Apple called the .Mac launch "a phenomenal success."
 

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I have to agree with Sander, it depends on what you use and how often you use it.

I used iTools, but I refused to pay the $80 Cdn for .Mac. I only used the e-mail and iDisk to back up my hard drive. I already had virus protection, didn't care for Homepage and thought the Mail app sucked (I haven't tried the updated version on Jaguar).

Apple has or at least appears to be making it more attractive but I still can't see paying out $160 Cdn annually. I've gotten over losing my .mac address, and though I'd dearly love to have the iDisk space back, nothing amounts to a must have at that price for me.

Yes, a one-year subscription is cheaper than buying comparable software offering the same range of services. But who replaces software after only one year? You need to amortize the cost of the software over its life or two, three or four years. And, again, do you need and will you use that full range of service?

You'll have to decided on your own needs, because every one's case is different.

Of course, for Apple .Mac has been a clear success. I can't remember whether at Macworld Steve Jobs said .Mac had 200,000 or 250,000 subscribers. That's quite a comedown from the millions iTools had. But for Apple, it would have been a success at a fraction of that. Those subscribers amount to at least $5 million U.S. income in an entirely new revenue stream, and reduced costs in serving fewer subscribers. And there are marketing benefits to having a finely defined group of Mac users.
 

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The integration with iPhoto makes it easy to setup webpages of photos, which I wouldn't have gotten around to doing otherwise. The free games they have for download are really good, especially Super Nisqually.
All in all it's been great value for the first year at the reduced price - I'll expect more value in the second year for the increased price. I have some suggestions: premium Canadian Sherlock channels, a few photo prints every year, video-on-demand, online learning...
 

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This has been an informative thread. I have 9 days left on my .Mac trial account and I have been wondering whether I should buy the service. I have been humming and hawing too long...

Perhaps I will bite the bullet and go for it. ;)
 

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I forgot to mention this .Mac benefit: Being able to send an iCard of a picture from your homepage photo album is awesome. All my friends get a huge kick out of it.

Cheers.
 

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For me, the 100 free 4 x6 prints paid for the cost of .Mac so it was a slam dunk. Not sure if this offer is still on but you should take advantage of it if it is as the quality of the prints (via Kodak) is superb (as long as you took a good picture, of course). The problem with .Mac is that you really need broadband to make the most of it. If you have dial-up, its probably not worth the pain of uploading back up files, synchronizing files etc. I have a cable modem and so it works pretty well.

One thing is clear, Apple will have to work to maintain the subscriptions to .Mac. For that reason, I think it unlikely to wither and die and will, instead, be continually improved as more services are added and people get used to the integrated features. The trick will be to provide enough incentive/extra features via .Mac without crippling the other iApp software for the majority of non-subscribers.
 

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It's only worth it if you use it.

Since I use all the functions. It's great for me. Especially syncing my contacts with .mac... that's perfect. I have a desktop, a PowerBook and I use a Windoze machine at work, and I can always access my Address book.

iCal is golden too. iDisc is a godsend. I put whatever I'm working on there, and just work from wherever... it's great.

The iPhoto/Homepage connection couldn't be easier.

Try all of it. They have a 60 day trial, but make sure to actually try all the features.
 

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I use .mac and if you are into ditigal photography it is a great way to distribute you images to many people. If I am taking pictures at a party it is a lot simpler just to send them to a template on .mac home page from iphoto then to email all the images. Just email your friends your homepage address.
 

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Yes, .Mac is worth the money.


I host my website on it and it has proven to be up 99% of the time.

The other programs are excellent too1

Virex
BackUp - OK, it is buggy but works most of the time.
iSync
etc.
 

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I'm looking into getting a new Power Mac ina week or so and was also wondering about the .Mac service. I like the idea of having 100mb dedicated to you to upload stuff. Since the servers at Humber College suck and we're limited to just 10mb, it would be a great feature.

But I was wondering, is the 100mb allocated to your web site as well or does that feature have another limit. The reason I ask is that I'd like to put my portfolio onlince, but some of the video files are over 10mb, which means I can't use my Roger's web space since it's limited to 10mb. Could I use the .Mac to upload my video work and create a site people could view and have access to these files?
 

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i think it's totally worth it.

i use backup, homepage, webmail, email, ical calendar posting, etc. and i make excellent use of any remaining idisk space by connecting on computers @ school and transferring work between there and my ibook.
 

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JB22:

My Site

check my site. i've got about four videos up. you can also set up a file sharing portion of the site so views can DL the files.

Phil
 

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I agree. .Mac is worth it for the $50 US price. $100 US.. Hmm... Maybe.. Maybe not. We'll see at renewal time.

Apple should do Canadians a favour and charge fees at par for this. Then I'd renew for years...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks all for the responses. I'd been looking into .Mac for a while not only because of iDisk and the web-mail, but because I wanted a clean ad-free space to put up a personal web-page (I'm also now completely converted to iPhoto, and the integration may make it worthwhile). Having taken a look at some of the pages from members here, I really like what I see.

I appreciate the comments, it has been very enlightening. I think i will sign up for the trial membership and see how it fits.

Cheers!
 
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