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Today's Apple unveiling, and .Mac still sucks

I haven’t blogged about any apple stuff for a while now. I don’t think I’ve even posted about the iPhone since before it’s launch. To summerise my feelings on that, it’s cool but when it does come out here I probably won’t be buying one because firstly I have a phone that I never use so a contract is just burning money for me, I also have an iPod and I’m waiting for the new “iPhone without the phone” iPod in the works. Finally, despite how cool it is, there will be an even cooler one at macworld no doubt and even though I really want to have the net in my pocket everywhere, it’s not worth the money to me at this time.

So moving on to today. They announced the new shiny iMacs in aluminum and glass, iLife 08 and Web Gallery for dot mac. I have to say, even though I like the new iMac design I’m not sure they’ve done a lot to the actual specs on either version but who can argue with a price drop on the top model and a much nicer new look.

On the iLife side I just don’t care that much as I can already make podcasts or photos or videos and organanise that stuff ok. I don’t feel like any of this stuff really benefits me at all. There was also iWork 08 introduced but it didn’t have anything I would be interested in really. However, I did like pages being able to be used as a simple word processor rather than a layout tool if you want it to which is nice. The new addition to the lineup, Numbers is also cool because its an alternative to excel on the mac and because the bundle costs the same now as it did before.

Dot Mac was probably the most dissapointing thing of the day because I was expecting so much more than what they gave. I wanted them to say that they’ve partnered with google to provide the servers for the new, free dot mac service but no. Instead it was a online photo gallery which integrates into iphoto and iphone where you can send photos straight to the gallery from the phone and sync other friends photos straight to your iphone which is as close to MMS as you can get without it being that. So yeah it fills the void left by no MMS support but $100 just for that is pretty crap. Why is it not free? Why can’t Apple give a little like Google or anyone else for that matter do. My webspace costs less with far more ability to do stuff. $100 a year is too much considering my hosting is approximatly the same and I get unlimited email addresses and the ability to host unlimited domains, plus 300gb or space and unlimited transfer. 10gb doesn’t hold up much even with the stuff you can do between macs and stuff, not that I have more than one anyway.

Simply put, the iPhone integration should be free and so should .mac for every mac owner. I just don’t get why they didn’t lower the price to something reasonable or make it free. It’s not exactly going to hurt them financially.

In summary, nice new iMac design, iLife is ok but nothing to shout about and dot mac was a pretty big dissapointment, still Apples worst and most hated product and as far as I’m concerned, having an email @mac.com is just the fanboy’s badge of honour and nothing more. If this is all steve jobs was refuring to when he said to Walt Mossburg at D that .mac will be upgraded soon, I’m so dissapointed because my hopes, especially with all they’ve been doing with google recently were way up about a completely new .mac we haven’t seen.

Update: When you take a look at the .mac web gallery and other features including the nice webmail and Imap integration with mail and iphone it is a service that would be somewhat useful to me. I mean I won’t use the email really but the web gallery is nice especially with iphone intergration. The problem is, despite how cool that is, dot mac really doesn’t come close to being worth the cost. The price is $100 (£50) but despite that, it costs £69.99 in the UK which is so unreasonable its hard to describe without swearing. From my point of view, every feature in .mac can be found elseware for less. The only difference is that this way requires the person to know a little more but most people who buy dot mac I would imagine probably would have the skills needed.

For £60 you can buy the hosting plan I have which includes a domain name, 300gb as opposed to 20gb, unlimited bandwidth and email accounts, databases and other stuff plus countless other things. You don’t get the high quality .mac virus filtering and webmail interface or ease of setup but you do get a lot more space and features if you know what your doing. Then again I personally don’t even use the email I pay for and just stick with gmail because it’s just the best and easiest to use (and free). The space may not be as easy to access as the iDisk but regardless, it’s still a far better deal for the money. To cover the other things, you can create blogs easily with wordpress, podcasts might not be so easy but you can just insert mp3’s in blog posts. Groups are easy to take care of with PHPbb forums or any other type really. The final thing to find a replacement for is the web gallery which admittedly is pretty cool.

Now really all that service consists of is a flickr siideshow interface which lets you send MMS’s to friends and contribute to each others galleries. While these are features that flickr doesn’t offer, you can still email photos by using any phone (including iphone) and other people can view the photos on their iPhone even if they have to go to flickr in safari to do so. You don’t really even need a flickr pro account to do this but if you did want one, that combined with the hosting plan and included domain name still come to less than dot mac. If they had slashed the price to maybe $25 per year or something like that then I would think about subscribing, but even then I don’t have many uses for the service as of right now.