A mainstream Maryland newspaper called the Sun Spot has published a fairly comprehensive review of Appleis .Mac service. The piece includes the history of Appleis conversion of iTools to .Mac, a breakdown of the services offered, a balanced look at Appleis conversion rate for .Mac accounts, and a very reasoned analysis of what those services are "worth." What makes this piece even more interesting to us is that it was written by an actual Mac user, something not so common in mainstream newspapers. Some snippets from the piece:
Like many Mac users, I originally signed up -- mostly for the e-mail account -- and I used the other services infrequently. I had no intention of handing over $50 just for an e-mail address But after waffling for a month and a half, I subscribed to .Mac, anyway. What changed my mind?
Basically, Apple made the first year of .Mac risk-free, at least for me. In the first week of September, Apple threw in 100 free digital prints. The freebies show up as credits in the Kodak print service available via iPhoto. For a guy with nearly 900 images in his iPhoto library -- and who is way behind on getting them converted to prints -- this was a juicy inducement.
With digital cameras, you donit automatically get prints. You either have to print the images out on your inkjet, upload them to an Web-based printing service or take your memory card to a brick-and-mortar photo developer. Regardless of which option you choose, the 4x6 prints will cost you 40 cents to 50 cents apiece, excluding shipping.
True, the Apple offer does not include shipping, but I could order all 100 at once for $6.99, which normally would cost me, with tax, $58.44. So even if I decide that .Mac itself is of marginal value, my first year essentially will cost me nothing.
Another thing that pushed me toward .Mac was the compulsion "power users" have to possess the latest and the greatest. Apple has indicated that it will keep enhancing the .Mac service -- and I couldnit bear to be locked out of some drool-worthy future feature.
And despite its generally weak services, .Mac provides something no other software can: integration with the Mac operating system and Appleis collection of freeware, like iPhoto.
There is much more n the full article, and we recommend it as a good read.