Apple Readies iTools Subscription Plan, Sources Say

Company CEO Steve Jobs is expected to announce the Web services program Wednesday, sources said.

This weeks Macworld Conference & Expo in New York will bring a variety of additional announcements from Apple Computer Inc., such as a subscription program for the companys iTools Web services expected to be introduced during Steve Jobs Wednesday keynote, sources said. Also expected are updates to Apples iPod music player.

Earlier this week, eWEEK reported that the Mac maker will also show off 17-inch flat-panel iMacs and the "Jaguar" update to Mac OS X, while speed-bumped versions of its professional Power Mac G4 systems will wait until August.

Apple is set to rebrand its iTools web services as ".Mac," pronounced dot-Mac. Jobs, Apples CEO, will reportedly announce that the company will charge users $100 per year for the services, which will be joined by new additions to make .Mac worth the fee.

Its unknown as to whether Apple plans to continue offering a set of free services, such as the email and online storage it currently provides.

Another likely announcement is a higher-capacity iPod, bumping the hard drive of Apples digital music player to 20GB, sources said. Specifics are unconfirmed, though an update to the iTunes jukebox app is reportedly in the pipeline. Additionally, the new iPod as well as iTunes will play files encoded in the AAC audio format.

The company is also expected to quietly discontinue its all-in-one, classic G3 iMac.

Representatives from Apple could not be reached for comment.

Nick dePlume is the editor in chief of Think Secret.