At A Glance
Apple has updated its .Mac suite of online tools, giving subscribers more for their $99.95 yearly fee. Theyll now get more storage (1GB, up from 250MB), a new service called Groups for creating instant online shared spaces, and a simplified backup tool. Its not all good news, though, as one of the suites central tools, Virex, is no longer available.
.Mac has been a mixed bag since its introduction. Its always been helpful, but never strong enough to make the $99.95 yearly fee a bargain. Were impressed that Apple has never raised the price and that users can work seamlessly with their .Mac tools from within the OS and various iLife apps (for example, creating an online photo album from within iPhoto). But at the same time, .Mac still doesnt feel essential or robust enough.
The suite now offers 1GB of storage (or 2GB for family accounts, which cost $179.95 per year). This amount is divided between e-mail (subscribers get a nifty mac.com e-mail address) and online storage. By default, the 1GB is split in half between the two, but users can go to their online preferences and shift it as needed. Considering that Gmail offers free e-mail with well over 2GB of storage, Apple isnt even keeping up with the top free service. Since Mac users hard drives are certainly full of original songs (from GarageBand), digital photos (from iPhoto), and purchased music (from iTunes), they could use a lot more storage. Subscribers can buy more from .Mac (another 1GB costs $49.95 per year), but the included base amount should be much higher.