We’ve established that we think .Mac is in trouble, at least from the point of view of users; and over at TUAW, Dave Caolo has listed his reasons for ditching .Mac after using it since the iDisk days.
Plenty of bloggers and pundits were hoping that the WWDC keynote might include some updates for .Mac and were disappointed that it didn’t.
So let’s offer Apple our collective advice. Let’s cobble together some ideas for things we’d be happy to pay $99 per year for; let’s work out what .Mac needs to become, if it’s going to survive.
Here’s a few thoughts to start off:
I want .Mac to be my iApps on the web, perhaps even my Mac on the web. In other words, if I have .Mac, it needs to offer me a browser-based calendar that automatically and invisibly syncs with my iCal data. A superb webmail client that matches, maybe surpasses Gmail for features, and lets me see my mac.com email exactly as it would appear to me in Mail. And so on.
I want .Mac to be my hosting supplier. If I’m getting a web site and an email account - that’s what most people pay hosts for, right? So I want the kind of deal most hosting companies are falling over themselves to offer - several gigabytes of alloted storage space, a generous bandwidth allowance, and hosting for at least one domain, which can be mapped to my iWeb webspace with a few clicks. If Dreamhost can offer all this and more for not much more than $99/year, why can’t Apple?
I want freedom and flexibility. The hosting package should compete with other hosting packages; it should offer the usual collection of server-side software and the freedom to install stuff. It shouldn’t force me to only use Apple’s services.
I want seamless sync. When I’m online, things should Just Sync. When I’m offline, my storage should still be available to me as a “virtual” volume, to which I can drag files if I need to. Once I’m online again, everything should sync itself up appropriately, without me needed to tell it to.
I want speed and reliability, worldwide. Whatever service I’m using, or if I’m simply backing up data or synchronizing stuff, things should happen fast. Nobody’s going to complain about occasional glitches, of course, but the day-to-day experience should be one that doesn’t fail to impress. Too many people are left horrified by glacier-like connections to .Mac right now; this needs to be addressed quickly.
That’s just a few off-the-top-of-my-head ideas. What features would you like to see in exchange for your $99?