.Mac Lives!

Peter Burrows

OK, I spent yesterday thinking about the implications of Apple's big Macworld news--the new Intel-equipped Macs, the ungodly 14 million iPods shipped (If any of you have any insights on how they pulled that one off, I'm all ears), and last but certainly not least, the iPod Radio Remote. Now, if I decide to fork over the $49, I can toss the ancient Walkman I still take on runs when I want to listen to baseball games.

Such news--and the torrent of free publicity it has generated from we in the media--is sure to help the company woo more Switchers. But I think the increasing integration of .Mac with the iLife applications could also be a powerful tool in that regard. That's because a number of new features use .Mac to give non Mac owners a recurring window into the Apple experience. Take "photocasting." Now, .Mac owners can set up subcriptions so friends and family can get access to photo albums that are automatically updated every time new photos are added--say, so grandma will automatically have new shots of the grandkids, without having to beg for them. Or using iWeb, .Mac users can create and then send podcasts to non Mac owners, who would view them in iTunes.

This may not be a major factor in the grand scheme of things. Jobs revealed that .Mac just passed one million subscribers--not bad, but not great given that it's been out for nearly a half decade. I think the $99 remains pricey, and the marketing for this service is nowhere near as crisp or as easy to understand as it is for many other Apple offerings.

But to the extent that it can give more people more ways to experience the iLife apps, I think it will give PC owners more reasons to consider switching to the Mac.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.