NY Times-Will Steve Jobs Set Me Free?

Will Steve Jobs Set Me Free?New York Times Blog
Enough about my iPhone; let’s talk about Me.

It’s exactly one week until Steve Jobs takes the stage the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference to present another basket of fetish objects to his many worshipers. The diviners have fully examined the pigeon entrails and shipping manifests to prophesize the rebirth of the iPhone: It is said to surf faster, know its location better, and take pictures with more pixels. And it might even be cheaper.

Now there is a flurry of speculation about improvements to a minor icon an the Apple Pantheon: the .Mac online service. For six years, .Mac has been a $100 a year bundle of handy Internet services, now including e-mail, online hosting, backup, photo sharing, and tools to synchronize calendars and address books. Industry reports say Apple has between 1 million and 2 million subscribers.

Those diving into the latest update to Apple’s operating system found that it no longer contains the text “.Mac” but uses a variable “%@” so the name can be updated on the fly by Apple. Indeed, hidden in the software is the phrase “%@ is the new name of Apple’s online service (was .Mac).”

Saturday, John Gruber at Daring Fireball found that “Me.Com” appears to be owned by Apple. “Me” has been on Apple’s mind since 2005, when it registered “Mobile Me” as a trademark for “telecommunication services for the dissemination of information by mobile telephone, namely the transmission of data to mobile telephones” along with “music players,” “digital video players,” “MP3 players,” and “software related thereto,” according to Ars Technica.

And Macworld discovered that Apple has filed for a number of domains in the new “.Me” top level domain that is about to be begin ostensibly for the former Yugoslavian republic of Montenegro. These include apple.me, ipod.me and itunes.me. (This may mean nothing as companies often register their trademarks in new top level domains.)

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