iTools was the first internet service provided by Apple, and that was a significant landmark in the evolution and history of Apple. iTools marked the first attempt by Apple to provide it’s users with a space and purpose in the online realm – this was back in 2000. As a value-added service, Every Mac OS 8 or 9 user then could have an email that ends with “@mac.com”, and it was totally free!
Two years later on 17th July 2002 at Macworld New York, Steve Jobs announced iTools was to be rebranded as .Mac, and it was to be a paid service. It caused a furor amongst the mac community because if you don’t subscribe, you will lose your coveted mac.com email address. Some have speculated that .Mac was seen as a response to Microsoft’s .Net suite of services, but it was marketed as an extension of your digital life if you’re a mac user.
.Mac was quite groundbreaking back in 2002. The initial offering included Homepage for publishing your own online web page, iDisk for 1Gb worth of online storage space, Backup for users to backup data into CDs or DVDs and lastly, an online greeting card service known as iCards.
Over the years, .Mac had seen it’s fair share of upgrades. In 2006, .Mac mail service was rebuilt to look a lot like your Mail application in OS X, which included live updating and drag-and-drop functionalities. In 2007, along with iLife, online storage was increased to 10Gb for basic subscribers and a new web gallery to show the photos and movies you made with your Mac.
Fast forward a little more to recent history – 9th June 2008. At WWDC, Apple announced that .Mac is to be discontinued, to give way to the birth of MobileMe. With the iPhone, MobileMe is the next evolution of the service. Your space online is now at Me.com. Available to to windows users as well, MobileMe offers a (almost) complete and near-instantaneous integration between your Mail, Address Book and iCal applications on your Mac to your iPhone and any computer with an internet access.
MobileMe walked it’s first steps 8 years ago as a free service formerly known as iTools. Given the history, I’m quite certain that this incarnation will see many more improvements and features in the years to come. What started as a service meant to add a little value to every Mac user, it is now the last remaining piece of software that completes the entire experience of the iPhone and user, regardless of whether you’re a Mac or PC owner.
iTools to .Mac to MobileMe. What’s could be next?