I think that .Mac is still very expensive for the features that it provides. $99 a year is not outrageous, if Apple could provide a unique, reliable and useful service.
Here is a list of features that I would like to see incorporated into future versions of .Mac:
- .Mac Home: Type in a web address to find your computer on the web. Automatic DNS forwarding for your computer. ex. http://username.mac.com or a custom domain. It would be very cool to be able to have direct access to your computer from anywhere in the world. Integration with Apple Remote Desktop would also be very cool.
- .Mac Mobile: With new cell phones having internet capabilities, .Mac should allow a custom WAP interface to your computer. It would allow you to use Sherlock as an internet services guide, remotely run custom applescripts, view iCal information(if it's not already synched with your handset, or maybe someone else's published ical info.), control iTunes, run backup utilities, system tools or anti-virus software, check your mail, grab a bookmark or an address, check on the status of your file render for DVD Studio Pro or FCP or AfterEffects, or check a TV guide. Just point your cellphone to your .Mac Home address and go.
- iCards should get better and be able to be sent through a web interface in mail.app. Aside from regularly adding more free generic cards, I think that Apple should get Halmark to provide a catalog of high-quality cards for $0.99 a pop. There should also be a printable option for iCards -- they should add a link to a print and fold PDF version of the card.
- iTunes Music Store Support. If you buy a track from Apple's store, you should be able to listen to your music through your .Mac account.. It should also provide a backup service for the music that you purchased through the service.
- iDisk Extras: Apple should provide some new goodies every month like icon sets, wallpapers, system sounds, and screensavers that are exclusive to .Mac. There is a wealth of this stuff available for free online, but with a good one click interface more non-techies would be able to install a new look for their computer easily.
- .Mac Templates: A collection of templates for the Homepage, Keynote, iApps, etc. This would be a resource to help .Mac users finish their tasks more easily and quickly.
- .Mac Cloning: Using fast user switching in 10.3, .Mac could clone your "theme" and settings onto any mac where you sit down as a guest. This would go a long way to make people feel "at home" when using someone elses computer. People who are nervous about computers would appreciate this, since it makes your computer experience more consistent anywhere you find a mac. (iDisk could sync your settings in the background automagically).
- iBlog: Weblogging Software. Blogging is very popular and .Mac should ride the wave. iBlog could be very cool if Apple designed some slick zero-configuration software.
- More freebies and bonuses to Subscribers, like offering Panther for $99 to subscribers. Maybe a yearly .Mac sale or a closeout section on the Apple Store. Add an express till at Apple stores for .Mac subscribers. Also, getting a free year of .Mac service with the purchase of a new computer should be standard.
It is features like these that would make .Mac a very usefull service for $99 a year. .Mac could be a killer app for the Apple platform if it is done right.