Apple: .Mac membership swells to more than 100,000

Apple announced today that more than 100,000 Mac users have already subscribed to its .Mac service. .Mac was unveiled to attendees of Macworld Expo New York this past July as the successor to Apple's free iTools service.

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Available for US$99.95 per year, Apple's .Mac service offers customers 100MB of Internet storage capacity, hosting for home pages, the ability to share files and calendars via Apple's recently released iCal calendar application, file backup capabilities, anti-virus protection and e-mail service through IMAP, POP and Webmail-based services. .Mac has been made available to existing iTools for a reduced price of $49.95 since the service was first unveiled in July.

.Mac has been the focus of some controversy since it was unveiled and Apple announced plans to discontinue the free iTools service; some iTools subscribers had wanted their free service to continue, or had hoped for a lower tier of .Mac services that would cost less money with reduced features. That hasn't come to pass, however, and users have been forced to either migrate their existing iTools accounts to .Mac accounts or face losing them come September 30.

With tight integration like Finder-based iDisk access and more, Apple is leveraging .Mac as an extension of the operating system. Additionally, newly introduced features like iCal calendar publishing and Backup 1.2 are only available to Mac users who have Mac OS X 10.2, "Jaguar" or later installed.

New Mac users can sign up for a free 60-day .Mac trial from the Web site. The .Mac package is also available as a retail package available through Apple Stores and participating authorized resellers.

Update: An Apple representative confirmed this afternoon that all of the 100,000 subscribers counted for it's .Mac service are paid. People that have signed up for the 60-day trial are not counted in the numbers.

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