Apple's .Mac Service to be Renamed, Revamped? [Mobile Me?]

Apple's .Mac ("dotmac") service is a $99/year set of online tools that provides customers with email (@mac), web hosting, iDisk, backup and sync services. .Mac services are tightly integrated with Apple's existing iLife suite, allowing you to publish content easily from iPhoto, iWeb and iMovie. Apple appears to be poised to rename and revamp this 6 year old service.

Codingrobots reveals that all references to Apple's .Mac service in Mac OS X 10.5.3 have been replaced with a variable... essentially a blank space that can be easily replaced in the future by a software update. The reason for this appears to be that Apple will be rebranding their .Mac service. This renaming plan is actually spelled out in iCal's localizable.strings file:

%@ is the new name of Apples online service (was .Mac)

This finding may validate recent whispers that Apple is planning a dramatic .Mac update alongside the iPhone 2.0 release.

In early May, TUAW claimed that .Mac would undergo a complete revamp near WWDC, and include the over-the-air syncing like Exchange and .Mac syncing with Windows. There has already been evidence that .Mac will be begin offering "push" functionality for Mail, Contacts and Calendar items in the iPhone 2.0 firmware, so a WWDC revamp certainly seems possible. Other whispers have suggested that Apple will start offering a discounted .Mac (<$50) alongside new iPhone purchases. Apple currently offers a $30 discount on .Mac when purchasing a Mac. Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicks off on June 9th in San Francisco. Update: References to Mobile Me in the iPhone 2.0 SDK suggests Apple will use their Mobile Me trademark for the new .Mac service, confirming speculation:

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