updated 10:55 pm EDT, Tue September 26, 2006
New .Mac email UI coming
Apple has posted a preview of its upcoming .Mac interface overhaul, which will make the paid web service look like its propietary email application built for Mac OS X: Mail.app is bundled free with every Mac and offers users the ability to download, sort, and organize both POP and IMAP-based email on the desktop. The overhaul will apparently bring the Mail.app UI to the Web, offering an indentical look along with similar functionality, such as drag & drop functions for single and multiple email, a three-pane interface to preview messages without leaving the window, section-based refreshes to reduce complete page loads, quick-reply functions to easily respond without leaving the window, a built-in, fully integrated Address Book, message flagging, and keyboard shortcuts.
Many of the same email functions are offered by other free email services, such as Google's Gmail and Yahoo Mail; however, Apple charges a $99 per year premium for its services, but includes more than just email and is well integrated with the Mac OS X operating system. These services include iWeb integration, iPhoto photocasting, iDisk for storing/uploading files, sync functions for multiple computers, data backup functions, photo galleries, simple group collaboration/messaging, and more. The service is offered at a $30 discount for the first year when purchased with a new Mac.