RUMOR: Apple to overhaul and rename its .Mac service

“Rumors are flying about major changes coming to Apple’s .Mac online service. Perhaps most interesting is this post from Dmitry Chestnykh, the CEO at Coding Robots. He went through the iCal Localizable.strings file in the recently released 10.5.3 update and found a number of changes. In particular, he found a lot of evidence that the .Mac brand name is going to be replaced. Apple is apparently using a placeholder %@ which will be dynamically replaced by the new name, whatever that is, when it’s release,” Mat Lu reports for TUAW.

Full article here.

Thomas Ricker reports for Engadget, ” If that’s not enough of a hint then there’s always the text, ‘the new name of Apple’s online service (was .Mac).’ This code change has also been found in the newly updated Safari and Mail apps and did not exist prior to the 10.5.3 update. So now the question: will the name change, presumably coming next week at WWDC, usher in Jobs’ promise to ‘make up for lost time‘ with the bealeugered service, or will it simply reflect the new semantics related to Apple’s Computer’s increased emphasis on iPhones, iPods, and other consumer level products?”

Full article, with screenshots of the code, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “TowerTone” for the heads up.]


  1. And here’s why!

    For a multi-carrier model to work financially from Apple’s perspective, the added-value of Visual Voicemail will move from the carrier to Apple and all those iPhone subscribers who want to use Visual Voicemail (which will probably be integrated into a unified messaging concept) will need to pay Apple $99 annually.

    At that point, the carriers can subsidise as much as they like and Apple can take it’s $8/month which is more than they get from the average subscriber’s commission.

    .Mac as a brand makes no sense, when the majority of customers will be iPhone users within six months.

  2. If it’s a place to store those tacky photos of your precious sci-fi collectables, your trips to the House of Mud and the World’s Largest Ball of String and snapshots of your strangely unattractive relatives, they could call it the Kitsch In Sync.

  3. @MCCFR

    Good theory. Do you think Apple would include the subscription cost with the purchase of an iPhone? I think they would at least include some features and perhaps additional features can be added for more $$.

    It does make sense to push this service to iPhone and iPod touch owners somehow since they a such a large portion of Apple’s sales. It’s another trojan to get them to move fully to Mac. Even better if they can somehow integrate widgets or services of other popular social networking sites.

  4. Bill…


    Why trust the network operators to walk and chew gum? Any negative customer service and support experience will impact on Apple.

    Much better to simply activate it (.Whatever and Visual Voicemail through iTunes): then the message goes to the operator’s systems to re-route the customers voicemail through to .Whatever.

    There are other advantages as well: Apple can make other iPhone-specific features available at will without having to negotiate with a bunch of protectionist SOBs. Want to amend Visual Voicemail? It’s in Apple’s control. Want to add a new feature, like a cut-down ‘Back to my Mac’? It’s in Apple’s control.
    Want to fix a bug? You get the idea.

  5. “%@” is just a place holder for an OBJECT in Apple’s language of choice, Objective-C. So though there may be some truth to this article in that there may be ANOTHER “branded” name coming it by no means means that .Mac is dead!

  6. Dot anything is just a terrible name. Many of you are so into computers that you can’t see how confusing any name that begins with a period can be.

    Of course, it doesn’t matter what they call .Mac if they don’t radically improve it.

  7. I think you are all wrong on the naming. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    It is being renamed, but it won’t be anything radical. The site has always been and “Mac” is their biggest, oldest, most central brand name. If they change it to “.Apple” or “.Home” they would have to change the entire website.

    I would bet they are just going to change the hard to type and stupid “.Mac” to something like “” It makes more sense that renaming the whole thing over an iPhone and it would be too confusing to have Apple on the web at “” and call the new service portal “.Apple” but have it located at “”

    Unless they are buying up another portal and merging with it (yuck!), or they think up something totally out of left field, I am thinking “” is the new name.

  8. Anyone with 10.5.3 can look in the localizable strings file and verify that this is true.

    In Finder, select Go To Folder from the Go menu

    Enter this path:


    Find the file named Localizable.Strings and open it with any text editor. (Look at the file. Don’t change it or save it.)

    Search for “.Mac” in the file

    I looked at all occurrences of .Mac and it’s all over the place. I also found this near the bottom of the file:

    Top radio button when subscribing to password-protected calendar. First %@ is the name of Apple’s online service (was .Mac), second %@ is the name of the user’s .Mac account, and the third %@ is the domain for Apple’s online service (was

    It’s an open and shut case that the .Mac service and the domain are both getting new names.

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