It's hard to believe that no one in the "Me Generation" beat them to it, but Apple has apparently registered Me.com as a possible replacement for its .Mac service.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball has assembled a list of evidence that Apple is holding onto the domain, with the likely scenario that the company wants to launch a new Internet service. The domain is currently held by a company called MarkMonitor, but the administrator of Me.com bears an Apple e-mail address. Last month, Network World noticed that Apple had snapped up a bunch of Montenegro's new Web addresses, such as apple.me and itunes.me, and the company trademarked the term "MobileMe" a few years ago.
Apple's $99-a-year .Mac service is not all that popular among the Mac community mostly because of its price tag, even though it makes Web publishing and online storage fairly easy with tight links to its iLife software. But the big opportunity these days for .Mac could be related to the iPhone.
Monday marks the official kickoff of iPhone Month within the Apple universe, although some would argue it started long ago. Apple is expected to release a faster iPhone with additional features perhaps as early as next week, and new software and applications should be out by the end of the month.
Mac users appear to be intrigued by the idea of extending .Mac's syncing features to their iPhones, allowing them to access files and resources stored on their home Macs via the iPhone. This could be an interesting opportunity for Apple to get iPhone buyers on the Mac train, and to entice current Mac users to obtain an iPhone.
A new .Mac service would be an afterthought to the 3G iPhone as well as any news about Mac OS X 10.6 that might arrive during Steve Jobs' keynote speech next week at the Worldwide Developers Conference, but it bears watching.