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Sunday, June 01, 2008, 08:25 am PT (11:25 am ET)

Me.com belongs to Apple; Vegas iMac deal

Apple's Internet service strategy has become clearer with the transfer of Me.com to the company. Also, Apple has struck a deal for iMacs in a Las Vegas hotel.

Apple's ownership of Me.com

Lending further support to notions that Apple will soon rebrand and overhaul .Mac, Daring Fireball and fellow technology pundits on Twitter have discovered that Me.com is now in Apple's hands.

On Saturday, records show the domain transitioned from any EasyDNS registration to MarkMonitor, a company that manages domain name services for commercial brands — including Apple and its host domain. MarkMonitor was most recently used to park various MacBook Air-related domains by the electronics maker.

And while it's possible to abuse such registrations, a site report for Me.com points to the domain administrator as Apple's Ken Eddings, the same employee responsible for MobileMe.com as well as many other Apple-owned domains, including iPod.com. Currently, a simple NSLOOKUP command also confirms Eddings' link to the site.

The reason for the acquisition remains unclear, although the switch would give Apple access to a simpler domain than MobileMe.com for any future service; the company's most recent Mail and Safari updates have deliberately left placeholders for .Mac's new name that would allow a simple change.

Recent discoveries in the iPhone SDK have suggested that the future service will include tighter integration with iPhones and iPod touch players.

iMacs to populate Vegas hotel

In a more public deal, the upcoming Fontainebleau hotel in Las Vegas will partner with Apple for a unique addition to its suites, according to a fresh tip sent to TUAW.

The hotel's official brochure (PDF) notes an "innovative relationship" with Apple where each of the 3,889 rooms will have an iMac to "share memories and encourages personal expression." It also suggests a connection between the two companies for online booking and planning as well as interactive content at the hotel itself.

Few details beyond this are available, though the Fontainebleau opens the doors to its Vegas location in the fall.

Apple has a relatively strong presence in Vegas, operating two existing retail stores as well as a planned third store at Caesar's Palace.