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Apple hints at .Mac improvements on Tuesday

In addition to introducing new iMacs, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs may use Tuesday's media event in Cupertino to transform his company's .Mac internet service into a more compelling offering.

Several .Mac members note a new posting to the .Mac website that warns of possible service interruptions during the exact time in which Jobs will be addressing members of the media tomorrow:

Due to scheduled maintenance, .Mac members might be intermittently unable to access some .Mac services from 10am to 12pm PDT on 08/07/2007. We apologize for any inconvenience..

.Mac has been criticized by industry watchers over the years as an overpriced subscription service with low storage quotas and limited functionality. For instance, .Mac offers its paying members an e-mail storage quota that is much smaller than that of free services such as Google's Gmail.

While some have called upon Apple to lower its $99 annual fee for the service, others have taken matters into their own hands by issuing a $10,000 dollar bounty aimed at funding a GPL replacement for the service, dubbed the "notMac Challenge."

Apple, however, may be one step ahead.

During a recent interview, the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg held Jobs accountable for the poor state of .Mac, to which the Apple co-founder offered an interesting reply.

"I couldn't agree more [with the assessment]," Jobs confessed. "And we'll make up for lost time in the near future."