.Mac Needs Web Sync Services

Apple held a press conference today where they announced a few product updates, including iMac, iLife, and iWork. .Mac also received much needed enhancements, including more storage capacity and deeper iLife integration through Web Gallery.

While the new features are welcome, I personally will not be making much use of them. For my purposes, the killer .Mac application is Sync. Sync keeps bookmarks, contacts, and calendars synchronized across multiple machines. If I update a phone number in Address Book on my notebook, that change will automatically be applied to my desktop as well.

This consistency is crucial to me. It’s the reason I continue to pay $99.95/year for .Mac. But Sync could also use some enhancements, and I have an idea.

Mac OS X contains the Sync Services framework, which developers can utilize to bring sync capabilities to their applications. This API should be exposed so that web applications can access it as well.

Apple already provides a web browser interface to some of the synchronized data. For instance, my synchronized bookmarks and contacts can be accessed when I am logged into the .Mac website. It doesn’t matter if I’m on a Mac or PC, my data is available wherever I can get an internet connection.

It is easy for Apple to do this, because the synchronized data is stored on their servers. Third party developers, however, do not enjoy this benefit.

Yojimbo, from Bare Bones Software, is my favorite application that uses Sync Services. It allows me to effortlessly keep track of passwords, serial numbers, and other miscellaneous information. Whenever I add or modify an item, those changes are replicated to my other systems.

On the other hand, if I’m not carrying my PowerBook G4, I don’t have access to any of this information. Bare Bones can’t provide a web interface to Yojimbo, because they don’t have access to the synchronized data within Apple’s network.

That problem could be solved if Apple offered Web Sync Services. Developers could then build both desktop and web applications, and no matter where you are or what computer you are using, you always have the same up-to-date information at your fingertips.


Lonna Hanson
August 8, 2007 at 2:24 PM

I enjoyed reading your entry, Jared. I also clicked into the Apple site that you listed to see the new iMac. I am good with my new, now old, iMac. I like the black frame around the new one, but really I think I like the white frame of my iMac equally as well. I always am impressed with your information on technology ideas you have.

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