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iTools is the first set of cloud services to be offered by Apple Computer. It was introduced as part of Apple's Internet strategy by Steve Jobs at Macworld Expo in San Francisco on January 5, 2000.[1] The services were powered by WebObjects, originally developed by NeXT, which had been acquired by Apple in 1997. iTools was initially supported by Mac OS 9 and was included with Mac OS X 10.0 through 10.1.5. It was superseded by the .Mac service on July 17, 2002.[2][3]

Description

iTools account settings could be managed through the Internet control panel in Mac OS 9 or the Internet preference pane in Mac OS X.

Services

iTools consisted of a set of Internet services that was offered for free for users of Mac OS 9:

  • Mac.com, a free email service with email addresses from the mac.com domain.
  • HomePage, a web page creation and hosting service.
  • iCards, an online greeting card service, that can be emailed through mac.com.
  • iDisk, Apple's first cloud storage service.
  • iReview, a web site review aggregation service.
  • KidSafe, a filter-like service that limited web access by children to sites pre-approved by educators.

Access

iTools was strictly limited to Mac users; other types of devices attempting to access iTools via the web would be redirected to a generic landing page for PCs. After Apple closed a loophole in 2000, Mac OS 9 or later was required to sign up for the service.[4] However, some older Mac users discovered that after signing up for iTools through a Mac running Mac OS 9, the some services could be accessed by older systems running Mac OS 7.5.3 or later with Open Transport, including 68K Macs. Mac.com email could be received through any POP email client. iDisk could be accessed on an older Mac by copying over the AppleShare 3.8.5 or 3.8.6 system extension from a Mac OS 9.x installation.[5]

KidSafe and other browser-based services were closely tied to Mac OS 9 and later, so some features could not be accessed by older Macs. HomePage required access to the iDisk Sites folder, which older versions of classic Mac OS were unable to handle. Custom iCards required access to the iDisk Pictures folder. iReviews could be read, but new ones could not be posted from older Macs. Changing an iTools password required Mac OS 9 or later.[4] Users complained that removing these restrictions would have gained more users for iTools, but because Apple was offering it as a free service for Mac users, it relied on sales of Mac OS 9 and new Macs for the revenue.[5]

References

  1. Apple Unveils Mac OS X and Internet Strategy at Macworld Expo, Apple Computer. 2000-01-05. Archived 2000-03-02.
  2. Meet iCloud's great-grandfather: iTools by Stephen Hackett, iMore. 2016-01-25.
  3. Apple Launches .Mac, Apple Computer. 2002-07-17. Archived 2002-08-02.
  4. 4.0 4.1 iTools on older systems? by Roland Gustafsson. Archived 2000-08-16.
  5. 5.0 5.1 iTools, JagWerks Media. 2000-01-09.

External links

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