new version of its .Mac webmail offering. The service takes a lot of cues from the new batch of Ajaxy webmail clients, but also from Apple's own Mail.app. In fact, the app looks quite a lot like a desktop app with an interface that fits very well alongside OS 10.4 Tiger. It features IMAP syncing, organization by drag-and-drop, a new message pane just like Mail.app and Outlook's, a Quick Reply feature that lets you "Dash off a response without leaving your Inbox," address book integration, keyboard shortcuts, and Gmail-esque "message previews." Overall, it looks like it will fit in reasonably well with the current crop of webmail offerings, but keep in mind that .Mac still costs $99 per year, which gets 1GB of storage, including what you might use for iDisk backups.
So I want to hear from .Mac users: Is the new .Mac webmail really awesome? How does it compare to Gmail or Yahoo! Mail? Is it worth $99 per year when free webmail (Gmail, 2.8GB) and online storage services (Xdrive, 5GB) are out there? It's not rhetorical--I haven't used .Mac and I really want to know, is it really worth it, and if so, why?
Update: TUAW's David Chartier has penned a nice long review of the new .Mac webmail entitled New .Mac webmail delivers, mostly. He concludes, "Let's face it: no one can please everyone, but this new webmail is pretty hot, considering everything .Mac is up against, like a segmented demographic and high expectations from the nerdier half of it."