Apple bonds .Mac, iPhone with Web Gallery (updated x2)

Updated (x3): During a special event primarily focused on the release of an updated, aluminum-bodied iMac computer, Apple CEO Steve Jobs today announced .Mac Web Gallery, a new feature of its subscription-based .Mac Internet service designed to ease photo and video sharing for users of iPhones and Apple’s iLife ‘08 suite of digital lifestyle software. Operating somewhat like photo-sharing site Flickr, .Mac Web Gallery is an extension of iPhoto ‘08 and iMovie ‘08 that publishes your photos and videos to the Internet with one click, enabling you and other users to view the content online in a special Web 2.0 interface, and add to the photo collection with a special e-mail address.

A new iPhone feature, “Send to Web Gallery,” enables iPhone users to wirelessly add photos to the Gallery from the road using the device’s Photos application; the feature mysteriously appeared as a new iPhone menu option, as shown above, hours after Jobs announcement. Galleries – including any video content that has been encoded using iMovie for viewing on an iPhone – can also be viewed using the iPhone’s Safari browser. In addition to requiring the $79 iLife ‘08 suite, a $100 annual subscription to .Mac will be needed to publish the Web Gallery.

Update 3: A hands-on report on .Mac Web Gallery’s integration with iPhone and iPhoto is available here.

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