Who’s excited about getting an @iCloud.com email address in iOS 6?

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If there’s one thing this digital world has too few of these days, it’s email address options. Luckily, the innovators at Apple will provide yet another option: iCloud.com email addresses will come standard with iOS 6 for anyone who has enabled the mail feature in iCloud, reports MacRumors. The revelation was part of the notes in today’s release of iOS 6 Beta 3 to developers.

From the iOS 6 Beta 3 logs:

icloud.com email addresses are now available for iCloud mail users. Users signing up for new Apple IDs, or enabling Mail on their iCloud account for the first time, will automatically receive an @icloud.com email address instead of a me.com email address. iCloud users with @me.com addresses that have been used with iOS 6 beta 3 will receive an @icloud.com email address that matches their @me.com address.

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The sudo-announcement of iCloud email addresses follows the death of MobileMe, which Apple shut down on June 30. MobileMe users are currently still able to download their content or transfer it to iCloud, though the clock is ticking on that option. It is also still possible to create a new @me.com email address — just turn on the mail option in iCloud settings, and follow the prompts. This will presumably make a new iCloud email address available to you as soon as you update to iOS 6.

My question is: Does anyone really need anoter email address? I already have more than I can manage as it is, and not just because I work on the Internet. Not only that, but email itself appears to be a dying technology. A March survey conducted by the Pew Internet Research Center shows that teenagers prefer texting and chatting over social media to either email or phone, with a full 39 percent of teens saying that they “never” correspond over email, and an additional 23 percent doing so less than once a week. This follows a 2010 study from comScore, which showed a similar trend. Anecdotally, I can say that my 17-year-old neice — a straight-A student and National Honors Society inductee — knows about as much about managing her neglected email account as I do about the indigenous people of Sakhalin island. Which is to say: nearly nothing.

Of course, teenagers are by no means the majority of Web users — though I believe it is safe to assume that the technologies that pass the younger generation by now have little chance of regaining their glory down the road, except among future hipsters. In fact, another Pew study from this year shows that “nine in ten” Web users still send email on a regular basis.

Alas, declaring the death of email is still a long way off. And the update to @iCloud addresses appears to be nothing more than Apple tying up the loose ends left dangling with the demise of MobileMe. And it’s entirely possible that additional perks and features will come to those who sign up for the new address. Still, Apple seems to me perfectly poised to usher in the post-email era — an era that is inevitably approaching, as soon as the next generation of Web users start to make the rules.

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