Subscribers to Apple's .Mac service can expect new features for them from a variety of software manufacturers, and can download a free game and excerpts from a book this morning.

.Mac-enhanced applications for blogging, accounting and Web publishing are already available, and it appears many firms are fixing to include special features for the half million-plus .Mac subscribers.

Apple explains, "A growing number of companies that create software for Macs are including features exclusively for .Mac."

Illustrated on the .Mac page are: Macromedia Contribute; Intuit QuickBooks; StuffIt Deluxe; BlogWave Studio; iBlog; iCamShare and Circus Ponies' NoteBook software.

Free stuff

Service subscribers can now download a free Holiday Express game, and can also get hold of a discount on games from publisher HipSoft.

Holiday Express (usual price $19.95) is a high-action arcade game from HipSoft. Players must uncover hidden photos in scenic or express format. As they play, gamers remove puzzle pieces to uncover beautiful pictures, including their own custom images. Apple describes the game as "its gift to .Mac members".

Members are also being offered 25 per cent off the cost of all existing Mac games from HipSoft, including Digby's Donuts, Flip Words and Trivia Machine.

Also available for free download are two chapters from Robin Williams Cool Mac Apps from Peachpit Press. Published in August 2004, the 500-page book is a guide to all of Apple's consumer applications. It includes 76-pages about .Mac applications and services. Members can download chapters pertaining to HomePage and Backup. Members also enjoy a 30 per discount on the book.