Rumours that Apple will reveal a major upgrade to its members-only .Mac service have been boosted with news that the service will be unavailable during company CEO Steve Job's keynote speech at Macworld Expo San Francisco.

An Apple-authored note on the .Mac site warns the service: "Will be undergoing scheduled maintenance from 7am to 12pm PST (3pm-8pm UK time) on January 10. All .Mac services will be affected. We apologize for the inconvenience."

This means services will definitely be upgraded while Jobs delivers his famed "state of the nation" news at the world's key Mac tradeshow - a keynote that traditionally sets the wheels in motion for Apple's plans in the coming year.

Rumour, chatter, mumble, mumble

Recent rumours have predicted a swathe of new features will be made available for .Mac members, who have seen no additional benefits in terms of software releases or new features since summer.

AppleInsider last week predicted that .Mac members will soon be able to buy domains from within the service, and that iLife '06 and iWork '06 would both offer new website-building features that integrate with .Mac. A price reduction, new templates and extended support for web standards was also predicted.

Other current rumours suggest Apple may extend its bid for online video sales by making full-length rights-protected movies available for sale in such a way that the movies don't reside on a host computer, but are instead archived on .Mac servers.