As pointed out by MacRumors, Apple today began a long-expected transition from old @me.com email addresses hosted at the discontinued MobileMe service over to new iCloud addresses. People who are signing up for new Apple IDs will automatically get an @icloud.com email address. Those with a @me.com email address will also get a matching iCloud email, provided their devices run the just-released iOS 6 Beta 3

According to Apple:

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.

Get it?

Apple will now require anyone with an iOS 6 Beta 3 device to use iCloud addresses for syncing services. New Apple ID signups will automatically get it and those with existing Apple ID using @me.com will be rolled into @icloud.com.

It’s nice that Apple’s been fixing this mess with email domains and has begun retiring old @me.com email domains in favor of iCloud ones. For backwards-compatibility, iTools and .Mac users who upgraded to MobileMe users can use both their @me.com and older @mac.com email addresses.

The company is also unifying your phone number and Apple ID in iOS 6 iMessage, allowing iPod touch and iPad devices to message iPhone users via their phone numbers instead of email addresses.

Do you plan on using your free @icloud.com email address at all?