Apple launches Apple Support Communities

After a brief announcement followed by months of no news about Apple's new social-based support site, Apple Support Communities finally makes its debut.

Apple's support discussion forum has been a popular location for Mac users to interact with and get help from other Mac users. Last year, Apple announced that the forums would be evolving into a new social-based site called Apple Support Communities, but for the past seven months there has been no further information about the changes, until yesterday when new the Communities site went live.

The new support site is now very user-centric and has a different layout and feel to it, so if you have frequently used the Apple discussions you might initially be confused by the changes. However, the site's organization is still familiar.

Previously, the discussions were composed of a main forum contents page that contained sections for each Apple product (a fairly standard forum layout), and in these sections users could post questions. Despite the changes in the new site, this organization still exists in that each Apple product is now represented by a "community," within which users start discussions.

The Communities support a number of user-centric features, including home pages, personal RSS feeds, subscriptions and notifications, and status information about discussions and user presence on the site. Postings also support a number of new organization and styling options, such as threaded discussions and the use of popularity-based tagging. These features should help people find answers to their questions and hopefully prevent redundancy in the site, but as with all new efforts, only time will tell to see how useful it is.

We recommend you check the new site out and explore its new features, but if you find yourself initially getting lost in the site, just look for your support area in "communities" areas (i.e., Leopard, Snow Leopard, MacBook Pro, iPad, or iPhone), and the site's organization should fall into place from there. If you need help getting started, Apple has a "How it Works" page that outlines the major features and how to use them.

What do you think of the new Apple Support Communities? Let us know in the comments.

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