Apple will soon introduce a redesigned version of its discussion forums, according to an official announcement that it quietly posted over the weekend. In many ways the upcoming changes sound like subtle evolution-not-revolution enhancements to Apple’s existing forum tools, though a few key additions should give both the occasional troubled guests and helpful Samaritans a better experience.
The refreshed forums will be called Apple Support Communities, and a number of new and redesigned features are detailed in a separate forum thread, as found by 9 to 5 Mac. Apple will place a stronger emphasis on asking questions, creating a more personal experience, and customising your forum portal. Users can already create a new discussion and mark it as a question, but Apple’s new Communities site will make it easier to ask a question from almost any page.
Another key new feature will be a home page that you can customise with widgets for displaying specific types of content, such as unanswered questions across the site or in a specific topic or product community, like iMac or Aperture.
Apple is also encouraging Support Communities users to introduce themselves to others by filling out profile and biography information. The current discussion forums already offer basic versions of these options, though, so perhaps Apple will expand on them or let them play a more prominent role in the new communities. The company also says you can “invite your friends to join in the discussion”, suggesting that Apple’s forums may finally adopt some of the friend and sharing features that many other forum systems have offered for years.
As for when the redesigned Apple Support Communities will debut, Apple only says “very soon”.