One of the first spots many people turn to when they have questions regarding Apple and its products is the Apple Discussion Forums. Over the weekend, Apple has morphed the Discussion Forums into Support Communities. If you already have a discussions account, that account will be still be functional.
Communities are groups of similar products or technologies that share a common overall theme. Products like Desktops, iTunes, or even broader categories like the App Store.
Apple’s communities are a great place to get answers to questions that are not so easily answerable via a search engine. There are a significant number of users who have been contributing to Apple’s communities for several years now, and they can be a basin of knowledge.
With the change in name comes a few changes to the site as well. The screen is now divided into two sections. On the left hand side you see the individual communities, while on the right you can see the recent comments. One of the new additions is the ability to get the RSS feed of the new questions that have been asked.
With the communities, a user can now choose either a larger subcategory, like iTunes, or even a specific subcategory, like iTunes U, in order to filter down the exact community that best fits the question that a user needs to ask.
The categorizations have been significantly simplified. Instead of having six different sections for both iTunes for Windows and iTunes for Mac, they have simplified and created just one category for each. See the images below for a comparision
The new changes have vastly improved the way the discussion area looks. This improved look should make it easier for users to find what they are looking for and could potentially create more of a community feel instead of just a series of discussion on various topics.