Reinventing Macworld

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Notice anything different this month? Now, I realize that change can be a little disconcerting, and we all know that change is not always good.

But if you've leafed through the pages of this, the debut issue of Macworld's first major redesign in seven years, I think you'll find that sometimes change can be a very good thing, indeed.

As you'll read elsewhere in this issue (see the feature story "Welcome"), Macworld's makeover has been a long time coming. Through the past two years, we've worked hard not only to update the magazine's look but also to modify its structure to better serve you.

You see, we're really interested in you--so much so, we study you on a regular basis. From surveys, focus groups, and electronic feedback, we have a pretty good sense of who you are, why you use a Mac, and what you like--and don't like--about this publication.

In general, you seem pretty happy with Macworld. This magazine enjoys some of the highest subscription-renewal rates and has some of the longest-standing subscriptions in the business. In studies, you've used words such as reliable, credible, comprehensive, and objective to describe us.

Unfortunately, another description occasionally came up: reading Macworld is "like doing homework." Yes, the content is there--but getting to it can be a trial. And while there was once a time when part of the joy of reading Macworld was setting aside a few hours in the evening to leisurely read the magazine from cover to cover, none of us seem to have that much time these days.

That's why we've added more than a fresh new look: for example, a consolidated how-to section, now with a standardized step-by-step layout---a very clear way of communicating instructional information. And while our reviews continue to provide the accuracy you've come to depend on, we've added new ways for you to get a quick grasp on the pros and cons of every product we examine. We're also striving to bring a more personal tone to Macworld--that of a knowledgeable friend, not a lecturing professor.

The Mac has changed to meet your changing needs. 1993's Apple is long dead, and new products such as the iMac and iBook have introduced a new sense of style to computing.

But while we may be a bit dazzled by the pretty colors and translucent plastic, let's not forget the power that lives inside that candy-coated shell. Suddenly, even iMac users have access to technologies such as FireWire, DVD, digital video, AirPort wireless networking, and high-speed Internet access. It's all there for the taking--if you know how.

Telling you about a computer's specifications is no longer enough. The days when we could just splash a number followed by "Megahertz!" on our covers and still satisfy readers are gone. Why? Because all Macs sold today are incredibly fast and powerful, and even the newest, fastest Macs are only incrementally faster than what came before them. What matters today is getting the most out of that Mac.

This is not to say that Macworld is only now focusing on great how-to articles. We've always had great instructional material in the magazine--scattered across our Secrets and Create sections and in our features. But with this issue, we're collecting that content in one place, the new How-to section. There you'll find feature stories, step-by-step articles, and our new Mac 911 troubleshooting column--all geared to help you get the most out of your Mac and the programs you run on it.

Another major change in this issue is the departure of Macworld's News section, replaced with a new section called Buzz.

In a world where the Internet dominates, it's impossible for a monthly print magazine--especially one with a readership as tech-savvy as Macworld's--to cover breaking news in a relevant manner. Enter Buzz, which still provides news and information about the Mac but does so with style and humor. We're hopeful that Buzz will inform you about the most important topics in the Mac world but will also entertain you and remind you why you're a Mac user.

We've also tried to reintegrate some of the elements of MacUser that were lost when that magazine merged with Macworld in 1997. Former Help Folder author Christopher Breen is now at the helm of Mac 911, our new troubleshooting and tips column. And with this issue we also welcome former MacUser columnist Andy Ihnatko back to the fold; Andy will be writing our monthly entertainment and gaming column, The Game Room.

And, of course, Macworld's redesign wouldn't be complete without the complete overhaul of our Web site. The new is reorganized so that no matter what subject you're interested in, you can find what Macworld has to say about it--and you can even weigh in with your own opinion.

Sure, it all starts in Cupertino. But Apple gives you only the hammer--it's up to Macworld to show you the things you can build with that tool and point to the nails and wood you'll need to complete your projects.

So, by all means, go back to exploring this new, more accessible, more useful Macworld. Hopefully, you'll find that it still delivers those qualities that have been Macworld hallmarks since the beginning--trusted product evaluations, expert advice, and in-depth analysis of the Mac--but with more style and humor, and a clearer focus on delivering the information that's important to you.

Page 11, September 2000

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