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End of the road for MacNN: 21 years of changes for Apple, and for us (macnn.com)
74 points by aaronbrethorst on June 21, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments

Lots of "I've never heard of them" comments, mostly from people who think that "since the original iPhone came out" is a long time to have followed Apple.

MacNN used to be my go-to source for Apple news, back when "Apple" and "Mac" were more or less synonymous. I'm sad to see them go... but at the same time, mildly surprised they're still around. I haven't visited in years. It's pretty much as they say: who needs a niche site like this when Apple news is plastered everywhere?

It's interesting - I probably spend 2+ hours a day, reading Apple/Tech news, and reading all the various links, listening to a bunch of the podcasts. Some sites just keep coming up over and over - HN, macrumors, 9to5mac, imore.com, macworld.com - obviously the standard daringfireball.net, recode, theverge, bloomberg, wsj and NYT.com, some of the new ones like sixcolors.com, and the podcasts (ATP.fm, TheTalkShow), asymco (though less posting recently) In particular, stratechery.com has been knocking it out of the park in the last year.

Even though I don't visit it, I'm at least peripherally aware of theloop, information, etc... And usually hear a reference to sites like them every month or so. - But I'm struggling to remember, if even once in the last 5 years of that 2+ hours a day, I came across a story from macNN. Obviously this is an anecdote, but, 5+ years at 2 (or more) hours a day - you'd think I'd recall something from the site - but nothing comes to mind...

Same. I think the issue is lack of personality and blandness. I clicked through some MacNN articles and they all had the anonymous byline "MacNN staff".

In comparison the successful Apple blogs are done by driven and opinionated individuals (Jason Snell, John Gruber, Siracusa, Marco Arment, Ben Thompson) which you get familiar with over the years and reading/listening to them over time is like talking sports with your pals. MacRumors has Arnold Kim, 9to5mac had Mark Gurman etc I don't even read iMore often, I but still know that Rene Ritchie and Serenity Caldwell are working there. MacNN? I have a blank.

Hmm, they're generally included in that roster, odd you wouldn't have bumped into them. For instance:


I used spend close to 2 hours a day hunting for Apple news back when I was in school, from the mid-00s to 2012ish, and I hit most of the sites you're talking about. I still listen to the Talk Show and ATP, and I follow Jason Snell on Twitter.

But I also have never heard of this website.

MacNN, MacCentral and MacOSRumors are the reason I can read English today: I would check them everyday on my dialup modem and read nearly every single news, not without the help of a good old paper English-French dictionary. Maybe there were good online dictionaries, but I didn't find them at the time (Altavista/Lycos/Magellan/Yahoo! were not particularly helping...).

Thanks for all MacNN!

End of an era indeed. I read this site religiously back when MacRumors only did rumors and not news, so probably 1999-2003 or so. I assume MR starting to do news was the reason I stopped, but I actually don't remember. The thing is though, they were never the best, only the most thorough. If there was a piece of Apple-related news, they had it, but the writing wasn't top notch, and there's not a single editorial I can remember sticking out. Contrast with MacEdition.net (not sure if that's even still around), which had pretty good news, but great writing and fantastic editorials, really more like blogs. Stopped reading that once the content there slowed to a trickle though.

Similar story here, although it was their forums that I frequented. I helped people who had questions, requested help myself from anything to tech questions to feedback on my latest software, and enjoyed the goofy posts there. It was a bit of Reddit and HN before I knew about those communities.

The forums eventually became less valuable, less fun, but I'm not precisely sure why.

Naive question: Are our ad-blocked web sessions killing the small guys?

My morning routine starts with:

• loopisight.com

• daringfireball.com

• marco.org

• verynicewebsite.net

• inessential.com

and with some exceptions, posts these days are just links to podcasts (which I don't have a desire to listen to). I've been told that it is because podcasts are an actual source of income, whereas blog posts are not so much a way of earning a living.

Makes me wonder if it is that podcasts are more lucrative, or that blog posts are no longer lucrative.

Edit: And did ad-blocked loss of advertising play a role in MacNN's demise?

> I've been told that it is because podcasts are an actual source of income, whereas blog posts are not so much a way of earning a living.

The expectation that a person could start a website, fill it with advertising, and make money has made the internet significantly less valuable as a resource for finding information, IMO, so I don't have a big problem with this.

I have nothing but respect for the gentlemen running the above websites, and cast no blame on those that prefer podcasts (indeed, it would be strange if marco in particular didn't have a podcast). None of the aforementioned sites are filled with advertising.

Perhaps I am a too-small demographic nowadays such that I prefer to read my commentary rather than listen to it.

Well I've been reading Mac and Apple related stuff basically daily since the iPhone came out, and have never even heard of these guys.

"Since the iPhone came out" means you climbed aboard at a much later era :)

The era of Hypercard, RAM Doubler, AppleTalk, Dark Castle etc and wondering when Cyberdog, OpenDoc and Taligent were going to change the future of computing. Good times.

There's also seven years of OSX before the iPhone happened.

Eight, or ten if you count Rhapsody (which you should!).

I still have System 6.0.4 floppies :)

Alas, I had to get rid of my SE/30, my Classic, and my LC II. And not having bought a IIfx still stings.

Last time I moved I found my old Mac IIsi. Plugged it in to see how the old girl was holding up only to be greeted with "bong POP ~fizzle~" and the smell of ozone. The power supply gave out and though I was able to use a bench PS to boot, it was unreliable.

Also, a modern LCDs although conceptually multisync does not actually like frequencies that aren't PC standard S/VGA. Or it was the sync-on-green causing problems.

Macsurfer.com — a simpler and more useful site — has been around since 1995 as well. If I've ever read anything on MacNN it's been because it was linked from Macsurfer

Apple's rate of releasing genuinely new Mac hardware and software has slowed considerably in the past few years as they've refocused on iDevices. The only 2 I can think of were the cylindrical Mac Pro (which I own and am happy with) and the newest MacBook and its USB-C port.

Might this be why?

Margins and addressable userbase. For many people, their mobile device is their only device. And if they do own a laptop or desktop, they're likely to keep it longer than their mobile device since it's likely to be fast enough and subsequent version aren't likely to provide huge advancements that affect most users.

Stupid question, but why shut down? Why not sell? Surely a 20 year old web property has value to someone.

They cover that in the article:

> there's less need for an Apple-specific news site when news about Apple is plastered everywhere, on every site, all the time.

Including HN. Every Apple keynote there are 20 links plastered all over the HN homepage for even the most inane little details.

That isn't a full explanation as it is much like saying that Harold's Millinery of Saville Row has to close because no-one is wearing hats, but the name is well known and maybe it's time to start selling scarves, ties and what-not. OP perhaps meant the name may be worth something but the content needs diversifying?

I never even heard of them, not sure what that name would be worth but I'm sure that they aren't so stupid not to think of auctioning off the assets as an end-game.

I hadn't heard of them either and I bought my first mac in 2001, so right about the time they were popular too. Apparently some people had heard of them though, Charles Arthur from theGuardian technology section tweeted just now about their closure https://twitter.com/charlesarthur/status/745154921268273153

If their focus was on the too niche market of Macs and they completely ignored the iDevices and peripherals than that is a failure of strategic planning. Jobs trimmed the product line to 4 all the way back in 1998, iBook, Powerbook, iMac, and Powermac towers (G3, G4, G5). I really enjoy Apple products but I'd be reluctant to build a business model around them.

I've never heard of this site until just now.

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