Announcing the Return of the TMO Spin

| Analysis

It’s hard to believe we’ve been publishing for almost 14 years at The Mac Observer. A lot of things have changed during that time. Apple went from beleaguered to bully*, the Mac has grown greatly in prominence, even while it is dwarfed by its smartphone little brother, and the company is worth more money than you can shake a stick at.

The Internet itself has changed even more, and the same is even more true for the community of sites I still affectionately think of as “The Mac Web.” Most of the sites that were around when we started off are gone, but for every one that disappeared, four more sprang up to take its place.

Heck, even mainstream news outlets feature regular coverage of Apple these days, and a lot, maybe most, of it is even accurate. Now, if you’re an old-school Apple observer, that may be the strangest change of all.

When we launched in December of 1998, one of the things we did that set us apart was the TMO Spin (see an example from 2001). While many sites have copied the idea in the years since, I came up with the idea because there were articles where I wanted to add an opinion or some context in situations that didn’t warrant a full editorial. It proved popular, and before long most of our articles had a Spin.

The TMO SpinThat changed in 2005 when we decided to go to a more traditional journalistic format. In traditional journalism, expressing an opinion is verboten lest the reporter reveal a bias that would cause readers to question the fairness of the reporting.

It was a hard decision back then, but I don’t regret it. We made the decision for the right reasons, and it dramatically improved the quality of our news. Indeed, you wouldn’t be reading the kind of coverage we publish today had we not made that change.

I think our content is the most professional, most in-depth coverage in the Mac Web, and it’s augmented by what is hands-down the most talented editorial staff in technology. Lately you may have also noticed a sharp increase in the number of technical articles and tips we’ve also added to the mix.

Cut to today. When we started working on the site redesign you see in front of you, we also talked a lot about our coverage. We are very proud of the work we do, but we’ve long known that we’re generally not the first to post coverage of any given story. Speed just isn’t our focus, nor should it be.

The things we’re best at are context, analysis, insight, and the ability to put the pieces together—that’s not something that can be done right when it’s rushed. No one does this better than we do, and now is a good time to refocus on that by bringing back the TMO Spin.

We’re going to keep the professional news coverage, adherence to our style guide, and the adult presentation of our news coverage, but when a story warrants it, we’re going to once again be including a Spin that adds value to our coverage. It might be an opinion, context, related things to think about, or maybe just some insight on why we covered a particular topic, and it will be set off from the news article in a way that makes it crystal clear what is opinion and what is news.

We sincerely hope you enjoy reading it as much as we do writing it.

Bryan Chaffin
Cofounder & Co-Publisher
The Mac Observer

*I personally don’t think of Apple as a bully, but some do (note that they are wrong). As an added bonus, it made for some dandy alliteration.

The Mac Observer Spin The Mac Observer Spin is how we show you what our authors think about a news story at quick glance. Read More →

In the immortal words of Richard Rawlings: Hell yeah! That’s badass! TMO was built on the power of the Spin, and I can’t wait to dive back into what I’ve always found to be the most interesting part of this job—adding context to the news.

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Many thanks, Bryan.

This is good news. Opinion, analysis and context is what I come here for more than for ‘breaking’ news stories, although you do a decent job of that, as well. I also appreciate the technical posts, as these improve the user experience, and I always learn something.

Still, analysis and insight rule, at least in my view.

And speaking of rules, will TMO be restoring the ability to edit one’s comment after posting, as before, or are we now to (heaven forbid) spell and error-check our comments before posting?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I agree with you about Apple not being a bully. Real bullies do what they do for sport. Apple seems kinda scared.

That was an attempt to link to:;_term&utm;_content&utm_campaign=recirc

Bryan Chaffin

Brad, this is certainly an appropriate time and place to criticize Apple. Thanks for acknowledging our hard work here.

Wab, the team is working on comment and forum-related issues. This is a huge project and we’re seeing a few hiccups. smile


This kicks ass!  Love the design, love the return of the Spin!


Wow that makes me feel old, has The MOSpin really been gone since 2005?  I remember it was one of the key reasons I gravitated here from the now long-defunct MacNewsCenter…heck I can’t even remember what it was called (it was bought my MacWorld magazine, I believe, and eventually folded into their home page).  My account says I’ve been a member since 2004 so I guess that’s all correct, so I applaud you Bryan for keeping the ship afloat for so long in the middle of the raging seas of Internet news, for the very eye-pleasing site redesign, and for bringing back one The Spin!


I wasn’t around for the original Spin, but it’ll be cool to see that context in upcoming articles. I love what you guys do here; keep up the great work.


It’s a little early to say, but at first glance, I like the new design.

It is very rare on the web these days to see a redesign that’s really good. Too many sites try so hard to be “modern” that it hampers readability. It looks like you’ve struck a good balance.

Good job.

It somehow reminds me of the old days of MacCentral, back in the mid-to-late 90s. It was my first and favorite Mac news site.

Eolake Stobblehouse

Very cool.
I’ve long been of the opinion that the Great Objectivity of the news media is an illusion anyway. Even if you honestly try your best (and few do), it simply is flat-out impossible not to have a personal viewpoint. It’s the human condition. Try to do an objective article on Christianity when you’re brought up in Utah. Then do one, having been brought up in Lebanon.

So let’s celebrate our subjectivity, since we can’t kill it.

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