There really aren't any new members anymore though. Just spambots. For all the reasons laid out in this thread. Now the thing that brought everyone here together was a shared interest in Apple. But that has sort of faded as Apple has gotten bigger but lost a lot of their mystique. Not to mention there are so many other places to go if you want to talk about stuff.
The advantage of a forum like this is the sense of community you get from being here. Discussions move slow because there aren't many people, but you can get to know people. But if you're not already part of the community, what advantage is there? You're better off going to a Facebook group or a subreddit where there are lots of people. Or even track down one of the really big forums that's still active like Ars Technica or AnandTech.
I know whenever I go to join a forum it's annoying to have to wait for an admin to approve my account, if they do that. Or to have restrictions on posting until you post a welcome thread. But I also get that having a forum overrun with fake accounts isn't desirable. It seems the majority of new posters are actually spam accounts, but how many of those do we even get?