It’s been a tough couple of weeks for die-hard Final Cut users. They feel betrayed and abandoned. And rightfully so. FCP was a tool they’d spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours working with and now Apple effectively shut them out of moving forward without any warning.
I won’t go through the gory details as they’re well documented elsewhere. Instead, I’ll to point out three articles that give me pause as to whether Apple is leaving the professional market entirely.
“Apple is trying to push Final Cut Pro into a more consumer space… Getting more and more individual users instead of enterprise users (organizations) is the goal. So as long as the Pro Apps can somehow mold to Jobs’s romantic ideal of a consumer user base, they get to stay. Otherwise, who knows? He likes FCP users as individuals but appears to no longer have any interest in production houses or TV stations. They just aren’t his bag.”
In another post, the former product designer for Apple’s discontinued compositing application Shake offers his thoughts on FCP’s transformation. Here’s a quote:
“I mean what’s the real value of a package that’s sold only to high-end guys? Prestige? Does Apple really need more of that? …And really, from a company perspective high-end customers are a pain in the ass. Before Apple bought Shake, customer feedback drove about 90% of the features we’d put into the product,” Brinkmann writes. “But that’s not how Apple rolls – for them a high end customers are high-bandwidth in terms of the attention they require relative to the revenue they return.”
The third, and final, post comes from Helmut Kobler on the Creative Cow blog. He’d seen the writing on the wall, from the year and a half wait between upgrades of Mac Pro towers, to the cancellation of Shake, Xserve RAID and Xserve hardware.
His closing paragraph really sums up the difference between Apple and Adobe’s corporate interests.
“But I can definitely say that First Contact with Premiere was impressive and compelling. And beyond the application itself, I have a lot more confidence in Adobe’s ability to deliver professional solutions than I do Apple’s. It’s really very simple: If Apple’s Pro apps went away tomorrow, Apple would barely feel it on its bottom line or stock price. If Adobe’s Pro apps went away, so would Adobe. Pro apps is all Adobe thinks about, and after 4+ years of neglect at Apple’s hands, that kind of singular focus sounds pretty compelling.”
Given all of this information, I’ve started to wonder. What’s the future of ProRes and an intermediate/archive codec? Will Apple continue to upgrade their professional desktop computers? Will I have to run my business on an iMac or switch to Windows? These are all perplexing questions without any easy answers, at least for now.