I am a huge fan of Apple and their products. I have been using a Mac since 2002, and have been extremely happy with every aspect of my computing experience. In fact, I have been so happy with Apple that I even decided to work for them for a little over a year. I enjoyed my job for a long time, but then it seemed to lose its magic. After leaving and watching Apple from afar, I realized that I am not the fanboy I thought I was. Sure, I love the products but I am deeply concerned with the direction it seems they are headed. These thoughts were solidified in my brain even more after the WWDC keynote.
I understand Apple needs to make consumer products. I really do. However, it seems to me that they have focused so much on the consumer side of things that they have left the professionals to fend for themselves. If I go into my local Apple store today, I find that aside from 3 or 4 people, most cannot answer any question about any of the professional applications. All they know is iLife. iLife is a great product, but come on! I had an argument with a specialist about Aperture not being included in Final Cut Studio. Really? This same “specialist” argued with me about the different upgrades for Final Cut Studio until I took him over to a machine and pulled it up on the Apple website. This guy knew nothing about Macs, but because Apple is a cool company, he decided to work there. I asked about the Aperture 2 upgrade and he said there was no such program. Really? Then why am I certified in Aperture? I told him it was a photo program to which he replied, and I quote, “Oh. you mean iPhoto. iPhoto is included with every new Macintosh.” I told him, “No, Aperture is a professional photo editing and management program.” He then told me that it would be included in Final Cut Studio because that is Apple’s suite of professional programs. Really? When I worked at Apple, we knew the products. We knew what was going on. Now, I would rather take a beating than go to my local Apple Store. Well, if I need help with Photobooth I know where to go. Not everyone there is as inept as this guy was, but it seems like they will hire anyone these days. There are still some smart people working at my local store, and if you are reading this, you know who you are. Please, Apple, get some qualified people to work there.
One of the most valuable parts of the Apple store experience, in my opinion, was the Studio. This is the place where people could go to learn about the different Apple products, both consumer and professional, from certified Apple employees. Guess what? Apple decided to get rid of the Studio in my local Apple store. Yet we read how the One-to-One program is a smashing success. Now people are taught out on the sales floor. I know it is not like this everywhere, but this is ridiculous. Having taught on the sales floor, I know it is not ideal at all. You have the kids coming up right around you playing with Photobooth and looking at MySpace, while you are trying to teach someone who has paid for that time. It’s not a good situation. But, let’s get rid of the dedicated studio so we can make more room for product. We need at least 15 tables of iPhones, because no one knows what those are. Oh and let’s not forget to put out the MacBook Air.
Ahh. The MacBook Air. What a useless product this is. Let’s make a computer that fits in a manilla envelope, but let’s give it no power to do anything but check email and surf the internet. Oh and let’s also charge an arm and a leg for it. I guess Apple is taking on the netbook. This computer is for the wives or husbands of rich executives that have nothing better to do than spend money. This is not a computer for any type of real work, but it shore is puurty.
So back to WWDC. Snow Leopard. I totally understand this is a developer’s conference and that there are a lot of developers for the iPhone and iPod touch. Oh and while I’m at it. It is the iPod touch. Not the iTouch. It is fine with me that time is spent on the new iPhone 3.0 software. That is a big deal. The new iPhone is where I started to get mad. You bring out this new phone and announce all these new features, but guess what? AT&T doesn’t support some of them. Really Apple? And what is the big deal about a digital compass? Do you really have that many people hiking in the back woods with their iPhone? You have a great product with the iPhone/ Why did you give exclusivity to AT&T? What a stupid move that was. The launch of the iPhone 3G was horrendous. Apple didn’t know what was going on because AT&T didn’t have a clue. Just make the stupid phone available for any carrier. If market share is what you want then open it up so it works with everyone. Also, your pricing sucks. Like I am going to pay $500 for a phone. From what I am reading AT&T doesn’t even support a lot of the new enhancements. I understand technology is what it is and that I shouldn’t expect any sort of rebate or trade in, but really, $500 for a phone is absurd. There is really nothing exceptional about this new phone that makes me even want it. Well, except for the digital compass.
So back to the consumer vs professional issue I have with Apple. You have Final Cut Studio 2. It’s a nice set of programs, but honestly, you really need to announce Final Cut Studio 3 and get it released. I would think that an announcement of this would be appropriate at NAB. Oh wait, Apple doesn’t need to attend these conventions any more. What a stupid move this is. Okay. I will give you MacWorld. You can stay away from that since it is a consumer show. But to pull out of NAB is a stupid move on your part. These are professionals Apple. Like it or not, you have competitors. You need to reach out to these professionals. I know you have more than a million licenses of Final Cut sold. With that many, why aren’t you at NAB promoting the next release? Why aren’t you hyping this product as much as you are a stupid phone with a stupid compass? If you want to keep gaining ground, you need to focus more attention on your professional base. Final Cut is a great program. Motion is okay, but gets blown out of the water by After Effects. Shake was excellent and THE standard, but you seem to have let that go. Yay Apple. Let’s cease development on Shake. Good job. You’ve just lost a lot of your market share and big studio support. ILM just bought a site license of Nuke. Good job Apple. I guess you had to take developers of of Phenomenon to screw up iMovie. Seriously Apple, what are you thinking? Do you realize that a lot of people who buy your Mac Pro line of computers also buy Final Cut Studio, Logic Studio, and Shake. We don’t buy them to play games on. You need to update people on the status of these programs.
A lot of people are wondering what is going to happen to Apple after Steve leaves. I always thought it would be fine, but now I am starting to wonder. If you are just going to cater to consumers fine. Let us know so we can make arrangements. I am happy to pay extra for a computer that will last a long time with a rock solid operating system. I think you did the right thing by making Snow Leopard affordable. The problem is that when people think of Apple, they think of the iPhone or the iPod first. They will eventually come around to the computers and the operating system. To me this is not good. People don’t talk about going to the Apple Store. They talk about going to the iPod store. Apple is great at marketing, but you need to focus a little money on the professional side. Please don’t leave us out to dry Apple. Consumers don’t care. If Sony or Microsoft made something that was better than the iPod, consumers would buy it. Luckily no one has…yet. It is the professionals that keep you afloat through the lean times. You need to focus on the professional sector and the education sector if you want to make it. You are doing quite well, but things can change at any moment. I love my Mac Pro and my MacBook Pro. I don’t buy other machines because they simply are not as good. But, I have stopped using Final Cut Studio. I use the Adobe Creative Studio 4 Production Premium bundle. The cameras we use are AVCHD and I don’t always have the time to convert them to an intermediate codec. I would like to get a Red Scarlet when it is released. Premiere Pro supports is natively. Does Final Cut? I like Motion a lot, but I’m sorry. It is just not as good as After Effects. I know AE has been around a lot longer, but you need to make some big changes if you want to gain more ground. And finally, let us know one way or another about Phenomenon. Are you going to release it or not?
I really want Apple to be around a long time. I realize there has to be a balance of consumer products and professional products. All I want is some sort of news coming out of Apple besides iPhones.