This evening, I was speaking – remotely – with the Arizona Final Cut Pro Users Group. And I was asked, as happens often, “Does Apple still care about professionals?”
This is a hard question, because the answer is changing. But here’s what I told the user group, and I wanted to share it with you.
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Unlike any other company on the planet, Apple doesn’t share its future plans. Except in rare instances, as they did with the initial showings of FCP X, the on-the-record meetings with analysts at NAB this spring – an ON-THE-RECORD private meeting, which hasn’t happened in a long, LONG time – and recently with Tim Cook’s email on the status of the MacPro update next year.
All of these are very uncharacteristic of Apple. In fact, Tim Cook’s response was an answer to the clamor from a Facebook page!
What’s going on?
I think Apple got its head handed to them with the launch of FCP X in the professional market. They were expecting controversy, they didn’t expect a revolt. The market opportunities Apple provided its competition was totally unexpected. The industry confusion was extreme. And the uncertainty continues. Hollywood HATES change, but it hates insecurity far more. The financial turmoil and disruption was enormous. Even today, a year later, I’m getting constant requests from editors on what they should do to plan their career.
Creative professionals have been Mac fans for a long, long time. We build businesses, meet payroll, and create killer products using Mac gear. Over the last few years, Apple has forgotten that you can’t treat creative professionals the same way you treat consumers.
But I’m starting to see moves from Apple that it has recognized this. The recent NAB meetings are one, Tim Cook’s memo is another. Apple is starting to telegraph – albeit gingerly – where it is going. It will never be the dialog we would like – but I’m seeing a break from the silence.
Up until the iPhone, Apple has never created products because it saw that it could dominate a market. It created products that were the ultimate marriage of hardware and software into products that spoke to the creator in all of us. If you think about it, Apple has always been a software company – with a Mac as a dongle.
The professional market – however that’s defined – will never equal the consumer market. With $98 billion dollars in the bank, Apple doesn’t need the professional market – except, everything in Apple’s DNA speaks to the creative, the communicator, the designer, the elegant esthete in all of us.
We all want to keep using Macs and Mac software. We want to continue believing in the company. All Apple needs to do – every so often – is talk to us and give us some clues about the future. And, from time to time, they need to listen as well.
It’s a two-way street.
As always, let me know what you think.
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