Pro photographers abandoned by Apple?

“Since dropping out of MacWorld and most of the other big electronics/computer shows, WWDC (The World Wide Developer’s Conference) in San Francisco has become Apple’s most important venue for product announcements,” Scott Bourne writes for Photofocus. “The emphasis on mass market mobile is clear. Those of us in the professional photography community need to understand that we are no longer targets of Apple. They aren’t a pro apps company or a hardware company they are a mobile company. In so far as you are interested in mobile – then they are one to watch.”

Bourne writes, “There was a minor point release to Aperture (not really discussed at the keynote.) It offers a white balance brush, compatibility with the new retina display and a few other goodies, but it’s nowhere near the kind of upgrade that Lightroom got, moving from LR3x to LR4x. I’m officially done with Aperture – as of today my staff has begun the migration to LR4 and I won’t be switching back. Even if Apple does a major Aperture update, it’s going to be too late for me. I’m not a fan of their approach when it comes to the pro market and while it may make perfect sense for them from a business point of view, it doesn’t serve customers like me.”

“Aperture’s library now fully integrates with iPhoto’s library. Does that ring a bell with anyone but me? iPhoto is a purely consumer product. Aperture was originally touted, marketed and sold as a professional application and was managed by Apple’s pro apps team. Does anyone really think there’s a place for integration between a free consumer photo app that kids use in grade school and a pro app like Aperture?” Bourne writes. “This is like the Final Cut Pro debacle. Apple essentially has decided that the broader consumer market is more profitable so pro apps are history. I can’t and don’t blame them from a purely business point of view.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Lots of conclusions being jumped to, including claiming that the Mac Pro was dead even after Apple CEO Tim Cooke promised that Apple was working on a professional Mac for later next year. And FCP X is not a debacle. It’s quite the opposite, actually. Try to keep current.

And why shouldn’t consumer and pro apps share the same libraries? How do you expect interested consumers to become pros? Does it make sense to have the “consumer” and “pro” video, film, and photography apps completely separate and noninterchangeable or does it make more sense for them to share certain lowest common denominators in order to not only smooth the upgrade path, but to also improve support?

Writing as former “pro” video and film producers, videographers and editors, the so-called “pros” need to get over themselves. The “consumer” software and hardware available today runs rings around everything the “pros” had to work with for decades. It’s not about the tools you use, it’s about the results you produce.

Related articles:
Tim Cook: Apple is working on professional Mac for ‘later next year’ – June 12, 2012
Apple unveils all new MacBook Pro with stunning Retina display – June 11, 2012
PC Magazine reviews Apple’s Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3: Editors’ Choice for high-end video editing – February 7, 2012

127 Comments

  1. I think they have been stepping on too many toes lately. Lack of hardware with Xserve and Mac Pro. Cutting corners on software like Aperture, OS X Server, Final Cut, to websites like Education custom sites and AppleCare GSX site that feel like they are incomplete and not useable. If they keep on this path I might make my decision a little more serious and get out of this tech business.

    1. To take issue with one point: “Cutting corners with Final Cut” completely wrong misinformed opinion. I use FCPX daily for work, and have stuck with it since day one. They rewrote the program from the ground up, and now at 10.0.5 it’s the most feature rich, robust video editing program available. It still has little bugs like any “new” software (One year old next month) but its still such a joy to work with creatively. Apple has put a lot of love into Final Cut.

        1. Really? Seriously? How about features are missing? As in not there. Or how about this? They took features that are used in everyday production environments, both large and small, and buried them so that it now take 6 or more clicks to access them. These are features which your average consumer doesn’t use so it makes sense to hide them. Or how about the absolutely abysmal (as in not even worth using for the smallest fixes) audio sweetening and color correction/grading tools included in the program. Or how about the biggest joke of them all? Their file management paradigm. 15 TBs of media is visible all at once unless you disconnect drives? Who uses desktop drives like that in a production setting? And who wants to see over 100K assets that have nothing to do with the project you’re working on?

          They took more than a few of the pro features out (or more accurately didn’t put them in), buried them or watered them down to the point where only an ametuers who doesn’t know the difference would be pleased.

          When you have significant experience with NLEs and what levels they had reached then maybe you’ll be taken seriously. Until then you’re just like all the other wannabes. You think your new souped up clown car is better because it’s faster than the old Batmobile us old timers are used to driving. But that ridiculous car will only take you so far and get over, under, around or through so many barriers.

          1. Tell us what you really think of Apple?

            File management now, really? Wow, you’re full of shit aren’t you. You’re really digging deep with that one. Scraping the bottom of the barrel.

            If you’re trying to hurt my feelings by bad-mouthing Apple, it will never work.

            I’ve been with Apple since 1979 and I’ve developed really thick skin over the years listening to PC weenies like you run Apple down.

            1. …hurt your feelings? I was addressing real issues not your obviously low self esteem. It sure doesn’t seem like you have a thick skin. Just a really thick skull.

          2. “When you have significant experience with NLEs and what levels they had reached then maybe you’ll be taken seriously.”

            Same here. You are an anonymous coward. Say what ever you want, you’ll get no respect here as long as you continue to bad-mouth Apple. There are more appropriate “professional” forums for this kind of dialogue.

            You’re mistake was believing anyone here would sympathize with you.

            All of the crap you claim Apple has put you through sounds as though you suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.

            1. Wow! You’re just a regular old turd with nothing to do, hey? I’ve been with Apple since 83. I’m not bashing them you retard fuck. Learn to read. I’m bashing their subpar product.

              And I’m not looking for sympathy from you or anyone else here even though there are people here who agree with me.

              And if you think file management within the app is scraping the bottom of the barrel then that just proves what an imbecile you really are.

              And you’re right. There are more appropriate professional forums. Just because this is a fanboi forum (aren’t you a little old to be such a fanatic?) doesn’t mean you have to constantly wallow in your ignorance. Go back on your meds.

              Unlike you I’m not looking for respect here. If I got it out of the likes of you I’d figure I was doing something majorly wrong. Someone asked what the issues were. I answered. For myself. You answered like you had a fucking clue and spoke for Apple and everyone else. Time to get a life, pal.

              Anonymous? WTF does that have to do with anything? Coward? Hardly. You’re just a pissed off fanboi because not everyone is perfectly happy with everything Apple. They may be the best at a lot of things. But they’re not perfect.

              If the time comes when I need to switch platforms I will. Until then I’m happy to just tread water. It’s what we’ve been doing for 6 years now. Have a nice night. I hope you feel better in the morning. 😉

            2. You are dead on, if a bit harsh. It would be so much better if the Apple pro photog defenders would actually support–no, fight for–recognition by Apple in its products. I was ready to make the switch, spending thousands of dollars to convert totally to Apple, until I found out that their new retina macbooks do not have dvd/cd drives. I WILL NOT be dictated to, or be forced to carry clunky add-on devices to add to my skinny laptop. A non-starter. And, worst of all, I could not believe how arrogant and dismissive the barely no-longer-a-kid was when I went to the Apple store and found out omission. Really stupid of Apple. They could be getting new high end customers at a premium instead of abandoning us.

      1. Agreed. FCPX is now quite good and getting better.

        I’d like to know which lack of features the pros are still looking for in it. I know there are still some things we might want, but too few to keep us away from FCPX.

        Pros, name the features you’re still missing.

        1. Thats good to hear then…..I have heard nothing but bad things especially when it came out. I think that still stuck too and people have that opinion on it now. Makes sense to rebuild it from the ground up to get better performance, 64bit, etc. Glad to hear you guys like it though, hopefully that spreads to more peoples opinions and gets rid of the negative image it has.

  2. Wrong MacDailyNews. Listen to your pros. Do what they want and ask for. There is always a common ground and options should be made available to do what the pros ask. Regular consumers will buy the pro aps as long as try stay user friendly like apple has done. Don’t alienate those who are doing the real quality work. I want a pro app, not an app made for the lowest common denominator. I am not a pro by the way but I like the pro to be happy and keep Apples reputation with them solid.

    1. +100!

      Pro products are aspirational. Nearly every type of product uses this tack. Cameras, cars, bicycles, appliances, sporting goods, you name it. Your customers start out on the low-end, but dream of growing up and into the REAL deal… the PRO products.

      Who does Apple think kept them afloat in the dark years of the late 90s? That’s right, us PRO users.

      The fact that Apple is “promising” an upgrade to the Mac Pro in 1 1/2 tears is in insult! What would a speed bump, with a few Thunderbolt ports take to produce?

        1. “Remember, Steve was against having Any slots for expansion.”

          Steve was also reportedly against apps on the iPhone. Thankfully he wasn’t afraid to change his mind if it made sense.

      1. Who does Apple think kept them afloat in the dark years of the late 90s? That’s right, us PRO users.

        Mre wants everyone to believe he and the Pros saved Apple.

        What would a speed bump, with a few Thunderbolt ports take to produce?

        There’s a pro talking for ya’. All Apple has to do is add a a speed bump and thunderbolt ports to a Mac Pro and call it a day.

        Please tell us you meant a bump in speed and not a bump in the road.

        Let’s hope the people running Apple are professional businesspeople and not pros.

        Just because the package says Professional, doesn’t make you one.

    2. Agreed 100%.

      All the Apple apologists can say what they want but us Pro’s, that kept the company afloat through the hard times and evangelized the platform are now being left for dead.

      1. I disagree. This still is the same company that has a long history of pioneering the advancement of the newest and best technical standards. Apple recently adopted Retina Displays, fast Thunderbolt ports, USB 3, Bluetooth 4.0 and touch screen interfaces on both the iPad and the Mac. In the past, the company has been first with accurate and reliable display calibration that just worked, WYSIWG software technologies and a clean, minimalist OS that gets out of the way of content, something Microsoft has never understood. That’s hardly leaving professional photographers for dead.

        So what if they temporarily fall behind in CPU processing power every now and then, as may be the case at the moment with the lack of the latest processor technology in the Mac Pro tower? Computers are undergoing a titanic technological shift right now, and this takes time to manage across many product lines. Personally, I’m glad Apple has become a successful consumer company, because it means it will be able to support a small, vertical market like professional photography. This sounds like some people have forgotten about the dark days before OS X, when we all feared we might lose Apple altogether.

        So, photographers should take the long view and give Apple the time it needs to properly develop new products. Sometimes they’re ahead of the curve, sometimes they’re behind. But Apple always is there, innovating and pleasing.

    3. “I want a pro app, not an app made for the lowest common denominator. I am not a pro by the way but…”

      Spoken like a pro. Paraphrasing loosely: I want a pro app, not an app made for the lowest common denominator; in other words anyone who buys Apple software but isn’t a pro, isn’t worthy of professional-grade apps.

      If I’m right about you, then you have insulted everyone on these boards who are regular consumers.

      Idiot.

    4. “Listen to your customers and do what they want”

      That’s the philosophy which bankrupted GM. WAY too many consumer groups, focus groups, surveys, etc. which result in bland, vanilla, no-forward-thinking products.

      The fact is the Pro and Consumer markets are merging. The processing power of an iMac these days is far superior to a high-end computer of just 10 years ago. The software has also jumped forward. Within 5-8 years, there may not be much difference between Pro and Consumer apps, if any. Heck, we even have a basic iMovie for iPad and iPhone now. Just imagine what will be done in 10 years time on mobile devices.

      The problem with many Pro users, no matter what field we’re discussing, is that they are very comfortable with their current tools and typically just want incremental upgrades or added features. A surgeon is used to cutting with scalpels, and when you introduce lasers, it is a foreign world and some always wonder why mess with what works.

      In order to move ahead, changes have to be made and old, comfortable conventions often abandoned. This leads to periods of unrest, but eventually brings about better tools and better end results.

      If Apple listened to its pro users, it would never be able to reinvent a market, or drastically rewrite anything, because the majority of pro users would tell Apple not to change things much, just add little here and there.

      And then you would get Microsoft.

      1. You are correct. But… The difference isn’t in the horsepower. How many people need a tach? Or an oil pressure gauge? Just a pro race car driver. Everyone else can make do with the idiot lights.

        That’s what FCP X has become. Vector and parade scopes? Output to broadcast monitors? Audio sweetening and color correction/grading tools? All nonexistent or dumbed down to idiot lights, templates and “good enough for consumers” output. As in YouTube and other places where the quality doesn’t matter because it’s probably going to end up looking and sounding like garbage anyway. Ask a pro audio engineer why their iPod is filled with AIFFs instead of MP3s and maybe you’ll get the idea.

  3. Scott Bourne has it right. When it came to ProApps, Apple used to get it where Adobe was off in the weeds being all self-important. Now, Apple has clearly decided that the ProApp market is too small for such a big, successful company and are migrating to a “ProSumer” approach. Like Bourne saids, this is probably the best move to maximize shareholder wealth. The sad thing is, the Apple of old maximized user experience (and in this case Pro App user).

    I switched to LR myself a while ago, and while I would not even consider non-Apple hardware for my work, I’m not going back to Apature (even if they do finally do a worthy update).

    Lastly, the MDN take here is laughable and exactly something that Microsoft would use as a defense. Hey, MDN, you lose all credibility when you only fanboy. Kick Apple in the balls when they deserve it and you will be listened to more often. If you said, “Hey Pro’s, you aren’t a big enough market get over it” then I’d say good point. But to say that consumer apps are better than old pro apps and thus we don’t need to evolve is probably the dumest-ass thing I’ve read here in sometime.

    1. I’m not a pro, but I also believe Bourne was pretty much spot on. Note to others above: he was just being matter-of-fact about why he was leaving Aperture and not throwing under the bus.

      Agree that the prosumer market is really important here.

      The only point where I do quibble with the comment directly above is with this being done only to “maximize shareholder wealth”. It is a business decision, but Apple under Jobs was never about the bottom line first, it was about the products. I think Cook is the same. However, they do choose to focus their work and, in as Bourne points out, they are focusing heavily on mobile and consumer laptop/desktop. I think this is because Apple wants to make great products and this cannot be accomplished when R&D is spread too thin. Yes, that does effect the bottom line, but I do not believe that Jobs’ hand picked successors now walk into a room and say, “let’s maximize shareholder wealth!”. Maybe just semantics, but I think it is an important difference between Apple and MS and Dell, for example.

      1. The fact is the pro markets are very niche and small. Pro and consumer are becoming closer and closer, and within 5-8 years may not be really distinguishable in terms of the software offered (mostly by the results achieved and the budgets provided for the work product).

        What is truly amazing is what one can do with just a digital camcorder and a Mac these days. Add some software, and you have the ability to create very nice products.

        That’s what Apple is seeing — that as the difference between pro and consumer narrows (both software and hardware), it makes much less sense to continue creating separate products for each market.

        Remember, Apple first is a hardware company. So if you’re buying Apple hardware and running other third party pro software on it, Apple is still happy. It probably has you as an iPhone and iPad user as well. That’s where Apple makes its money, not in niche software sales.

    2. you’re a Prosumer scott, aren’t you? You bought a Macintosh “off the shelf” along with your software. Other than your purchasing power, you have no direct relationship with Apple, no more than you did with Adobe.

      The same goes for all you so-called pros. The real pros in photography and video don’t hang out at MDN and share their thoughts with this membership. They have jobs.

      You guys might work in the graphics industry, but your the help, not the leadership.

      In all the years I have been coming here, Ken Rockwell has never made an appearance at MDN to discuss the merits of pro software, or cameras and lenses.

      If you’re a prosumer using Apple software and hardware, I thank you for your continued patronage of Apple, Inc., even if it is only phones and tablets.

      The future of mobility is more important than your ability to fix your mistakes. You see professional photographers usually get the money shot using their cameras, not their computers or software.

      1. G4D-

        You wrote: The same goes for all you so-called pros. The real pros in photography and video don’t hang out at MDN and share their thoughts with this membership. They have jobs.

        CC: Don’t bet the farm on that one …

      2. and once again you’re full of it and just antagonistic to be a d*ck, Dualie. Either that or your small mind is overloading again. I got back from doing a project overseas two months ago. Post will wrap in a few weeks. Then I’ll be off for several months until preproduction on the next project starts. I guess I’m not a pro. We won’t talk about the money the job earned (which allows me to be off half the year most times) because I’m sure that doesnt enter into your definition of pro.

        Work your 40, buy your six pack and keep trying to get your stuff on Funny Or Die. Maybe try an autobiography. That might be funny and short enough to make the cut. Otherwise just stick to posting your hacked cat videos to YouTube. Peace!

        1. I got back from doing a project overseas two months ago. Post will wrap in a few weeks

          So what you’re saying is, your a prosumer too. Big deal. If the shit fits wear it!

          I don’t have to work anymore. So I have lots of time to slap all you pros around. So fuck off!

          1. You call that slapping around? Besides Apple not needing my business you haven’t made one intelligent point. You are far less intelligent than I gave you credit for being. Have a nice day first then I’ll fuck off duechbag.

  4. Tim Cook needed to tell people the Mac Pro was coming soon.

    If Cook had said we’ll have a major upgrade to the Mac Pro by the end of this year I would have considered that a bit too long given the age of the Mac Pro. But for Cook to say there will be an upgrade to the Mac Pro by the end of NEXT YEAR, well, that is really just too long.

    It is almost as though Cook is working on creating a self-fulfilling prophesy where he’ll discourage so many people away from the big iron desktop that by October, 2013 there will only be 10,000 people left in the world that want a monster desktop machine made by Apple.

    For the life of me I don’t understand Apple on this point. Why not give the video/photography professionals and scientists that want to crunch big data sets at their desktop a machine they can brag about? There are many bioscientists and social scientist that would love a monster machine from Apple. Should Apple really care whether they make money selling Mac Pros to this segment of the professional and scientific communities? I’d say, no. Consider it a lost leader. Apple should just want this group with them because this is the group that tells their students and colleagues what machine they use and how cool and powerful it is. They help form attitudes and beliefs about what is the “best” computer within the scientific and higher education community.

    Apple/Cook you guys are missing the boat when it comes to upgrading the Mac Pro. Put 5 engineers on this and crank out a new Mac Pro using the same box. A skunk works group could bang it out in two months, easy. And most everyone knows it, and that’s partly what makes everyone so crazy on this topic.

    1. Great points all around, but this mega-machine needn’t even be a loss leader. We’re accustomed to paying a premium for Apple’s premium machines – doing it at the normal high price would still work just as well, too. Not doing it at all? Not going to work… at all. Part of the allure of the iPhone is that it comes from a premium high tech company. Now that Apple isn’t pushing the high end high tech, how much longer will that allure last?

    2. For the life of me I don’t understand Apple on this point. Why not give the video/photography professionals and scientists that want to crunch big data sets at their desktop a machine they can brag about?

      Why not let someone else cater to the video/photography professionals and scientists?

      Obviously, you didn’t get the hint when STEVE JOBS CHANGED THE NAME OF THE COMPANY!!!

  5. One possible danger in the approach taken by Bourne is that if they have to work with a product that has frequent updates they are potentially exposed to a product that is more bug prone and that may burden his staff with having to learn (and unlearn) aspects of the the product to the detriment of production.

    I don’t mean to suggest that Luddites will inherit the earth. Rather, I would prefer a stable product that offers me what I need to get the job done. Particularly for commercial applications, I would think that one would want to stay in sync with what the market needs versus trying to force new things on unsuspecting customers.

    1. Huh? I get Apple updates many times a year for my Apple products and software. Adobe isn’t forcing new things on customers, rather customers continue to demand (and pay) for more. I understand Apple’s need to focus to be wildly successful, but that means someone else is going to focus (and update) on market areas where Apple is purposely dropping the ball.

      1. Dropping the ball? I don’t think so. They’re just entering discussions about the merits of going forward with with workstation-class hardware and software, when the whole world is focused on connecting with one another. Hmmm, let’s see, a few billion in hand or several thousand Mac Pro users wanting Apple to keep the dream alive.

        Apple has never publicly embraced the pro community. You’ve never had a commercial promoting the “pro” in their software, because Apple believed all along, the things they were making were within the reach of all of their consumers.

        Just because I bought a Mac Pro, it doesn’t make me a pro. Just because I own the Creative Suite, doesn’t make me one either.

        So all you blubbering on about your being pros and how Apple has turned its back on you, are just jerking off.

        We have no idea what’s in store, do we? I suspect Apple has fallen well behind the power curve on a lot of their products that are desktop related.

        It’s understandable though, we saw evidence of it, when Apple pulled all the engineers off OS X, to focus on iOS, so it would debut without flaw. That move alone, set Apple back a year.

        Aperture and FCP run on top of OS X and halting production or R&D is bound to ripple well into the future of those software products.

  6. Prosumer- not Pro.

    Fanbois take note:
    PeeCee style Glossy Screens- check
    X-Serve killed- check
    OS X Lion dumbed down for PeeCee Switchers- check
    No real OS X Lion Server- check
    iMoviePro X Vista Edition- check
    iPhotoPro X Vista Edition- check
    QuickTime X Vista Edition- check
    2012 Mac “Pro” with no USB 3, BT 4 or Thunderturd- check

    It’s all nice stuff- just not Pro stuff. No amount of PR from Cupertino is going to change the evidence that Apple is a consumer wallet mining company.

    I’m sure Apple will still respect you in the morning.

    1. Excellent list of proof that Steve was dead serious when he announced that Apple was a mobile device company. No longer interested in the market for pro level machines or software to run on them.

      1. Which is fine if Apple wants to cede Hollywood and the various creative and publishing industries to Windows by 2015.

        No competition from Apple on the pro software side means Adobe and others won’t care enough to put the effort into keeping Mac versions of their software up to date. Eventually inertia runs out and people will switch to the only remaining platform able to run their pro software.

        Apple abandoning the pro market is a possible signal they’re becoming no better than many companies–focused on the short term and thinking by percentages, not absolute money…

        e.g. if Apple’s pro hardware and software only pulls in say $50 million of revenue and costs $20M in R&D, manufacturing, etc, that’s “only” $30M in profit compared to several billion overall… but in absolute terms that’s more profit that many pro-oriented companies pull in across all product lines. There’s no reason Apple couldn’t keep departments focused on pro offerings.

        1. Apple abandoning the pro market is a possible signal they’re becoming no better than many companies–focused on the short term and thinking by percentages, not absolute money…

          It could also reflect a company focused on long-term vision of the future and not percentages. You choose to see the glass half-empty.

  7. Scott Bourne is a blowhard. Use whatever tools you like. Final Cut X has changed the way we work. It gets better with every update.
    Aperture and Lightroom one up each other every time there is a release. Get over it. Or, distribute your work on VHS.

    1. Yea. Apple rules and never makes a mistake!

      Just look at the Newton! eWorld! Performa’s! ADC monitors! The list goes on and on. Now lay off Apple so they can finnish emptying my wallet for the new iOS whatever.

      Seriously though, for the money of an outdated MacPro I could have way more advanced hardware from any number of other vendors. Yes, it won’t have OS X and that sucks big but it would be a modern machine for a Pro user.

      See. It’s not so easy to dismiss these things when you have Thousands invested in a Pro user environment that need to be up to date to compete. We are Mac users, thats why we are here reading MDN but to blow us off because you want to blindly defend Apple is nuts.

      Just try and consider the needs and designers of others before lumping all of us in to the cry baby pile.

      1. I happen to agree that there is no reason for Apple not to have updated the Mac Pro by now, particularly with Thunderbolt. It wouldn’t even have to do a major case revision, just new innards. would satisfy most MacPro users.

  8. That’s Apple’s Achilles heel, if the white hot light of the CEO is not pointed at you, all the lame middle managers and various VP’s will do NOTHING until they have to.

    So, everything will languish until the top dogs show interest. It sucks for the pro market, since they are not the revenue kings that iOS is.

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