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Media Software Upgrades Apple

Is Final Cut Pro X Apple's Biggest Mistake In Years? 443

Hugh Pickens writes "The latest version of Final Cut Pro, the widely used tool in the professional video editing world, was getting a reputation as the app that launched a thousand complaints, as the 955 reviewers and raters on iTunes collectively rated FCP as, 'Two and a half stars.' 45% of reviewers gave the software one star, the lowest rating possible, bestowing on the program the dubious honor of being the lowest-rated Apple software hosted by the company's digital store. Many complaints center around lost features. We used to be able to do this, and now we can't. You can't work with existing FCP Suite projects. There's no external video monitoring, no EDL imports, no backup application disk so good luck re-installing the software on the road without a good internet connection, and lots of unanswered questions about site licensing."
Pickens continues: "'This was the product that completely built my company starting in 2000 / 2001 and now it's time for me to say goodbye,' writes Walter Biscardi. 'As I tell everyone else, if the tool isn't working for you, then find a tool that does.' But is this negative response just a very short-term response from editors who have gotten used to doing things the old way and don't want to change? Clearly, there are some amazing new features in FCP X. The 64-bit architecture means much better performance. The new tools such as the magnetic timeline, clip connections, compound clips, and audition seem like intuitive, great features. 'Great design, like great music, is almost always foreign at first, if not disturbingly strange,' writes David Leitner. 'You have to spend time with it. But if it is great, and if you invest your attention, it will change the way you look at the world.'"
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Is Final Cut Pro X Apple's Biggest Mistake In Years?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:20PM (#36571710)

    I have been using Final Cut Pro since version 1.0 on projects large and small, and I have been an Apple certified instructor for about 6 years. Take that at face value.

    I to am upset at some of the missing features in FCPX, but you know what? It's a 1.0 product. It is amazing for 80% of editors, maybe 90%, and I do believe the missing features will eventually be addressed. No one in their right mind would switch platforms in the middle of a project, stick with FCP7 if its still working for you, and let FCPX mature and blossom in its time.

    At the risk of being the 20th person to paraphrase Henry Ford, "If you asked people what they wanted, they'd say they wanted a faster horse". Apple is consistently brave for throwing in the towel and starting froms scratch when it is necessary. 90% of people DONT need multicam, DONT need XML, and DONT even need tape any more.

    Lest you think I'm all about roses and puppies, here is where Apple F@#$ed up, big time: The day that FCPX was released, they completely wiped out any evidence of Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Server. So if you DO want to stick with Studio until FCPX is mature, like any sane person would, you are seriously screwed.

    Need to expand your editing suite? Too bad, you can't buy any more licenses. Need to replace a missing license? Too bad, you cant. Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Server don't exist any more. I needed to download the 1.5.2 patch to final cut studio the other day, and you know what? I couldn't. The download link went to FCPX's web page. That is INSANE!

    What kind of company proclaims to support the professional and corporate world, puts out a product, gives you no hint of the upgrade lifecycle, and then yanks any and all evidence on a Tuesday with no notice whatsoever? I work with large businesses and universities, installing Final Cut Server installations. These companies can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and months preparing for a roll out, and all the while Apple is happy to sell them products, knowing in the back of their mind that they're going to pull support before long. Who does that? Scam artists do that.

    Apple was never all that corporate-friendly in the past, but this move is downright evil. There's no way I can recommend Apple's products to corporate clients now, for fear they could do this again. At least with Shake, they gave a warning, they kept selling it for awhile, and they released the source code so developers could continue supporting it. They didn't wipe out any trace of it on their site. I couldn't even buy a final cut pro KEYBOARD, from a totally different manufacturer, on the online store. The buy link was erased. That is some Orwellian shit right there.

    Microsoft has a history of buying companies with promising technology, getting you locked in, then charging and arm & a leg. Apple buys up companies with promising technology, lowers the price, gets you hooked, then kills it off and leaves you hanging.

  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:36PM (#36571818)

    They should have forked the product. The old branch is clearly different than the new branch, but they're said to be the same product, and while close, there are lot of people making money with FCP that are really disturbed.

    Were Apple to have forked the product, none of the difference in expectations would have happened. Altering expectations isn't what Apple normally does, so this is quizzical. It's strange behavior for Apple, and I think they realize this now.

    This is so much different than a death-grip antenna issue, that Apple should have been wayyyyy on top of this long ago. Not like them.

  • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:43PM (#36571876)

    I use everything under the sun. But professionals would be foolish *TO* use this one in their toolbox. Why? Because you can't use it WITH ANY OTHER TOOL.

    I've bent over backwards before to integrate some nifty little tool into my kit. But FCP X is overtly attempting to be incompatible with everything else. It isn't even compatible with FCP.

    Stand alone, walled gardens are great if you can do everything in the garden. But professionals have to collaborate with lots of other tools, workflows, clients, hardware and applications. If you're editing in FCP 7 and the color or sound tools are insufficient you can just export your project and finish in another app. If you get stuck and FCP-X doesn't cut it-- you're stuck with data you can't get out and finish on something else.

    Add to that its new media management system which is antagonistic to the standard SAN/Shared Drive workflow and you're left with an application which doesn't want to play nice with other computers or even copies of itself.

    When there are other superior and ready competitors who don't make you guess when and if they'll support your work available TODAY you would be a fool to not switch to the ready and willing competitors.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:46PM (#36571898)

    The main problem these days is that so-called "designers" are calling many of the shots, rather than actual software developers.

    This is a pretty radical departure from the past few decades, where we've seen it mostly be the opposite situation. Software developers would make the decisions, but would occasionally enlist the help of graphics and UI designers to tweak the UI's appearance or for suggestions about improving the UI's usability.

    These days, however, we're seeing the "designers" deciding how UIs, and even the software as a whole, are to behave, from beginning to end. The software developer is there to merely implement whatever the "designer" wants, without any ability or power to make decisions themselves.

    The problem arises because software developers and "designers" have very different focuses. Software developers want to create applications that work well, and are effective to use, even if they might not be very pretty. "Designers" tend to only care about appearances, even if the application isn't very usable. And they only keep themselves relevant by changing, often needlessly, the appearance of the application or web site on a frequent basis.

    This is exactly what we've seen from each organization and group that you mentioned. Apple, for example, was originally founded by software and hardware developers. The UI didn't look horrible, but it was usable and that's why Apple systems became popular initially. After their rough patch, and the acquisition of NeXT's technology and talent, we saw them focused on providing high-end, high-quality software and hardware where usability was key. Then the iPod/iPhone/iPad situation arose, and the emphasis shifted more towards "design". Now more emphasis seems to be on making the software look "trendy" and "hip", rather than working well.

    The same goes for Mozilla. We've seen nothing but one pathetic Firefox UI redesign after another from them lately. These unnecessary redesigns are only disruptive, and haven't been beneficial. Now the developers have been distracted for a long time making these changes, rather than fixing the performance problems or memory leaks that plague Firefox. Users suffer not only from the bad UI changes, but they also suffer from the lack of real progress when it comes to fixing these serious problems.

    It's time for software developers to make the decisions, rather than "designers". The priorities and concerns of the software developers are much better aligned with those of the actual users. The applications may not look as pretty, but that's easily ignored if they work well.

  • by Paska ( 801395 ) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:50PM (#36571926) Homepage

    Mistake would be the understatement of the year. Apple f*%ked up royally on this one.

    We manage two prestige advertising firms, one in Canberra and another down in Melbourne and the complaints are flowing, loud, and spitting from the mouth. But what's worse is, our customers are 100% right and they ain't shit all we can do.

    The balls is deep in Apple's court on this one, and unlike the failed Xserve. The high-end video market is an area they do not want to drop the ball on, this industry laps up Apple hardware, is glued to the Apple suite and these guys pay up *big* bucks for managed services from Apple directly, the resellers and support vendors.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 25, 2011 @08:44PM (#36572718) Journal

    Because Apple has pulled the software from the shelves

    This is one area where the difference between MSFT and Apple is pretty jarring. MSFT will sell you shit for fricking ages as long as folks are buying, hell they quit selling licenses to Win 3.1 embedded in what....2005? Whereas Apple decides "You WILL use the new hotness, you dirty heathen!" and that is that.

    Frankly I see this as Apple quietly killing off their pro creative dept, since what they released can in no way be called pro. Looking at the screen caps and what they've omitted the new FCP is more an updated iMovie than a professional video editing suite. Personally I believe the long term roadmap involves Apple pulling out of the creative market and becoming strictly a consumer electronics company.

    Apple has never seemed to like products that are only mildly successful, they want huge success or nothing. So I believe in less than 5 years OSX will be out and iOS will be in, most likely on a range of devices where once Mac OSX reined, such as desktops and laptops. This will also fit in with Apple's control issues as I'm sure Steve wasn't happy to have to use older Intel chips because Intel decided to screw over Nvidia, and with ARM Steve controls the whole stack, from the design and features of the chips to the software that runs on them.

    So I truly believe this is just the beginning, I believe the long term roadmap (which Apple is notorious for not sharing, another reason for businesses not to use Apple products for mission critical roles) is a complete exit from the professional markets and Apple becoming a pure consumer electronics business. This will kill their problem with bugs since everything will go through the app store, give them complete control of the stack, and as we have seen with the touch and iPad will also make them another mountain or two of money. Software developers will be given software which runs on Windows for doing the actual work, and Apple will sit back and enjoy the huge waves of money headed their way.

We declare the names of all variables and functions. Yet the Tao has no type specifier.