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Is Apple Pushing Away Professionals? 556

Barence writes "Is Apple turning its back on professional users to focus on consumers? That's the argument in this article, which claims Apple is alienating the creative professionals who have supported the company for 20 years or more. Fury over the dumbing down of Final Cut Pro, Apple's refusal to sell non-glossy screens and poor value hardware is fueling anger from professional Mac users. 'People will get hacked off. I'm only Apple because I want the OS, but if I could come up with a 'Hackintosh' with OS X, I'd be so happy,' claims one audio professional."
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Is Apple Pushing Away Professionals?

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  • by Keruo ( 771880 )
    I dont think engineers and such have ever been target customers for Apple.
    But if you mean image/video field workers as professionals, then you probably are right.
    Apple product lines are just following the industry trend of consumerism and becoming more targeted for home users, rather than enterprises(for which they never were targetting to begin with).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In the world of Apple the apparent definition of professional is someone who "liked Apple before it was cool." Now they are just ticked off by the whole "consumer" and "enthusiastic" aspects of using Apple products.
    • Well, to be honest the sole argument for using macs in the first place was that their processors tended to be extremely well suited towards handling graphics intensive operations, wasn't it? That benefit would have disappeared when they moved from their power- and g- series processors over to the intel based systems. Or am I wrong? Not really an apple fanboi, I prefer using actual BSD.
    • I'm not a professional at all but an amateur who has used Apple professional tools for music. I was also excited about Final Cut Pro X since I also like to create shorts and wring every last bit of power from iMovie.

      I read the message boards to see what was going on with the different tools and--personal opinion--some professionals aren't very. First, as a professional you constantly evaluate your workflows and tools to deliver your end product. I get that some people do not want to change what works, bu

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Exactly. Pros are a tiny minority of their customers.

    • I dont think engineers and such have ever been target customers for Apple. But if you mean image/video field workers as professionals, then you probably are right. Apple product lines are just following the industry trend of consumerism and becoming more targeted for home users, rather than enterprises(for which they never were targetting to begin with).

      The only "professional" I've ever associated with Apple products was in the image/video arena. Used to be, if you were "serious" about making a living doing graphical and video work you had an apple workstation and used photoshop and final cut.

      So, is Apple pushing them away? Maybe. I think TFA might be a little flamebait-ish tho. Apple has made some decisions that might be pushing away the pros, but I don't think their decision was to push away the pros. Follow what I'm sayin?

    • if I could come up with a 'Hackintosh' with OS X, I'd be so happy,' claims one audio professional."

      Why the Hell would an audio professional complain? He has no valid grievance against Apple. Video pros, I understand their angst. But what did Apple ever do to wrong the audio pro? Mac OS X and the Mac it runs on is the least expensive and most versitile and essential tool in the audio pro's studio! Now... the audio pro might be pissy at Digidesign for one reason or another. But if they're upset about something in Logic... I suggest they try Ardour.

  • Only glossy screens? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Saturday October 15, 2011 @11:48AM (#37724068)

    You can buy a macbook pro with an "antiglare" [] screen.

    • Which is where anti-glare is the most popular. Glossy makes some sense on laptops because you get better light transmission which means more brightness with less battery. Ok fine. However on a desktop screen, that's not an issue. You have more backlight than you need. Only real reason to go glossy is on cheap displays it is cheaper to do right. Well again, not an issue here, mac displays are high end. However they aren't just glossy, they are monkey-fuck retarded glossy because they have a glass cover.


      • Actually, glossy doesn't improve the brightness at all. It improves contrast, by allowing deeper blacks. Matte gathers light from all angles and scatters it, making black areas slightly gray. Glossy screens reflect it without scattering. Most of the time that means it's reflected away from where you are, but when the light is behind you, you get a bright, sharp reflection which conceals information more than matte screens' even gray reflection.

        Glossy is actually best used on desktops where you don't hav

  • Apple has always been more of a consumer company, but it did provide some top notch Pro tools in the A/V field. From TFA, it seems they are abandoning that top-tier niche with lesser tools. Can't Apple have a division that works only on top-notch pro tools? I'm an Apple guy (I like it, I have no special needs for Windows only software), but if Apple doesn't reverse a trend of alienating a group (albeit a small group) of previously staunch supporters, could this be a first step to Apple losing what profes

    • Apple has always been more of a consumer company, but it did provide some top notch Pro tools in the A/V field. From TFA, it seems they are abandoning that top-tier niche with lesser tools. Can't Apple have a division that works only on top-notch pro tools? I'm an Apple guy (I like it, I have no special needs for Windows only software), but if Apple doesn't reverse a trend of alienating a group (albeit a small group) of previously staunch supporters, could this be a first step to Apple losing what professional footprint it does have?

      I think it comes down to how much money each group makes - does a selection of lesser-featured apps that covers usage from the mid-range amateur to the mid-range professional bring in more profit than two different selections of apps (and two development teams) each targeted to the amateur/consumer and the professional?

      Does having two different products on the market make sense when the high end one is significant amounts of money and not bought in huge quantities?

      I don't know Apples sales figures for Final

      • Re:Don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @12:22PM (#37724328) Journal
        I suspect that certain characteristics of the "Professional" market(notably the ones where it overlaps most strongly with the "IT" market) are a poor fit for Apple, so they will, indeed, be very temped to ditch them as time goes on.

        The high end of the "Pro" market is touchy because they tend to depend on fairly large tangles of interconnected products: If asked "what do you use?" they might say "Final Cut"; but they actually mean "Final cut, two dozen specialized plugins, one or more boutique hardware components for capture or output, some sort of storage backend, possibly some in-house custom tools...".

        One of Apple's strengths, particularly of late, has bee their ability(and willingness) to just pick up and say "fuck everybody who thinks some legacy feature/interface/API is good enough. As of today, it is the new shiny or nothing!"(see ADB, Adobe/64-bit Carbon, Final Cut Pro, etc.). Combined with some good taste, this has worked very well in the consumer and low-end "prosumer" markets. By largely ignoring legacy issues and expecting people to keep up or suck it up, they've been able to maintain a pretty aggressive release schedule for new and interesting features with a comparatively small engineering team. However, that is absolutely incompatible with the requirements of more esoteric professional environments(along with institutional IT, their less colorful but considerably larger counterparts). You just can't keep a spaghetti ecosystem of critical 3rd party hardware and software moving that fast, at least not at a price anybody is willing to pay.(Even fairly basic things, like supporting pro-level video cards, can be pretty dire, despite the fact that Mac Pro is more PC-like than it has ever been. The default options suck to an almost comical degree, and driver support for anything else is atrocious.)

        For consumer and prosumer requirements, where it is much more likely that the integrated hardware and a small number of common software packages are enough, Apple's approach works just fine. It seems unlikely, though, that they can reconcile that with the requirements of the more specialized users. And, now that they have a big, lucrative, consumer market, their incentive to try isn't what it once might have been.
    • it seems they are abandoning that top-tier niche with lesser tools.

      This is not the case; Apple is a company inherently not satisfied with simply building what existed, but in trying to advance the state of the art. So they are willing at times to throw an interface under the bus for something new they consider to be better.

      Yes in FCP a few pro-specific features were left behind, but much of that has been addressed already and they also continued to sell the old FCP for those that want to keep using it unti

      • What you are not seeing is that Apple is trying to change at times what it MEANS to be a professional, how they work...


        That word doesn't mean what Apple thinks it means. For the purposes of this thread, professional is much closer to fuzzyfuzzyfungus' definition of someone who has "Final cut, two dozen specialized plugins, one or more boutique hardware components for capture or output, some sort of storage backend, possibly some in-house custom tools..." then Apple's view of a couple of metrosexuals hammering out some cheezy TV ad at Starbucks. People with a serious workflow that does what THEY want it to

    • I'm an Apple guy (I like it, I have no special needs for Windows only software), but if Apple doesn't reverse a trend of alienating a group (albeit a small group) of previously staunch supporters, could this be a first step to Apple losing what professional footprint it does have?

      I'm a Windows guy, and I've always hated most Apple things I've come into contact with. But I'm also a professional in the video production and broadcast industry... and Final Cut Studio has always been the best A/V production suite in existence. I've used Adobe CS, Vegas, EDIUS, and several I can't remember the names of... Adobe takes second place, but it was still nowhere near as good as Final Cut. Now that Final Cut has been ruined, Apple and I are breaking up for good.

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Saturday October 15, 2011 @11:57AM (#37724126)

    In the past, Apple catered to pros because they were the ones who would spend $10,000 on a Quadra or //fx model. However, since their pricing model has changed, they are best served at catering to Joe/Jane Consumer.

    The only gripe I have is that Apple needs consider the IT market as well, and not just focus on consumers. Right now, Apple is doing well, but the enterprise is not just a huge market, but also is very hungry for Apple products. (As an IT person, oftentimes the top brass of companies will be using Macs as their own laptops. It makes me glad Lion has complete hard disk encryption, although having a TPM chip and BitLocker-like access would be ideal.) Apple could easily get some offerings into the IT sector. A redesigned Mac Pro that could work horizontally and fit on a drawer with attachable rack ears would be a start. A standalone disk array with redundant drive controllers and FCoE would bring them up to date for SMBs needing storage.

    IT is definitely a market that Apple might do well in, although Apple's main success is with consumers.

    • Apple is absolutely clueless in all things enterprise. The fact that board members prefer and get mac's for personal desktops means nothing more than they have the power to get their personal preferences paid for by the company. The idea that Apple could easily get their offerings into the IT sector is laughable at best.

      From imaging new computers with a standard image (PXE, you know the standard everyone in the world except apple uses), to the lack of virtualization (what do you mean I can't load Lion onto

  • Research (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lennier1 ( 264730 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @11:57AM (#37724132)

    Looks like the author has only done some superficial research on some aspects.

    For example, 3ds Max is a Windows-only application, but it's far from the only major application in this sector. For example, LightWave licenses are less expensive, there's a Mac client as well and right now the features it has to offer are running circles around Max. And that's coming from a long-time Max user.
    It's one of the major applications in the business, but far from dominating.

    CAD is mostly done on Windows and *nix, but that's partly for historical reasons (code bas which has grown over decades in some cases).

    Part of the problem is also the specialized hardware support on the Mac platform. You just can't expect an overpriced two year old entertainment graphics card to beat the results professional graphics software will achieve on a Quadro/Fire with optimized drivers and certified compatibility. That's like expecting an AMC Gremlin to beat a well-tuned Formula 1 racer.

    • Thing is 3D Studio Max did have a macintosh OS 9 version back before they were purchased by Autodesk. (I believe the last version of 3D studio max for Mac was 3.5 iirc). Lightwave still has an OSX version as does Maya (which is owned by Autodesk as well now). But there's been some rumblings that Maya's support for Mac maybe discontinued in the near future. (Which I think would have more to do with Autodesk)

      Maya has really eclipsed Lightwave in recent years, especially for Film work. Lightwave has alway

  • by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @12:00PM (#37724154)

    At least microsoft targets business users as well.

    However, if this trend continues, and other companies follow Apple in targeting the average Joe, then I foresee a sad future, where devices are locked down, professionals pay big bucks to get the tools they need, and universities and open source developers can't get hardware they can freely develop on.

    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      I don't, really. The tools we have today are good enough most professionals. If the latest version of your OS of choice doesn't work with your tools... why the hell would you upgrade?

      Photo editing, drawing, video editing... has anything really revolutionary come up in software for these things in the last few years? Can you envision any improvement that would cause people to switch over to a locked-down system?

      Basically, there's almost nothing we'd need to do now that we can't already do on stuff like Windo

  • I thought pros like the better color accuracy of the glossy screens?

    • Re:color (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @01:04PM (#37724576)

      Glossy screens do not make color accurate.

      Working in a color managed environment with color aware applications is what does. That means using calibration devices to measure all the color output of your devices, printers monitors etc... and creating color profiles.

      Glossy screens can make blacks look deeper, but also have a lot of glare and reflection. Pros arent looking for deeper blacks, they're looking for accurate blacks and color temperature. A monitor that puts out a good wide color gamut, that fits into the adobe rgb color space.

      Most monitors are too bright actually for accurate color representation.

    • I was skeptical of the glossy screen when I got my last MacBook Pro, so I figured I'd try a little real work at the Apple Store before buying it. Within minutes I found that I had to bob my head up, down, left, and right to see around spots of screen glare that obscured content and controls. That seems a ridiculous trade-off to me.

      I know that in your home you can set things up so that there is no screen glare. Does anyone really stay that static any more? I take my laptop all over the place and use it in di

  • Offering it all.

    To that end I expect to see Macs continually improve in running VM and native OSs other than Mac OS X.

    The more options you offer, the more customers you drag in & ...

  • Obviously Apple are taking further steps to commoditize the software on their platform in order to increase the price of their hardware. The App store was just the first step.
  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @12:19PM (#37724302) Homepage Journal

    First off Apple still offers anti-glare displays as an option on ALL their MacBook Pros. So the rant about not offering matte displays is completely off base. In fact, I'm writing this post on a later model Macbook Pro with an antiglare screen and a quick glance at the store shows this option still available.

    The real ire is the SOFTWARE, namely the utter fiasco that is Final Cut Pro X. But this is a well known issue and Apple has tried to smooth things over a bit by letting people DOWNGRADE to the last version. So it seems that Apple is well aware of how badly it messed things up and being that Final Cut has been a huge success until now, it only stands to reason that Apple will not make the same mistake twice and will release a new version that addresses their user's concerns. And while that is mere speculation, seeing how much money FCP has brought in and how much hardware it has ended up selling for Apple, it stands to reason that they will not idly stand by while their egg laying goose dies a painful death at the hands of an angered user base.

    Also, Apple is more reliant upon developers now than ever. Those trendy consumer gadgets such as iPhone and iPad require a strong developer base, and it requires those developers to develop within OS X and with Apple Tools, even Flash Builder and Titanium require XCode to do the compiling. So to drive away your development community would also make no sense since that would only boost rivals creating apps for other products such as Android phones and tablets.

    Apple is trying to normalize the look and feel of it's two operating systems iOS and OS X to make them not only easier to use for the consumer but easier to develop for for the developers. OS X Lion, while causing ire for it's sweeping UI changes now features a lot of the same features as iOS -- which from a UI development standpoint simplifies the development process.

    So in the end, time will heal these wounds. Give it a few more months and see what the upcoming release of FCP has to offer it's core user base as well as how iCloud and iOS5 reshape how users and developers interoperate with OS X and iOS based devices. I think then a lot of these changes will make sense and some of the shock at these changes and the handful of missteps will die off.

  • Certainly not focusing for some time now, so eventually a few things are left behind. Businesses tend to look at it more rationally, what productivity increases do we get - which translates fairly directly to dollars, compared to the costs. Consumers generally don't have any tangible productivity or revenue, it's more a matter of disposable income and what they like. It's like trying to compare the army and a regular person buying a sweater. The army will look at technical things like thermal properties, du

  • Macs are no longer limited to graphics artists and web designers. While that market may not be what it was for Apple it's being more than made up for in other areas. I'm a Data Center Architect and use nothing but Macs. Cisco, EMC, and VMware now offer Macs as standard offerings for their SEs and field people and last I heard Cisco had gone 30% Mac in just a few months. It's rare I'm in a meeting with those guys where Mac is not the majority.

    Pushing away professionals? Hardly. Nice link bait.

  • Apple was supporting IT with their XServes, and they worked with a company called Aqua Connect [] in developing a terminal server which works under OS X. Then they killed the XServe, and tried to send people to Mac Pros, not really designed for racks.

    Dumbing down the UI is not always a sign that you are killing professionals, but making it lower learning curve entry.

    What has to be asked is does the new, dumber interface, make the work more difficult or is it just bitching because the interface is different

    • The market for the XServe just wasn't working out for Apple (and never has, though they've tried more than once in their history), so they killed it. But that's a different sort of professional than the "creative" professionals which they have historically done well with. Far as I can tell they haven't been abandoning them, they just screwed up with Final Cut.

  • by torako ( 532270 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @12:42PM (#37724434) Homepage

    I'm a research scientist at particle physics institute and my anecdotal experience is the opposite: Nowadays, it seems like at least 3/4 of the laptops I see at conferences are Apple laptops (plus a growing amount of iPads). The desktops at my institute are either Linux or OS X.

    OS X is a great environment to use LaTeX in, make presentations (Keynote + LaTeXit for equations is awesome), code scientific software or run apps like Mathematica or Matlab.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ajfa944 ( 2485878 )
      As another research scientist at a major US lab, I can't agree with this more. Scientists and academics adopted macs over the last 6 years for these main reasons:
      - bash unix environment
      - good user interface, better for personal use than Linux variants
      - laptops had state-of-art hardware (though, not so much anymore) and excellent battery life (still the case)
      - academic discounts

      Of these, the bash unix environment is by far the most important for scientists. This means that they can write a program or
  • Someone once explained to me, that sales in enterprise IT are considered collateral success by Apple.

  • []

    read post 6

    what a joke.

    Apple needs mac os sever for any VM

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @01:11PM (#37724626)

    The mac pro is about $1000 - $1500 over priced as it is and only 3gb ram at $2500?

    The mini is ok but it should be a little bigger for better cooling / easier to get to hdd are the 2 big things also bigger will give it room for desktop cpus / better video chips/ more ram slots.

    Base mini with 5400 RPM HDD's?

    The sever mini has quad and 2 hdd's but why do have to pay for sever and a 2th HDD just to get quad? and they it has Intel video but the mini other that has a low end ati chip but no quad (best is a Core i7 dual)

    Also a mid tower at $800-$900? $1000-$1500 with desktop cpu quad core or better with at least 2-3 pci-e slots 1 X16 dual wide for video card and maybe 1-2 x4 or x1 slots. 4 ram slots or 6 ram slots (if useing higher end i7's) 2 or more HDD bays, DVDRW or a bay for 1 also 1 or 2 TB ports.

    Maybe have have on board video with the base system having no video card.

    The mac pro can be the dual cpu (dual quad or better) 4 slot (at least all x16 or x8) system with 4 or more HDD bays. With the room for 12 or more ram slots.

    Maybe even room for dual high end video cards.

    The imac are ok but can we get a way to get to the HDD with out having to take the screen off?

    Have the Xserve come back or let mac os sever run on any hardware in a VM.

  • by Richard_J_N ( 631241 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @01:38PM (#37724752)

    Apple has already been highly successful in alienating all the geeks (I include myself in this) and pushing them over to android (and to developing for it, and recommending it to their friends). Policy decisions which drive the "love the product; hate the company" would include:
        - constant lockdown of iDevices. (yes, we understand that jailbreaking should only be for the techies, should be warranty-voiding, and should not be easy for
            "grandma" to do by accident and then get upset about the consequences, but if we really want to, we should be able to).
      - making it so hard for iPods to work on Linux - why can't they help out the libgpod devels by publishing specs.
      - support for patents in general, and litigating against the competition rather than competing fairly. Also, DRM (though they've now mostly learnt that lesson).
      - iTunes not working on Linux (or under Wine).
      - not giving back as much as they take. Yes, Darwin is BSD, so it's legal, but it's really not cool to give back so little.
      - killing off the "hacker" culture that they began with. Apple's hardware is really hard to tinker with: of course some of this is just because it's harder to experiment with a BGA A4 CPU than a DIL socketed 68k, but at least making parts available to hobbyists, and not suing them, would be a good start!

    Finally, a personal gripe: Apple have lead the industry into making sure that only shortscreen-LCDs are available on any new hardware. I want 16:12 aspect, not 16:9 (and no doubt soon to be 16:8) !

    • over to android ... lol come now

      The android market is fantastic if you are wanting to distribute software. If you are wanting to get paid for writing software, well good luck with that.

  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @03:35PM (#37725540) Homepage

    Apple is not the same company it was even in the 1990s. Yes, it's more profitable. Yes, they have a wider range of products.

    No, they are not a computing company. I've made this argument here recently, and people argue the nitty points without looking at the broader picture.

    Apple does not produce a server platform (hardware + software). This right here should be telling: they make consumer products, not production products. Even their "Server" OS is quite lacking.

    Apple has been short-changing developers on their platform for some time, both with their developer programs for App Store and how they've made fairly drastic API changes without giving the bigger shops a forewarning.

    Every single one of Apple's products in the past 10 years has been a reductionism - a move towards minimalism. This is contrary to what a professional wants. Professionals need more, better tools, not fewer.

    Apple's consumer 'media players' intentionally lack features audio and video professionals would like, such as the ability to do what the Sony Discman could do 10 years ago (record high quality lossless audio). Playback quality is also significantly lacking.

    The distinction is nuanced, but there is a distinction. Apple doesn't really give half a shit to the nuanced or professional user. Many graphics professionals abandoned Apple a long time ago due to dick moves they pulled that made things difficult for eg. Adobe to continue producing software or for graphics artists to work effectively with the platform (threading, multiprocessing, etc.).

    Anyone who thinks Apple is still a "computing" company and not a "consumer electronic device" company needs to pay better attention. Apple has not done a single innovative thing in the world of computing for quite some time. Marketing, sales, and consumer products? Absolutely - they're incredible. But don't expect them to be the same company they were for professional needs in even the late 90s.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun