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Apple Drops NAB, follows Avid's lead for good

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Apple Drops NAB, follows Avid's lead for good

So after dropping NAB once then reappearing, Apple has decided to join Avid and skip the NAB show floor altogether. This is an incredibly disappointing decision for a company that supposedly supports over 800,000+ Final Cut Pro users and countless other pro-apps users.

NAB and IBC are the two shows each year where professionals, such as myself, can get the opportunity to see and try out the equipment and software we're all going to purchase for the coming year. People like myself spend thousands of dollars on these purchases and I have always found NAB to be particularly useful in making those purchasing decisions. No matter how much I read up on all the new releases from companies, there's nothing like actually seeing the product in action, even if it's a prototype.

Now apparently Apple feels they don't need to make the effort to present their products to the very professionals who are supposed to line up and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions, on their products over the next year. This is very disappointing and makes me wonder about Apple's commitment to the professional application market.

The consumer market is doing quite well with the iPod, iPhone and the incredible lineup of iMac and notebook computers (MacBook Air excluded). All of Apple's latest updates and efforts seem targeted more towards this market than the professional market.

Witness the recent 7.4 update to Quicktime that caused incredible havoc to many users of Final Cut Pro and Motion, two flagship pro-app products from Apple. Then Apple rushes out some sort of ProKit update yesterday but doesn't explain what it is supposed to fix, just that all users of Final Cut Pro should install this.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems more and more that software, OS and Quicktime updates are geared more towards iTunes, AppleTV and consumer apps than the Pro Apps. More often than not, these updates cause harm to the pro-apps. Considering I have my entire financial future tied to the un-failing performance of these pro-apps, this is a bit of a concern.

I'm not a consumer who can let a computer crash if an update messes up my quicktime player. I'm not a consumer who can let a computer get unstable if the latest OS update does something to my iTunes player. I'm not a consumer who cares a whit about the thinnest and most overpriced laptop on the planet.

I'm a video and film professional who requires stability and support at all times in order to earn a living. A computer crash can cost me thousands of dollars and lost clients. An unstable system can shut down my facilities for days at a time.

I fully expect companies like Avid and Apple to have a presence at the largest gathering of video and film professionals in the world. Apparently both feel it's not necessary for them any longer. Oh Avid says they will be at the show, but I guess you'll have to know the secret handshake or the code word to locate someone. I'm not sure Apple will have any presence outside of the SuperMeet.

So where does that leave us? Adobe, Autodesk, and Media 100/Boris FX are the three names that I recognize on the exhibit floor list and I am definitely going to check out all of them. They are taking the time and money to show up and I feel it's only right to see what they have to offer. I've always spent so much time at the Apple booth each year, I guess this will give me the opportunity to see what I've been missing.

Media 100 was my tool of choice until 2001 when I switched to FCP and I know they have lost a lot of market share, but it's time to re-visit them. Adobe has come back strong with Premiere on the Mac and from what I gather, it's essentially like FCP only with an incredibly tight integration between the entire Adobe pro line-up. Adobe has a long history with professional apps and support so I will definitely spend some quality time with those folks to really see Premiere again. Autodesk is one company I've never worked with, but they usually have a pretty cool booth, so it'll be fun to see what they have to offer.

As someone who was only weeks away from upgrading two of our workstations to brand new Octo Core Macs, this announcement gives me reason to pause on that decision. I want to make sure I still have solid commitment from Apple to support the Pro-Users out there as much as they want to support the consumers.

I guess NAB just isn't that important to the companies anymore. That's a shame because it's pretty important to this professional earning a living using their equipment.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Feb 7, 2008 at 5:20:43 pmComments (2) apple, nab, final cut pro


Are we reading Apple all wrong?
by walter biscardi

So the forums are lit up with the folks discussing the Apple pull off the show floor and I've joined in the speculation of the recent artlcle that perhaps Apple is shopping around the ProApps. Could Apple be ready to sell off the pro-line and just get out of the video production application altogether?


Are they pulling off one of the most brilliant marketing schemes yet? We're on the show floor, we're off the show floor, we're back on the show floor, and on third thought, we're off the show floor for good. The forums are lit up with discussion about Apple and FCP. Everybody's talking about Apple and NAB two months before the show starts.

Remember last year when the huge rumor leading up to NAB was a so-called "Final Cut Extreme" which was going to be a very fast software / hardware combination ala Avid? Well it never materialized, but what if 2008 is the year for something just like that. Now it wouldn't be an earth shattering announcement because it would probably just be a bundled set-up like many of us are already running today, just sold by Apple under one package. More than likely a beefy MacPro with an AJA card, a beefy graphics card, maybe an X-RAID too. Probably a Cinema Display or two. Again, not earth shattering, but it would be a pretty big announcement all the same if they were to release a full Final Cut Studio System instead of just the software.

Now instead of just being able to saunter up to the booth and check it out, you'll have to seek out the Apple folks, perform the secret handshake ritual, and be one of the lucky few who get to see it. And you'll start posting on the Cow forums about how awesome this thing really is. So you'll drum up support for the Post NAB road-show that Apple will most likely launch where you'll get to see Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Studio in a very well orchestrated presentation.

Just something that struck me this morning as it would not be the first time Apple would send out information that's initially perceived as negative, but turns out it was a bait and switch all along.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.

"Reaching our customers through stores."
by walter biscardi

Ok, ok, ok, I had to follow up my own blog with this quote from Apple's official statement on pulling off the show floor.

"Often there are better ways to reach our customers. The increasing popularity of our retail stores and Web site allows us to directly reach more than 100 million customers around the world in innovative new ways." 

Ok, ok, ok, I want all you professionals out there to go visit the nearest Apple store and get a full on demonstration of Final Cut Studio from the first Apple salesperson you see.   Now in addition to answering questions about the iPhone, iPod, iMac, iLife, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Leopard, we're expecting these sales folks to be able to convince video professionals to purchase Final Cut Studio instead of Avid, Autodesk, Media 100 and Quantel.

Are you kidding me?  That's just not going to happen.  The ONLY way to reach media professionals is at a media professional event where you bring in working media professionals from around the world to demonstrate how your professional product really works.

I love my Apple Store in the Mall of Georgia and there's great folks working there.  But I would never expect them to be able to properly demonstrate all the finer points of the professional applications and Apple really shouldn't either.  The Apple Store is for consumer products and pro's who already know what they need and want to be able to walk in and pick it up.  Asking these fine folks to suddenly become video professionals is just pushing it a bit far.

I really hope Apple ups their budget for the Creative COW because it's going to be one of their greatest sales tools around. 


Walter Biscardi, Jr.

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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