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.