No one orchestrates surprise better than Apple.
The fever of excitement surrounding the launch of a new Apple product is the envy of every other consumer company in the world. Rumors, gossip, and eager anticipation create a potent mix for marketing.
But professional users are different. The shattering echoes from the death of Final Cut Server and Final Cut Studio (3) last summer are still reverberating throughout the industry.
The unnecessary, and unheralded, death of both these products killed businesses overnight, destroyed relationships, and alienated an industry. It wasn’t Final Cut Pro X that a caused the outcry, it was what died in its birth.
Professionals are not consumers – we are running companies, meeting payroll, and creating products using Apple tools.
THE CASE OF THE MACPRO TOWER
Two months ago, Lou Borella sent me an email asking if I had any insight on the MacPro. I told him that I had just had a meeting with Apple where I asked them that question and they declined to answer. (This is not surprising because, as we all know, Apple does not comment on unannounced products.)
Lou told me he was going to start a Facebook petition to ask Apple to clarify its plans for the MacPro. This is Apple’s last remaining tower computer and a daily workhorse throughout the creative world. I told him that he could do what he wanted, but that Apple does not pay attention to petitions or respond to discussion groups on social media.
Still, he set up the page – https://www.facebook.com/MacProsPlease - and I tweeted about it.
This last week, he caught the eye of Gizmodo – along with other Mac rumor sites – and his page exploded. More than 7,000 likes as I write this and adding more every minute.
There are two ways to view this: as a forlorn attempt to get Apple’s attention, or as a way to show that the MacPro is still relevant in today’s mobile society. This could go either way.
Apple locks its hardware plans LONG before any product is announced. The decision on the future life, if any, of the MacPro was made, probably, last year. Most likely, earlier than that. So, Apple already knows what it intends to do.
For those of us running businesses using a hardware tool that can not be sourced from any other vendor, it would be very, very helpful to know if it has a future life.
Here’s my thought: Apple hasn’t upgraded the MacPro since 2010 because it feels the market for it is too small. Combine that with Apple’s philosophy that it doesn’t pre-announce products and you have a perfect stew of insecurity for creative types.
But Apple’s philosophy doesn’t prohibit it from pre-announcing the death of a product. If sales are already so low as to not justify upgrading the MacPro, then there is no significant harm to Apple’s business to saying that the MacPro will be “End of Lifed” by such-and-such a date.
Conversely, if the market for the MacPro is large enough to justify updating it, there is no harm in announcing that the MacPro will be updated by such-and-such a quarter because the MacPro market is far smaller than any other computer hardware segment that Apple serves. Neither announcement would have any significant financial impact on Apple, but would be a SIGNIFICANT benefit to creative professionals planning their hardware purchases.
APPLE WANTS TO KEEP US INFORMED
In my recent meetings with Apple, just before NAB last April, they told me that they wanted to give creative professionals a heads-up with where they were going with Final Cut Pro X. This was why they were having on-the-record meetings and sharing up-coming features with me. (You can read my entire report of that meeting here.)
Keeping us informed is a GREAT idea!!!
I sent an email to my contacts at Apple to see if they want to comment on this. I’ll let you know if I learn anything.
It has been obvious for the last couple of years that creative professionals no longer make up the bulk of Apple’s business – and that’s fine with me, I wish Apple every success. But because we are responsible for creating the content that Apple displays so wonderfully on all its consumer devices, it would be really helpful if Apple could share with us an outline of their future hardware plans for those tools that consumers will never buy and professionals can’t live without.
I mean, can you imagine what it would be like creating movies for an iPad on a Windows system?
Let me know what you think.
P.S. If you want to stay informed on what I learn from Apple, as well as the world of audio and video, please subscribe to my free, weekly newsletter: www.larryjordan.biz/newsletter/