Microsoft Debates the “Post-PC” Era

John Gruber:

John GruberApple’s post-PC vision isn’t about input devices — mice, keyboards, pens, whatever. It’s about exposed complexity. Tim Carmody argues in a follow-up at The Verge that Apple’s “post-PC” and Microsoft’s “PC-plus” aren’t that far apart. I think that remains to be seen. With the iPad, Apple has eliminated large amounts of complexity. With Windows 8, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft has eliminated complexity, or merely hidden it behind a Metro veneer.

I think the Steve Jobs quote Microsoft should be focused upon far predates this post-PC stuff. Go back to 1997:

“We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose,” Jobs said. “We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. If others are going to help us, that’s great. Because we need all the help we can get. […] The era of setting this up as a competition between Apple and Microsoft is over.”

Swap “Apple” and “Microsoft” and that’s the advice Microsoft needs today.


Final Cut Pro X is Finally Earning the “Pro” Back in the Name

Professional editors everywhere have bewailed Apple’s update of Final Cut Pro since mid 2011. The “X” added stood for “finished,” in a negative sense of the word, for the “most professional” broadcast editors.

I, for one, was not surprised by Apple’s overhaul. Final Cut Pro 7, and other legacy versions of the studio package, were lagging behind my modern editing needs. Apple recognized this, and sees like I have that professional editing today is not what it was ten years ago. Final Cut is now concerned with the present Internet video market. Final Cut’s most-recent legacy version (FCP 7 of 2009) was not.

Mac|Life’s Steve Paris has finally reviewed the most recent improvements with FCP X version 10.0.3. Here are some of his best remarks that professionals need to read and accept:

  • “But Apple is eager to show its customers that just because some features were dropped from the current version doesn’t mean that they’ll never make a comeback. So it got busy and released two fairly substantial updates last year. Now comes the third one, which is the biggest since the program’s launch. Apple’s engineers have tried to meet professional editors’ most pressing needs, which include support for multicamera editing, improved chroma keying, the ability to connect to broadcast monitors, and better import and export options, among others. So how does it all look now?”
  • “It’s not all good news, though. For instance, it’s still impossible to create sequences of any size–you’re limited to a select few standard options. And if you work in green screen a lot, you’ll puzzle at the absence of garbage mattes. However, the list of missing features is dwindling, and it may be time to explore FCPX more seriously, especially if you can migrate your projects. This is the first version that we feel may be worth considering from a professional perspective.”
  • The bottom line. Final Cut Pro X is finally catching up with the wishes of serious video editors, but there’s still a way to go.”

Read his entire review here.

But Steve Paris is still missing a critical point from Apple’s point of view. The developers at Apple’s Final Cut department didn’t blindly introduce Final Cut Pro X. Those guys were looking hard and long at how video production should change to keep up with the media market of the modern world. They were aware that broadcasters had all kinds of accommodation—professional equipment, software, and tools in general that make their editors’ lives easier. The broadcast editor’s market has been saturated. Now, Apple moved its attention to a growing need in an ever-growing market: video production for the Post-PC Era; video for an Internet-centric media culture.

I’m frustrated by the enormous backlash that Final Cut Pro X is still receiving. Professionals that are in broadcasting seem to be giving the it the most grief. I understand their plight, but they should be aware of the future of video media. The Internet is where it’s at. Television is slowly dying, but that death has been accelerating in recent years thanks to widespread acceptance of Internet streaming. We live in the Post-PC Era, and the PC Era arguably was responsible for the first wave of “Post-TV Era.” An older generation of filmmaker is having difficulty accepting the times.

Internet streaming, podcast downloading, and web store downloads are what we filmmakers have to address. And it’s not what is on the horizon any longer. It’s here.

YouTube is evidence of this. The growing social streams are too. Do you think that you’ll hear professional photographers with their own private photo labs moaning and groaning about how Instagram’s services are inferior to their own? How they are being ignored or “mistreated” by the latest digital photo software on the block? Of course not, because they understand that printed photos have already been significantly marginalized. And that marginalization may have some shrinkage to go, as of yet.

My point is the same is true for broadcasters. They need to think like Internet-casters. Then they’ll see that Final Cut Pro X isn’t only close to hitting the target, but Apple nailed what post-TV (post-broadcasting) filmmaking should be like, and with improvements like that of FCP X 10.0.3, we’re seeing Apple’s faithfulness to the professional market.

Am I saying Final Cut Pro X is for everyone? No. I’m not saying that it will meet everyone’s needs, but it is without a doubt ludicrous to say that Final Cut Pro X is undeserving the “Pro” in it’s name. It’s “pro” for a new generation and a fast-growing video media Internet culture. And while FCP has never supported all the features that editors have been looking for, like genuine render farming, it has met the needs of countless professional studios looking for workflows that suited them.

I trust that editors that understand what’s good for their careers will get on the track that is Internet-casting, and stop whining about unsupported, dated technologies. Let Apple lead—no, simply let Apple assist you in going where the culture has already moved.