• Apple's "Awesome" New Focus on Video

    Apple is shifting focus on its high-end video post-production suite, according to a new report in AppleInsider. Quoting the inevitable "person with knowledge" of Apple's Apple’s Professional Applications Design Group, the company has decided to start targeting the more advanced non-professional market: the power users referred to as "prosumers." Despite recent layoffs on the Final Cut team, Steve Jobs (in one of his increasingly common personal responses to people who email him) reassured a user that no developers were fired, and that the "next release will be awesome."

    Back in the 90s, Apple had established a niche for itself in fields like graphic design and video editing. The Avid Media Composer was one of the first "non-linear video editing systems" - software/hardware packages that logged and captured video onto a hard drive so that it could be edited and processed, and it was only available on the Macintosh. For a while there, it looked like Macintoshes would be a "boutique" system: much more expensive than Windows-based PCs and largely limited to media and creative professionals. With the coming of the iMac, however, there was a resurgence of the Mac OS platform as a home computer, and in the 21st century more and more Macs have been laptops.

    The Final Cut Pro system is a popular non-linear video editing system that Apple had bought from Macromedia. Randy Ubilios, the designer of Final Cut who had also designed Adobe Premiere, the first popular video editing program for non-professionals, came to Apple and continued its development. More recently, Ubilios moved to redesigning the iVideo program in the iLife suite, making it more user-friendly and streamlined. AppleInsider's information is that Ubilios is back in charge of the Final Cut group, with similar instructions to make that program easier to use.

    When word got out that Apple had fired a bunch of people on the team, a user identified only as "Alex J" wrote Steve Jobs. The MacSoda blog notes that Jobs "answered the three of the four questions that all video enthusiasts have been wondering aimlessly. 1) Does Apple care about Final Cut?, 2) Who were the Final Cut employees who got fired?, 3) Will the next release be any good?" His answers? "We certainly do. Folks who left were in support, not engineering. Next release will be awesome."
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