June 8, 2010

The iPhone 4 Does Not "Change Everything Again"

I was at a rental house checking out $500k of video equipment (not for my own project -- I wish) when Apple announced the iPhone 4 yesterday, so I forgot it was the day I was supposed to figure out whether my next editing machine was going to be a Mac or a Hac. When I got back home, however, I saw 30 billion posts on the internet about the iPhone -- a platform for interacting and consuming -- and nothing about the Mac -- a platform for creating.

The current-generation Mac Pro has gone the longest it's ever gone without an update (inclusive of its ancestor the Power Mac). I've already talked about filmmakers switching to PCs this year because of Adobe CS5 -- or at least switching from Apple to Adobe software -- so I was pretty certain Apple would announce new products for those of us that make a living using Mac hardware. You know, tools for making stuff, instead of tools for buying music and taking photos of babies (not that there's anything wrong with that). Gizmodo pegged the likelihood of a new Mac Pro at 80%, but instead WWDC focused entirely on the iPhone.

When it comes to the new iteration of the Jesus Phone, other than the usual upgrades (thinner, faster, higher-res), there were a few notable general features -- resolution independence, pseudo-multitasking, three-axis accelerometer -- as well as a few notable video features. Specifically:

And then of course there's FaceTime, which I think of as being less relevant for filmmakers and more relevant for meeting people. In fact, in my opinion the killer app for front-facing cameras is mobile dating. Specifically the Chat Roulette kind -- where you simply click one button to see the next person -- except with geolocation. Instead of clicking "next" and getting someone thousands of miles away, you'll get someone in a 20-mile radius. If you don't "next" them, you can chat for a while and say, "wanna meet?" No filling out profiles and answering lots of questions. Just see if you get along with someone by talking face to face and then go from there (sounds old-fashioned, doesn't it?).

Anyway, perhaps due to my disappointment with no new Mac hardware, ((Or because of my growing fondness for Google's open devices...)) I viewed the Apple hype machine with more skepticism than I normally do. If you're not already sick of hearing about it, here's Apple's extended iPhone ad:


Apple's getting a bit hyperbolic, even by its own standards. When they announced the iPad they called it "magical and revolutionary." It's a big iPhone, guys -- one term will do. The iPhone 4 video above ends with the following statement: "The Retina display. 5-megapixel camera. High-def video recording. A4 chip. Bigger battery. All in a thinner product? This is going to change everything. All over again." Wait, how does that change everything? Universal health care would change a lot of things. Getting clean drinking water to the one billion people in this world that don't have it would change a lot of things. On the tech side, teleportation or time travel would change everything. But a thinner phone with an extra camera "changes everything?" Give me a break, Steve. Or at least a new Mac.

Your Comment


Ryan, I hear you. Sounds like Apple is so busy trying to get into everyone's hands that they are forgetting the professional content creators that they took years to scoop up with their superior products. Still going to be a long time and a lot of water over the bridge before I can see myself PC though.

June 8, 2010 at 11:20AM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM


One of my associates here in Denver works with some of the software developers with Apple and from the way he describes it, Apple seems to be moving away from having control of the professional video market. Apparently the new version final cut doesn't add too many new features, but the focus is mainly on a more user-friendly environment. This makes sense from a business standpoint, as Apple generates very little with their professional product line in comparison to their media/consumer products.

June 8, 2010 at 12:10PM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM


Apple makes loads of $. It's one of the few companies that does. If their goal is to keep their stock climbing then their goal is radically different from yours. You know money isn't in hardware anymore. They've beaten that horse to death better than anyone else and now will probably wait for tech/gov to catch up. It's strange but I think we are seeing a shift in what Apple will sell in the future. What would you do if you could make $$$$$ by making ads or $ by making hardware. Jobs isn't a film director at Pixar he's the captain of a multibillion dollar ship. At the end of the day he's not going to sacrifice dividends to let the ship sink an inch. I'm not saying this is a good thing but I think it's the truth. Until hardware becomes a priority it's not going to happen. The funny thing is that he seems to actually think Apple is changing the world. And who knows, maybe it is.

June 8, 2010 at 12:14PM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM


Thank you for bring so rational. I agree 100%. as a professional editor I can tell you most places still use avid on pc. A&e went to fcp in a couple bays but scrapped them after a year and switched to new avid dx systems. Nobody misses fcp. These guys make moré money in a day with Ipads than a year from fcp, we are no longer a priority. Bubye.

June 8, 2010 at 2:44PM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM


Although my home computer is a mac and I'll stick with them. I like the mac os much better than windows. And now that davinci resolve is going to be mac only I won't be swithing any time soon.

June 8, 2010 at 2:51PM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM


There are only so many ways you can cut film.

June 8, 2010 at 4:55PM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM


Thanks for the comments, guys. Leon -- agreed, that's why I just might build a PC and run Mac OS on it (to save a few bucks, although I'm not sure it's worth the time...).

Dan -- you know, on the surface, it would seem like FCP is feature-mature. But then look at Adobe with Premiere -- they're adding GPU acceleration to editing, they're adding automatic transcription for speech, they're adding workflow products like Adobe Story... Whether or not these features work as advertised is another issue, but I think it shows that there's still plenty to be done in the NLE arena if you're not too busy cranking out iPhones and iPads.

June 9, 2010 at 11:16AM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM

Ryan Koo

This could of course go one of two ways: Apple have something killer up their sleeves and are waiting to unveil it till the time is exactly right, or they've run out of ideas, and have grown so in love with their own image that they're prepared to risk alienating us to maintain the church of Apple. Personally I think touch screen is fine for browsing but it's crap for functionality and for driving control surfaces. They'd be much better off developing gestural apps using the acceleromater where they take the same intuitive approach to browsing and apply it to driving complicated applications like final cut pro.

June 9, 2010 at 1:08PM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM


CS5 on my Black Mamba


seems faster than CS5 on a Mac

June 18, 2010 at 4:26PM, Edited September 4, 10:26AM


I found your blog site on google and read a couple of your other posts. freezing added you to my personal Google News Reader. Keep up the good work look ahead to reading more from you later in life.

January 7, 2011 at 10:30PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


I love this iphone ! I can't leave without it

May 3, 2011 at 11:01AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM