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Shunned Media Professionals Ask, "O Apple, Where Art Thou?"
Apple hardware was once the standard for video and design professionals. But Apple has abandoned that market, and there's no reason to hope for a change in direction.

I have finally come to the realization that Apple has completely turned its back on media professionals, and the pro market for Apple is dead. I would like to be proved wrong, but it doesn’t seem like the company will develop any new workstations or worthwhile hardware or software for content creators in the near future. Even its new MacBook Pro features a gimmicky Touch Bar that doesn’t add anything new for professionals. Apple hasn’t updated the Mac Pro desktops or iMacs in almost 3 years, and it is selling antiquated products at full retail prices. Some users are clinging to the hope that the next Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2017 will bring the launch of the new Mac Pro. Realistically, I see nothing on the horizon to sustain such hope.

Apple is alienating both professionals and consumers, resulting in a slow and steady decline if it doesn’t take steps soon to curtail the animosity it is creating. At one time, Mac OS was the preferred digital content creation platform; to an extent, this was true even for streaming. During the early days of my streaming career, I used countless Mac minis, MacBook Pro laptops, and Mac Pro towers to produce streams for smaller events. I usually ran Wirecast Pro, which, at that time, was optimized for Macs. Mac minis were great encoders, and they ran like champs. But when Apple debuted the latest Mac mini models, they ran slower than the previous versions. Professionals like ourselves are awaiting an updated Mac Pro, Mac mini, and iMac. Now we are relegated to building or buying custom production systems since Macs no longer fulfill our needs.

I feel that Apple has lost its way and simply doesn’t know who its market is. The company is missing the opportunity to foster relationships with industry professionals who are increasingly turning away from Apple. These are the influencers and innovators who will be responsible for advancing industries such as streaming, engineering, illustration, graphic design, audio/ video production, photography, architecture, animation, and software development.

Apple should aim to own the full ecosystem of disparate products that work seamlessly together for both the content creator and the content consumer. It’s about keeping the professionals within the ecosystem since they will be developing the future apps, services, and technologies that will be powering and enhancing future Apple hardware and services. Apple is at risk of losing its mindshare and influence due to a lack of innovation and product updates.

Professionals are now looking elsewhere for solutions, especially on the Windows platform, since Apple offers no viable alternatives. Workstations from Dell, HP Z, and BOXX, along with Hackintoshes, are filling the void. Even the Microsoft Surface Studio seems interesting and innovative with its advanced dial and touch interface. As someone who has benefited from Apple’s past products, I find it discouraging to see this, and I’d like for Apple to refocus on bringing innovation to the forefront and not be obsessed with the bottom line.

Content creation professionals would like to see the following from Apple:

  • An easily serviceable Mac Pro desktop with a larger form factor that can fit various peripherals and hardware
  • A modular Mac Pro desktop with upgradeable RAM, high-end GPUs, PCIe slots, Thunderbolt 3, and the latest processors
  • Support for a complete ecosystem and toolsets for those who are developing disruptive future technologies in virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, robotics, and AI/Machine Learning

Apple seems content to coast on its past successes and brand recognition. It is pursuing minimalism at the expense of functionality, and as a result, it’s ignoring the needs of some of its crucial customers.

If Apple doesn’t see the writing on the wall, it will be relegated to irrelevancy along with former tech giants such as BlackBerry and Nokia.

[This article appears in the January/February 2017 issue of Streaming Media Magazine as "O Apple, Where Art Thou?"]

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