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Morten Ranmar
Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 1, 2011 at 9:53:37 pm

Imagine the reaction of the photographers who have organized all their photos in Aperture, when Apple decides also to trash this professional program.

Imagine the reaction of creators of professional programs for Mac that rely on a MacPro; Smoke, Resolve, Protools - or the companies that have developed specific hardware for Macs; Small Tree, Aja, Red Rocket, when Apple decides to discontinue the MacPro.

Imagine how many of us professional editors, that will shift to Windows based computing in response to Apples disloyalty to the community that help them grow into a toy company. Thank God for PPro and MC being cross platform...

- No Parking Production -

2 x Finalcut Studio3, 2 x MacPro, 2 x ioHD, File Server w. X-Raid
.... and FCPX in the garbage bin


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 1, 2011 at 10:12:47 pm

We will survive unless you don't want to.


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Steve Connor
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 1, 2011 at 10:36:44 pm

[Morten Ranmar] "Imagine how many of us professional editors, that will shift to Windows based computing in response to Apples disloyalty to the community that help them grow into a toy company. Thank God for PPro and MC being cross platform..."

I would imagine that Apple have considered this, when deciding on their path forward. Do we think they'll be particularly bothered?

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:18:16 pm

[Steve Connor] "I would imagine that Apple have considered this, when deciding on their path forward. Do we think they'll be particularly bothered?"

apple carefully devoted the first half of this decade, and every day in the nineties, to a user base that kept them going - the real problem everyone is having is that we thought apple was definitively different in its approach and basic belief with regard to the creative arts and technology. God knows their advertising told us so. but that was wrong, it was just happenstance.

Apple are jettisoning, with incredibly loud whooshing noises, the hardware and software basis for the pursuit of the professional creative arts on their hardware and software systems.

they were a company founded on the expression of the creative arts. From steve's calligraphy class drop in on down through adobe, aldus, the laserwriter, quicktime, desktop publishing and then, god love it now, FCP.

the problem is that the company we hold in our minds doesn't exist today. Our old apple got eaten completely by a new apple.

In that you are right steve: this Apple couldn't give a tupenny damn for the woes they are visiting on their old crowd.


http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Jim Giberti
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:34:37 am

Aindreas, I don't mean to sound pollyannaish, but you seem so fearful and hopeless about this.

In this instance, the old axiom of other doors opening is certainly also true.

For instance, if we simply don't need Mac Pros going forward (which I'm sure is in the immediate future) and the dawn of TB represents the beginning of a more modular system (of iMacs, mac Minis, Powerbooks, large screens and peripherals) that is faster and more powerful while also being more flexible - how is that a bad thing?

I'm not talking about the EOL thing, and the industry needs are long established. I'm talking about the advent of an advancement in computing and user experience from a company built on a visionary foundation.

But regarding Color and STP. Color was an old program (by new standards) and I completely understand why they wouldn't invest in creating a new 64 bit version of something not pivotal to their future. It was never well implemented with FCP, the interface was not Apple at all.

STP was simply a prosumer audio tool that lived in the nether world of a real DAWs and internal audio mixing. You can do much better audio right now in FCP X than you ever could in STP.

Once you get into (at least once I got into) FCP X you begin to see how powerful and, yes dare I say it, fun it is to work with. I like fun. Creative should be fun. And it is, in fact, only going to get better.

Mistakes and frustrations aside, there are a lot of opening doors right now too. It's not all apocalyptic.


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:41:01 am

well, I just sort of want to keep kicking apple - in a gnats left boot on a lumbering giants left arse cheek fashion.

I'm not feeling hopeless Jim - I'm annoyed.


http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Craig Seeman
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:23:38 pm

Imagine the reaction when AJA, Blackmagic, Matrox Video I/O can now be sold to the entire Mac lineup rather than what must be the smallest subset of that which are MacPros.

Imagine the same for RAIDS which were focused on PCIe and can now support the entire Mac lineup.

Imagine the professional editor who now can take their Video I/O and RAIDS with them wherever they have a current Mac even if they only have iMacs and Minis at home or MacBookPro/Air on the road.

Imagine someone with talent and ambition just starting out who can only afford to get a MacMini $599, BM Intensity Extreme $299, FCPX $299 and at least work on their skills and take on small jobs in one of the worst economies since the great depression. Imagine all the small businesses who might now be able to budget for small in house video production.

Why just imagine that!



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Frank Gothmann
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:55:10 pm

Imagine that this was something you could do all along, using an Aja IO HD or a Matrox MXO2 along with external FW or Esata Storage (with an express card slot, before Apple axed that, too, from the 15inch lineup).


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Craig Seeman
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:21:48 am

[Frank Gothmann] "with an express card slot, before Apple axed that, too, from the 15inch lineup"

That was 2008 and what we have is much faster and far more pervasive in the Mac lineup that just 15" and later only the 17" MBP. So no, you could NEVER do this all along NEVER the the entire Mac lineup and NEVER for as little as $299 using the Blackmagic Intensity Extreme. The Video I/O and RAID market is now open to the ENTIRE line. You're not locked into purchasing any specific Mac. Anyone who chooses any Mac can use these devices even if it's just a stopgap until they have access to a more powerful Mac.



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Jim Giberti
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:39:06 am

Exactly Craig. We're seeing an advancement, not a retreat or capitulation.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:47:14 am

[Jim Giberti] "We're seeing an advancement, not a retreat or capitulation."

I suspect a lot of people are confusing small and modular with less powerful. I can understand that assumption, though I think the two are entirely separate things at this point in time.

What many don't seem to realize is that we could "essentially" build a MacPro on the head of a pin today if there was a ready and profitable market for it.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new Creative Cow Podcast: Bringing "The Whale" to the Big Screen:
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/Podcast-Series-2-MikeParfit...

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Bill Davis
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:41:07 am

Craig,

He either can't see it or won't see it.

I will say that my mailbox is getting constant inquiries from local editors clamoring for options to help them learn X, so I'm comfortable that we're actually on to something here.

Sooner or later all the folks who come here to moan about how Apple has ruined their lives will go to the Premier and Avid boards to piss and moan about how badly they are being treated there - because complaining without proffering constructive alternatives is just a manifestation of the "victim" state of mind, nothing more.

This board is more about the future these days. That we still get the occasional "they've ruined EVERYTHING! Post will fade.

My 2 cents, anyway.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:02:23 am

[Bill Davis] "
Sooner or later all the folks who come here to moan about how Apple has ruined their lives will go to the Premier and Avid boards to piss and moan about how badly they are being treated there - because complaining without proffering constructive alternatives is just a manifestation of the "victim" state of mind, nothing more.
"


yes, of course, yet another brilliant, balanced take down of the other side there. bile never more than an inch away.

It's not a victim state of mind you are seeing Bill; it is voiced criticism in a forum specifically designed to present both it and the opposing view.

That being somewhat the essence of civil discourse.


http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Herb Sevush
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:22:31 pm

[Bill Davis] "Sooner or later all the folks who come here to moan about how Apple has ruined their lives will go to the Premier and Avid boards to piss and moan about how badly they are being treated there - because complaining without proffering constructive alternatives is just a manifestation of the "victim" state of mind, nothing more."

[Bill Davis] ""Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor"

As always Bill, your good for a chuckle in the morning.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Darren Kelly
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:52:09 am

For the past 18 months I have edited on an iMac. a 27inch quad core, using a FW800 RAID for data storage and playback. Craig, do you remember Firewire? There were 4 designed interfaces & speed.

FW400
FW800
FW1600
FW3200

Only the first 2 were ever released by Apple. Wouldn't you think if the last 2 were released it would have been similar at the time to ThunderBolt.

FW was also available on ALL MACs. It still didn't make me sell my MacPro's for Mac Minis, or the Mac Cube. Not enough power, no expandability, too integrated. As someone has already said, the motherboard or the main system drive dies. You get to send in your computer for 1-3 weeks of service time.

Nope, it's time to move on.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:02:33 am

I think a lot of people who have been Mac based for many years forget the lack of choice that the Apple environment has. The 'my way or the highway' attitude and the secrecy of strategic development are things I find odious.

To then pay a premium for the lack of choice and find strategic changes making two year old hardware on the verge of obsolete is annoying. The Apple trend is fairly obvious and I have declining interest in where they are going.


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Carsten Orlt
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:14:10 am

[Michael Gissing] "making two year old hardware on the verge of obsolete"

Name one PC manufacturer who prides themselves that they still support any odd 10 year old standard.

Maybe all these arguments are only expressing the frustration of former PC people that got onto the Apple bandwagon because of FCP and now feel their ride was a waste of time because the route has changed. God how beautiful was the time when we were just riding in circles through the same scenery again and again.

Somebody took a new route and the undiscovered lands could be full of ugly, annoying consumers wanting to eat your children. Scary..

Yep lets all stay at home!


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Craig Seeman
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 2:25:52 am

As a video engineer I maintained both Mac and Windows based Avids. I don't remember there being a significant price difference. PCs give you more flexibility/customization but there's a cost to that in time and troubleshooting . . . unless you have a VAR do it and there's a cost to that too. Granted I can use an Osprey card in a Windows box and not a Mac but I've just never found things like that a radical advantage. I haven't found a "lack" of hardware options on the make a factor for some time.



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Michael Gissing
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 4:03:31 am

[Craig Seeman] " As a video engineer I maintained both Mac and Windows based Avids. I don't remember there being a significant price difference."

In my geography, Macs are twice the price of an off the shelf PC of similar spec. However, I have been rebuilding PCs for my Fairlight system using 12 year old rack mount boxes. So I buy a motherboard, new or extra RAM and a new graphics card and rebuild for about 30% of the price of buying a new MacPro.

Because of that I can afford to update every 3-4 years where I push the Mac cycle time to 5 years. So with a decision pending that might see me move to a Win 7 system, I can build a new system for the money I will get if I sell the MacPro and that includes buying da Vinci software and a new Decklink card. However, if I stick to the Mac, I have a two year old machine, a Kona card to sell and a much more expensive graphics card purchase. The price difference between the same graphics card for Mac and PC is significant.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:46:35 am

[Michael Gissing] "I push the Mac cycle time to 5 years"

That's why Apple is changing their hardware business model. Your example is why MacPros aren't very profitable. In order for a "power" machine to be viable for a business model based on growth form Apple's perspective either it has to be replaced more frequently or sold to more people and the "more" must expand over time.

For example, One might expect a "copper" based Thunderbolt Mac in early 2012. Sometime in 2013 they may be one optical Thunderbolt port added. In 2014 will be a higher bandwidth optical Thunderbolt port added.

As people buy the newer Thunderbolt MacPro replacement they'll also be replace their "support" Mac, their older MBP and maybe iMacs to Thunderbolt version so they can take advantage of the portability of their Thunderbolt peripherals. Apple needs to create an upward spiral of both replacement and new sales. Of courses we'll hate it but I suspect that's going to be part of the thinking about how to make this MacPro replacement work profitably that the current MacPro doesn't.

You can see how they even attempted to push this with FCPX and GPU compatibility to push sales of newer systems. Although Apple's site said something to the effect that the Radeon 5770 was only supported on 2010 MacPros forward, people knew that the same card would work fine in their 2006 and 2007 MacPros. There's no compelling reason to turnover those computers short of the need for the CPU speed bump. And, as some people have said, much of Apple's software really doesn't really take advantage of that so unless you're in the rarified air we you have software that can take advantage of 12 real 24 virtual cores, MacPros don't turnover at a high rate.

Apple's answer will be a lower cost but just as powerful computer but the changes in software are going to demand more frequent updates. The changes in Thunderbolt technology will motivate updates especially as 4K cameras creep down in price . . . as the demand for longer cable runs (people have brought up those limits with copper Thunderbolt push turnover.

The MacPro replacement may cost less but Apple is going to push for compelling reasons to have a shorter life cycle. FCPX, Motion, Compressor are going to play a role in that . . . so Apple hopes.

Actually people are looking at it at the wrong angle when they see Apple as a "consumer" company. Although certainly "consumption" is the model. Apple knows the value of creating high turnover with new iPhones and iPads every year and that's the "consumer" part they're trying to push into their "pro" line. Each year they must motivate high turnover combined with an expanding base of new customer.

BTW this is where Tim Cook's meddle will really be tested. From what I understand part of Cook's skills are related to supply chain management and component pricing. They don't need potential customers waiting for weeks for backordered devices. They've learned to wait which may be part of the reason why iPhone 4S was released a bit later and why you can pick one up without any serious constraints unlike the 4. Also large component orders can drive down prices. The MacPro replacement has to be a motivated purchase and they component order has to be large enough so Apple can have a high margin. Apple is going to wait until they can get what they want (what they think they can get us to want) to make that happen.

This means they may be waiting not only for the next round of Intel CPUs but it may also be timed to the next FCPX update that will require a new computer. I can play guessing games on how that might work. Perhaps multicam simply wont run on any MacPro pre 2009. Perhaps older MBPs and iMacs will be knocked out as well.

Ok so now I nod to the critics in this crowd because what some of you are thinking is dead right. "Why the F*** should I buy a new Mac to use an NLE than still can't serve my business?" Right you are and that's why there's a lot more riding on FCPX than some realize. It's not just MacPros but a good portion of the computers will or won't be sold based on FCPX. Keep in mind that maybe even just a 5% hit on sales (the NLE loving portion?) is damaging. It impacts the supply chain. It can impact their need for components. It impacts the margins as a result going forward.

What Apple blew was not simply an NLE that wasn't quit ready but that FCPX was supposed to drive some portion of Mac upgrades and it didn't. The response ranged from people like me who paid $250 for a new GPU (which supposedly isn't supported in my 2008 MacPro) to people who said "I can cross grade to Avid or Premiere for a magnitude less money than buying a Mac with a new GPU to run an NLE which doesn't meet my business needs."

In short, FCPX hurt Mac sales. It's not that Apple doesn't care about Computers or Pros, it's that the program designed to drive hardware sales... didn't. Of course the new Macs sold well and they're gaining market share, but it's not as much as it could have been. A lot of turnover didn't happen. Thunderbolt itself is only a motivator to turnover your Mac if you have a compelling reason to edit on Mac and with an NLE that supports it. Will Avid support the Thunderbolt Video I/O boxes? Will Premiere users turnover their Macs for Thunderbolt . . . or will they move to Windows for nVidia CUDA which some would argue is a more important speed boost?

So in order for the replacement MacPros to be viable, FCPX may have to help drive sales. Thunderbolt has to drive sales. That means third party Thunderbolt development has to be compelling. The model may be a lower cost computer with a shorter life cycle. Thunderbolt's roadmap might help. It also means Apple's relationship to Intel is critical. I think all this ties into why we haven't seen the MacPro replacement yet. What Apple needs to have ready, isn't ready yet, my guess.



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Michael Gissing
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 6:00:57 am

[Craig Seeman] "
That's why Apple is changing their hardware business model. Your example is why MacPros aren't very profitable."


I'm glad its my fault and not something crazy like they sell overpriced hardware. What was I thinking:)

Seriously though there is something positive in having a limitation on hardware variables because it makes it easier to get the software robust. I have always let the software determine the hardware when possible and I don't puts lots of different software on a machine.

All the points about TBolt are noted and they are obvious. I have a machine room with rack units so rack mount boxes are best for me anyway. On the sound post side I use NAS units so the idea of having distributed control and storage is something I have been doing for years anyway.


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Frank Gothmann
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:53:36 pm

What I find most amazing in this discussion is the way people claim to know how Apple thinks, what they will do, how they budget etc. Complete identification with a company; quite scary.
The facts are that Apple has turned into a massive consumer electronics company generating 95 per cent of their turnover in that area. The pro applications team has seen massive layoffs, FCPX caters for a different market, Macpros seem abandoned.
What makes you think this will play out any different than the Xserve. They dropped it with no proper replacement (and don't tell me the Minis or current Macpros are a viable alternative, they are not). Lion Server running on a mini will suit some people with certain needs, the rest will shop elsewhere (including Apple themselves as none of their cloud services runs on Apple hard- or software). It's a small loss compared to the money the make with iphones and ipads and they simply couldn't care less about your visons of a Super-Mini or other mystical boxes.
And the same, that's my prediction, will happen with the Macpros. Simply dropped, no replacement. It may see one more upgrade with TB, but if it doesn't it wouldn't surprise me. You can get an iMac if it suits your needs, if not Apple will not shed a tear to see the few people go that need something else.


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James Culbertson
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:45:14 pm

[Frank Gothmann] "What I find most amazing in this discussion is the way people claim to know how Apple thinks"

And then you go on to claim to know how Apple thinks.


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Carsten Orlt
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:05:03 am

[Darren Kelly] " the motherboard or the main system drive dies. You get to send in your computer for 1-3 weeks of service time.

Nope, it's time to move on."


J, I instantly have to buy a PC because their hard drives never crash and the motherboard goes on forever....

People who do think Apple is not doing too bad are constantly accused of drinking the 'KoolAid'
Time to complain about the 'Anti-KoolAid' gang!


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Craig Seeman
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 2:17:51 am

[Darren Kelly] "FW400
FW800"

Doesn't even come close to Thunderbolt in bandwidth and the ability to sustain that with daisy chaining. This isn't even close to a comparison.

[Darren Kelly] "FW1600
FW3200"

Never supported by anyone in the market. Intel built Thunderbolt support in motherboards.

[Darren Kelly] "FW was also available on ALL MACs. "
And somehow that makes it equal to Thunderbolt? You really can't have a serious understanding of the technology.

[Darren Kelly] "It still didn't make me sell my MacPro's for Mac Minis, or the Mac Cube. Not enough power, no expandability, too integrated."

MacMinis and MacBook Airs can have i7 processors (although the GPUs are limited). Non of these replace a high end computer but they ALL can NOW supplement them. Not every workstation needs to be a MacPro but EVERY Mac will support the same Video I/O and high speed storage you can hook to one.

[Darren Kelly] "As someone has already said, the motherboard or the main system drive dies. You get to send in your computer for 1-3 weeks of service time."

I haven't had that happen since I started maintaining Macs (including Avids as a facility engineer) in the early 90s. And now if I lost a MacPro I can keep myself going with a MacBook Pro without being out of commission. I'll be able to pull the I/O and Storage and attach it whatever modern Mac I have available.



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Walter Soyka
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:03:30 am

I see Darren's point.

In 1998, Firewire was a very fast, general-purpose interconnect, sporting a promising roadmap, intended to add respectable expansion across the entire Mac platform, and poised to revolutionize desktop video production.

What was true of Firewire in 1998 is true of Thinderbolt today, right?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:58:38 am

[Walter Soyka] "What was true of Firewire in 1998 is true of Thinderbolt today, right?"

And then some. It might change computers as we know them, who knows.


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Craig Seeman
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 4:20:20 am

[Walter Soyka] "What was true of Firewire in 1998 is true of Thinderbolt today, right?"

But whereas firewire started with handling DV and had nothing to do with BetaSP or DigiBeta in uncompressed form for input or media file access, Thunderbolt starts out handling ProRes and Uncompressed I/O devices and simultaneous layers of playback from storage. Firewire didn't represent the high end at the time but Thunderbolt does.

Firewire started with a consumer format that, over time became accept in some pro circles as DV eventually led to DVCProHD. Firewire handled storage but couldn't match the speed of SCSI RAID. Thunderbolt starts by handling professional codecs and and moves RAID transfer rates higher.



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Walter Soyka
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 2:10:59 pm

I'm just saying that I think there is some validity to Darren's comparison: Firewire was a fast, promising interconnect that changed expansion on Macs. Thunderbolt is a fast, promising interconnect that will change expansion on Macs.

I don't say this to knock Thunderbolt. You're right that Thunderbolt is a big deal. Of course Thunderbolt is more capable than FW400, but I think you're downplaying how important Firewire was when it was introduced.


[Craig Seeman] "But whereas firewire started with handling DV and had nothing to do with BetaSP or DigiBeta in uncompressed form for input or media file access, Thunderbolt starts out handling ProRes and Uncompressed I/O devices and simultaneous layers of playback from storage. Firewire didn't represent the high end at the time but Thunderbolt does."

You're conflating Firewire and DV25.

ProRes didn't exist when FW400 was developed, but FW400 had plenty of bandwidth for it. The AJA io, with "real" video over Firewire, was a pretty big deal, too.

Also, I'll dispute that Thunderbolt is the high end: it's 4x PCIe. Thunderbolt is one-quarter of the high-end of expansion. It is fast enough, though not the fastest, and it's cheap enough, though not the cheapest -- just like Firewire was.


[Craig Seeman] "Firewire handled storage but couldn't match the speed of SCSI RAID."

FW400 replaced Fast Wide SCSI on the PowerMac G3. Fast Wide SCSI tops out at 160 Mbit/s. Firewire's line speed was 2.5 times faster than the interconnect it replaced -- and it was cheaper.


[Craig Seeman] "Firewire started with a consumer format that, over time became accept in some pro circles as DV eventually led to DVCProHD."

DV25 was one of the earliest uses for FW, but again, FW400 and DV25 are not the same. As you noted, DVCPROHD (and DVCPRO50, for that matter) were both pro formats introduced after Firewire that still only used a fraction of FW400's bandwidth.

Firewire was a big deal outside of the video world, too. Firewire scanners and storage were big in photography at the time.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 2:37:09 pm

Walter,

Thanks (again) for the clear-headed reality check.

Since I'm not up on current PCIe max-outs, I'll pick up on this:

[Walter Soyka] "Also, I'll dispute that Thunderbolt is the high end: it's 4x PCIe. Thunderbolt is one-quarter of the high-end of expansion."

... and ask:

What are the current technologies that put the heaviest demands on the PCIe channels? What needs 4x? What needs more?

I'm interested because it's seems to be hinted at often (here) that Thunderbolt replaces the need for expansion slots.

Franz.


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Frank Gothmann
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 2:56:27 pm

Fast Raid cards (eg Areca's latest controllers) are PCIe 8, so are 10Gig Ethernet Cards and some Fibre HBAs. And, of course, all graphics cards are 16x. This all should work in a 4x slot but it's not max performance.


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Walter Soyka
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:00:41 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "What are the current technologies that put the heaviest demands on the PCIe channels? What needs 4x? What needs more? I'm interested because it's seems to be hinted at often (here) that Thunderbolt replaces the need for expansion slots."

Some RAID cards, notably the ATTO ExpressSAS H680, use 8x PCIe. Graphics cards use 16x PCIe.

4x PCIe 2.0 is still a lot of bandwidth -- 2,000 MB/s one-way (4,000 MB/s bi-directional). To put that in perspective, though, 4K video at 24fps and 16bpc (or half-float) requires about 2,335 MB/s.

Meanwhile, PCIe 3.0 (which doubles PCIe 2.0's bandwidth) is here, work on PCIe 4.0 has begun, and the PCI Special Interest Group has announced the formation of a Cable Workgroup, ostensibly to develop an external PCIe 3.0 standard and compete with Thunderbolt.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 4:05:57 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Some RAID cards, notably the ATTO ExpressSAS H680, use 8x PCIe. Graphics cards use 16x PCIe.

4x PCIe 2.0 is still a lot of bandwidth -- 2,000 MB/s one-way (4,000 MB/s bi-directional). To put that in perspective, though, 4K video at 24fps and 16bpc (or half-float) requires about 2,335 MB/s.

Meanwhile, PCIe 3.0 (which doubles PCIe 2.0's bandwidth) is here, work on PCIe 4.0 has begun, and the PCI Special Interest Group has announced the formation of a Cable Workgroup, ostensibly to develop an external PCIe 3.0 standard and compete with Thunderbolt."


I assume you are talking uncompressed 4k there, right Walter? Which we can probably say is a fraction of the total video marketplace. If working with uncompressed 4k, are those people working with macs for real time playback at this point, even today?

So I guess we can all agree that an external Thunderbolt future is looking doable, it's just the highest of the throughput is just out of reach?

Right now, we are at the fw400 of Thunderbolt?

What is interesting about Thunderbolt is that the sheer amount of protocols and devices that it can connect to and transfer data, and it's not just limited to storage/raw data that conforms to fw protocols AND if a device is slower in the chain, theoretically, it won't slow down the whole system, also unlike firewire.

Jeremy


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Walter Soyka
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 4:40:39 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "So I guess we can all agree that an external Thunderbolt future is looking doable, it's just the highest of the throughput is just out of reach?"

I am trying to make two assertions in my conversation with Craig:
  • Darren was onto something when he compared Thunderbolt and Firewire, as Thunderbolt has more in common with Firewire than not.
  • Thunderbolt is fast and cheap, but it is not high-end expansion.

I agree with Craig 100% that Thunderbolt is a huge step forward and that it will change the way we work. CPUs are now "fast enough" for video editorial, so raw computation matters less than connectivity for NLE users today.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Craig Seeman
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 4:16:19 pm

Keep in mind that Thunderbolt has 100GBits/s in its roadmap. It'll be a couple of years but that's why I've mentioned Apple will be using it as a hood for updates from the current Thunderbolt computers including my suspected MacPro replacement.



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Bill Davis
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:01:30 pm

Craig,

Yeah, it has 100gps in it's roadmap. But don't forget that top end is ALL optical. Unlike the first and 2nd generation schemes, which have copper involved - which means they pass POWER as well as data.

To get the highest possible bandwidth, manufacturers are going to have to find a way to move power around along with the data stream — that's going to be at least a minor issue when every device you hang on the pipe needs it's own separate source of operating power.

Particularly in mobile uses.

It's probably trivial and the industry will settle on some form of standard "hybrid cable" that does optical and power in separate paths, but they'll also probably stick us with cables priced according to the retail"monster cable" model.

Won't THAT be fun!

(sigh)

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Craig Seeman
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:15:27 pm

[Bill Davis] "Yeah, it has 100gps in it's roadmap. But don't forget that top end is ALL optical"

But long runs sans power will probably serve facilities fine where power can be provided at a common end point/machine room.

While I'm sure there's always a demand for long cable runs for mobile use I'm not sure power on the cable is mission critical. Think of the typical use of Ethernet cables for example.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:16:42 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Think of the typical use of Ethernet cables for example."

Or current optical fibre channel.


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Craig Seeman
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 4:12:57 pm

Firewire was a major breakthrough but from the get go it could not handle "professional" video such as DigiBeta input nor was it used for RAID.

Thunderbolt, can handle Uncompressed and has allowed greater RAID0 video throughput.

Firewire had limited high end professional use.

[Walter Soyka] "Also, I'll dispute that Thunderbolt is the high end: it's 4x PCIe."

Which why I say the MacPro replacement will still have at least one and probably two PCI3 for GPU as one would want those to be 16 lane.



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Walter Soyka
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 4:49:38 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Thunderbolt, can handle Uncompressed and has allowed greater RAID0 video throughput."

Because it's repackaged PCIe. We've been able to do this for years internally; the advancement is hooking this onto smaller, cheaper, lower-powered devices to radically extend their capabilities.

What's cool about Thunderbolt isn't how fast it is -- because it's not nearly as fast as other internal expansion options. The game changer here is that it's external.


[Craig Seeman] "Keep in mind that Thunderbolt has 100GBits/s in its roadmap. It'll be a couple of years but that's why I've mentioned Apple will be using it as a hood for updates from the current Thunderbolt computers including my suspected MacPro replacement."

And back to Darren's point, Firewire had FW3200 on its roadmap.

Craig, I don't think we really disagree on all that much here. Thunderbolt is cool. Thunderbolt will change the gear editors can buy.

The main point I'm trying to make here is that Thunderbolt is cheap, enables the use of cheaper computers overall, and is fast enough for now -- but it's not "high-end expansion."

In our comparison with FW400, you rightly point out that later SCSI variants outperformed Firewire. I'm pointing out the same thing with respect to Thunderbolt: it's currently outperformed by 8x and 16x PCIe 2.0 as well as PCIe 3.0 (all shipping today).

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Frank Gothmann
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:05:41 pm

Completely agree with you on all points here and in your other posts with the exception of calling TB solutions "cheap".
Last time I looked the Pegasus Raid was almost 2000 Dollars. An Areca 8040 hold two more drives, costs less and is almost twice as fast when looking at real world tests (but, of course, it requires PCIe slots).


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Craig Seeman
Re: actions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:11:42 pm

[Walter Soyka] "What's cool about Thunderbolt isn't how fast it is -- because it's not nearly as fast as other internal expansion options. The game changer here is that it's external."

Which is my point. It's not limited to "workstations." The entire Mac line can use it (and next year certain Windows computers)

[Walter Soyka] "And back to Darren's point, Firewire had FW3200 on its roadmap."

But was never supported.

[Walter Soyka] "but it's not "high-end expansion.""

Good enough for uncompressed 1080p which at least brings it to HD broadcast. I guess one might argue that Firewire was capable of "broadcast" but it couldn't handle commonly used DigiBeta's throughput. That still involved conversion for input. Thunderbolt starts out being further along in its capabilities and certainly in it's flexibility.


[Walter Soyka] "it's currently outperformed by 8x and 16x PCIe 2.0 as well as PCIe 3.0 (all shipping today)."

True but I think, unlike FW3200, Thunderbolt's 100Gb throughput road is more likely to happen unless you really think something else will come along . . . radical change in USB3 to .... ?(I don't think so). Given Intel's involvement I think Thunderbolt will see 2nd and 3rd generation much faster than Firewire's evolution.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 2:27:10 am

[Darren Kelly] "For the past 18 months I have edited on an iMac. a 27inch quad core, using a FW800 RAID for data storage and playback. Craig, do you remember Firewire? There were 4 designed interfaces & speed.

FW400
FW800
FW1600
FW3200

Only the first 2 were ever released by Apple. Wouldn't you think if the last 2 were released it would have been similar at the time to ThunderBolt."


Thunderbolt and FireWire couldnt be more different. FireWire is a storage protocol, thunderbolt is a data/display protocol. That means storage, data devices (such as video capture cards, cards readers, whatever else passes data) AND DISPLAYS can all run in the same pipe. FireWire wasn't designed for that, since thunderbolt can theoretically run @ 10gigabits per second per channel (there's two) and can connect more than just storage, why develop FireWire that connects to certain data workflows @3.2 Gigabits a second? If you were Apple, what would you bet your business on?

Also, thunderbolt came from Intel, but collaborated with Apple to bring to market.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/io/thunderbolt/thunderbolt-technolog...

Jeremy


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 2:32:31 am

Woops, sorry. I didn't see the duplicate info post from, Craig.


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James Culbertson
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 6:40:08 am

The problem Craig, is that a lot of editors are not very imaginative.

But I agree with you. Exciting times...


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Mark Bein
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 9:41:18 am

[Morten Ranmar] "...the community that help them grow into a toy company"
There are still companies who need your help.
I heard AVID wasn't doing too good.
Now that is some business model - they are dying to help you
help them.

(I'm a Pro Tools user!)


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 2, 2011 at 11:05:21 am

[Mark Bein] "Now that is some business model - they are dying to help you
help them.

(I'm a Pro Tools user!)"


You wouldn't be saying that if you were a ProTools user - over on the AVID audio forum they are baying for blood (makes what's going on around here seem very tame!).

http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=310384

Most PT users are hoping that DigiDesign can be rescued from the clutches of (a potentially drowning) AVID ...

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 3, 2011 at 5:34:49 pm

There's something about the idea of dropping the Mac Pro that I don't get: on the basis of "good, better, best" marketing, the top of the range kit isn't necessarily there to shift units. The purpose of it is to set a top price point that validates the rest of the range, i.e., the stuff that you actually sell in quantity. Most people don't want or need the ultra-powerful, ultra-expensive machine but they'll pay a premium price for the mid-range stuff because of the association with the top-of-the-range.

That's a principle that applies to selling just about everything (not just computers), and Apple are at least as much a marketing company as they are a technology and design company, so it seems very strange to me that they would drop the top priced product because then the next one down the range becomes the top price one, so the median choice for the consumer goes down...


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 3, 2011 at 5:44:21 pm

[Andrew Rendell] "That's a principle that applies to selling just about everything (not just computers), and Apple are at least as much a marketing company as they are a technology and design company, so it seems very strange to me that they would drop the top priced product because then the next one down the range becomes the top price one, so the median choice for the consumer goes down..."

You don't get 70 billion bucks in the bank by having expensive MacPros sit out on a dock in China.

Apple is definitely about perceptions of premium, but when they are paying for those expensive intel processors and they aren't selling, they won't keep buying them just to say, "look, we have really expensive shit, too!"

The truth of the matter is, if you want a MacPro, or want to save the MacPro, buy them. Buy them early and buy them often, and Apple will keep supplying them.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 3, 2011 at 8:52:44 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "You don't get 70 billion bucks in the bank by having expensive MacPros sit out on a dock in China.

Apple is definitely about perceptions of premium, but when they are paying for those expensive intel processors and they aren't selling, they won't keep buying them just to say, "look, we have really expensive shit, too!""


Exactly. Within each model series there's a bottom to top range. There's no point to having an entire product line such as MacPro, that doesn't sell well. And given that small subset I wonder how few 12 core systems they're selling vs 6 core systems.

That's why if Apple does anything it'll be a line that will sell to a wider market. I suspect there is some demand for 6 core systems so they'd probably find a means to integrate that option somewhere. Hence my speculation about how that might work.



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Andrew Rendell
Re: Reactions to Apples business model
on Nov 4, 2011 at 4:13:38 pm

Well, to my mind, there are two types of computer: desktop and laptop (which I tend to think of as fixed and mobile).

So the desktop range goes: Mac Mini - iMac - Mac Pro. Take out the Mac Pro and it goes: Mac Mini - iMac.

So with the Mac Pro in the range, lots of people will buy the top spec iMac (because it's seen as the median in the "good, better, best" hierarchy). Take out the Mac Pro and the top spec iMac becomes the "best" option and it's a lower spec iMac that most people will buy.

The marketing contention is that people in general don't work out exactly what specification they need and buy precisely that, they buy on a compromise of many influencing factors, some of which are purely psychological, so there is a degree to which the top spec Mac Pro really is there to say "look, we have really expensive shit, too!", because that drives price perceptions lower down the range.

Then, if you're only going to sell a few of your top spec machines, you only make a few of them. Surely no one's obliged to manufacture the same number of units of a small selling item as they make of a big selling one, are they?


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