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A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback

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Jeremy Whaley
A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 7:26:09 am

Hello all, This is my first post to the forum I just discovered you guys through some google searches. I'm trying to form some opinions about FCPX. This site has proved to full of excellent info!

I am in a bit of a different position than most people here (I think). I'm not a pro, and I don't expect to be. I'm a long time extremely dedicated mac user. I've been Mac all the way since 1991, that included ALL of the dark years, as well as the rebirth of Steve. No one is more dedicated than me. But I'm a bit concerned about some trends I see in Apple. I feel we have a new dark age coming (yes this really relates to Final cut).

I use to be a professional musician. Professional as in music production is ALL I did for 8 years. I did well but not as well as I wanted and eventually I got out of the music biz and started several other businesses. One of my businesses is an online seminar business where we teach via webinars. This is where my final cut needs come in.

We have been capturing our webinars via camtasia for almost two years now. But we're looking to step up the production quality a bit. About a month ago I had decided I would upgrade my FCE to FCP so I could do some better editing and work closer with whatever final editor/producer we choose to oversee the rework of our video products. However - I left town for a while. Upon returning I went online to buy FCP and discovered that the NEW final cut had been released while I was gone, complete with all video hell breaking loose!

Here's the advice I need: After reading all the hate messages I'm concerned about making the switch to FCPx. I actually think for what I personally need, "x" is probably perfect. But I like I mentioned earlier, I have no desire to be a video editor. I want to be able to do some basic stuff and had the files to someone else to put the "pro" touches on. So I'm concerned if the pros will not be making the switch to "x" then I probably should not make that move either. Is this crazy thinking? I'd appreciate any thoughts on this from the group here.

Now on to my commentary about why I'm worried about Apple....

I'm concerned because I see a trend in Apple lately. They are growing exponentially which is generally a good thing. But I'm concerned they do not know how to grow their ability to manage the culture. As I mentioned already, I'm a fan of fans. I LOVE apple. But over the last 6 months I have noticed my personal sentiment towards apple changing. I don't "enjoy" the experience anymore.

What has made apple great throughout the years is Steve Job's ability to understand the customer and create products that made the customer feel special. But that feeling no longer reflects my experience with apple. This most recent Final Cut "X" debacle is just the most recent in several experiences I have had with apple.

For example, I hate going to my local apple store here in Nashville anymore. It's MISERABLE. The store is so full of people I can't walk. I went in today and about half way through the store I just turned around and left. It was harder to walk through the apple store than it is to walk through Disney World! (I know I spent last week at Disney and experienced the apple store today!) Not only is the store increasingly over crowded, but the employees are increasingly not- helpful. First of all they are the most arrogant SOBs you've ever met. I can't stand their attitudes. Secondly - they dumb as all get out. I can't remember the last time an apple store employee actually told me something of value. I have finally had to admit I HATE the apple store. It's one of the saddest things I've ever admitted.

Another example: about 6 months ago my macbook was stolen. I went through hell to try to get someone on the phone to try to track my computer through my .mac account. Have you tried to call apple lately? The very thing that made apple great throughout the years, has become a dream of the past. Personal touch, with a real person who cares, is gone. Moreover - if/when I can talk to someone, either in the store, or on the phone, they just don't ever have the answers I need.

one of the things that has made apple great has been their ability to connect with the customer. But I'm saying straight up, in 2011 Apple has no idea how to connect with their customer. For a lifelong fan of apple to feel totally unimportant and worthless, ready to write off the greatness of apple... that's a BIG screw up for apple.

Now on to the products - the next thing that made apple great was innovation. I don't need to list the innovation of apple through the years. However, much like the apple store and customer service experiences mentioned above, recently I found myself not caring one bit about Apple's latest innovations. I see icloud, I see new iOS 5, Even the new mac OS Lion coming out... ALL of them have left me with a feeling of "I'm worn out, I don't care to see anything new". THAT'S HORRIBLE! I have to assume if I feel this way then I am not the only one. For a life long fan to feel the fan-ness wearing off... something's not right.

And now this Final Cut X thing - it's a perfect example of how Apple is out of step. FCPx COULD have been seemless and made a bunch of people happy. Instead, this may very well go down in the media world's eyes as one of the greatest business failures ever! I can only imagine how those of you who are video pros feel right now. If they did to Logic Audio what they did to FCP I'd probably want to kill myself. You build a lifetime of skills and a business around something only to have the maker of your tools stab you in the back.

The truth about FCPx, as I see it, is probably that this is a great software that will help a lot of wanna be video producers have a lot of fun doing videos and take their videos to the next level. Eventually it may even be an amazing pro application. BUT IT'S NOT FINAL CUT! Where Apple went wrong here, and why the outrage is so intense, is they promised "an amazing new Final Cut Pro". And like some many have said, what they delivered is the end of their actual FCP application that could do something powerful, and replaced it with imovie deluxe.

The solution would have been simple... Roll out a new product with a new name. Call it "iCut" or "iMovie Pro". Or Screen Master pro or who the heck cares... The problem is they have tried to carry the brand of FC over to something that is not Final cut. And it may well be one of their most expensive mistakes in the long run. Imagine how different these conversations would be if they had released FCPX just like it is, under a different name. And continued support of FCP7 for a while in parallel until it was clear people were ready to switch. This debate would be a non-issue. Instead, Apple has ticked off arguably their most loyal user base. Video and Audio users are not the group they want to tick off- but they have.

Now pulling this full circle... It appears to me that the things that made apple great are disappearing. My speculation is Steve Jobs just isn't involved the way he use to be and the rest of the apple crew just can't keep the Job's standard. This reminds me of the 90s. The difference... in the 90s they were trying to replace Steve because of his immaturity and his lack of ability to manage the enterprise. Now, sadly, they are needing to replace steve because of his health. Unfortunately this time he can't come back 10 years later. When he's gone he's going to be gone for good.

I'm curious if anyone else shares my sentiment. Maybe I'm just a loner in these feelings, but I can't imagine I am. So if the writing is on the wall that Apple may be starting the new "dark years"... where does that leave us? It's going to be interesting.

Thanks for letting me ramble :)


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Peter Wiley
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 10:21:55 am

You should print this and mail it to Apple.


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Hamdani Milas
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 11:38:36 am

You're not alone Jeremy and I think you might be onto something. I've commented in this and other forums about the bungled launch of FCPX as an indication that something is amiss with Apple's management.

The unavoidable truth is that FCPX doesn't replace its predecessor as a pro editing tool and should never have been marketed as such. Oh, but Apple's FAQ says the fixes are coming, the plugins will provide what's missing. No. Even as a first release FCPX should not have had such elementary functions missing. What was the business strategy in releasing it? Was there a strategy at all?

And the expectation that editors who have spent years honing their craft with FCP should re-learn their skills to meet Apple's new "paradigm" in post-production? Was this arrogance or ignorance? Many editors can't wait for Apple to complete its new paradigm in editing and they've switched to Adobe or AVID. This is a straightforward and obvious business decision. And even if they're not experienced in either PP CS5 or MC it's a relatively easy move, certainly a smoother transition than to FCPX.

Apple's action in the unannounced extinction of FCS3 was brutal. No easy transition for you, says Apple to its 10 year user base. Learn to do it our way. Did Apple do any market research with FCPX? Doesn't look like it.

(I'm not denying FCPX's potential, but it's simply not ready for pro use NOW.)

I too have been a loyal Apple user/fan/supporter since the early 90's and a staunch promoter of all things Apple. But now I feel I'm all Appled out. Don't need an iPad. Don't want Lion, it's got the letter "i" all over it. Couldn't care less about iCloud, it's marketing hype. I want my stuff on my drives, not on Apple's server. I'm getting the feeling that Apple wants a piece of me, wants me signed up. Wants me as an iConsumer. Has Apple moved on? Or have I?

I'll be continuing to use Final Cut Pro 7 in the meantime as it more than meets my requirements. I've also been playing with my copy of Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, imported one of my FCP projects via an XML export, it's all there bar some of the plugin filters/effects and I soon grasped the layout and basic functions. So I suggest if you wish to upgrade your webinar productions you might like to consider Premiere Pro CS5 especially with their 50% discount offer to Final Cut users. (does it also apply to FCE users?)

Good luck.

(film-maker of 40 years experience - TV docos, corporates, TV commercials, aerials specialist, fashion, tourism promos etc. One-time 16mm film editor in the 1970's and now happy NLE user cutting self-produced video productions with FCP7 and Motion)

Independent producer, director, cinematographer, writer, editor
Milas Film Productions, Hong Kong
http://www.milasfilm.com


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Gary Pollard
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 12:56:00 pm

Actually if you can't trust Apple with Final Cut, how can you trust it with iCloud?

I totally distrust cloud computing, no matter who is doing it.

____

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"



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James Mortner
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 1:40:10 pm

Key phrase there is "bungled" . Apple bungled the launch, then tried to play it like there were special features that pro's "didnt underdstand". Reminds me of the shuffle launch "Look there's no screen ! Isnt life random and wonderful!"

Imagine if we delivered to clients or television stations with missing audio or black holes in the video. Wouldnt really get paid would we ?


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Chris Kenny
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 2:10:19 pm

[Jeremy Whaley] "The truth about FCPx, as I see it, is probably that this is a great software that will help a lot of wanna be video producers have a lot of fun doing videos and take their videos to the next level. Eventually it may even be an amazing pro application. BUT IT'S NOT FINAL CUT! Where Apple went wrong here, and why the outrage is so intense, is they promised "an amazing new Final Cut Pro". And like some many have said, what they delivered is the end of their actual FCP application that could do something powerful, and replaced it with imovie deluxe. "

They did not. They replaced it with an application that is, in broad strokes, a very worthy successor to FCP 7... but that is, in its first iteration, missing a handful of features film/broadcast folks need. Some of those folks, as a consequence of those missing features, some superficial similarities with the iMovie interface, and a whole lot of preexisting paranoia, have completely freaked out.

What people need to understand is that developers have different priorities at different stages in an app's lifecycle. Apple's priority with the initial release of FCP X was to get a solid foundation in place, and deliver a feature set sufficient to make the app useful to the median FCP user (who is not a film/broadcast editor). They have done this. This required a huge amount of work: creating a new media framework and rendering engine, working through all the details of the new metadata-based footage organization system and connection-oritend timeline, etc.

Now they can turn their attention to adding features for the film/broadcast market (what everyone keeps calling the "pro" market, though it's only a small fraction of the people who get paid to edit video). And the FAQ, while light on details, indicates that they're doing precisely this.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Jeremy Whaley
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 4:51:21 pm

[Jeremy Whaley] "The truth about FCPx, as I see it, is probably that this is a great software that will help a lot of wanna be video producers have a lot of fun doing videos and take their videos to the next level. Eventually it may even be an amazing pro application. BUT IT'S NOT FINAL CUT! Where Apple went wrong here, and why the outrage is so intense, is they promised "an amazing new Final Cut Pro". And like some many have said, what they delivered is the end of their actual FCP application that could do something powerful, and replaced it with imovie deluxe. "

They did not. They replaced it with an application that is, in broad strokes, a very worthy successor to FCP 7... but that is, in its first iteration, missing a handful of features film/broadcast folks need. Some of those folks, as a consequence of those missing features, some superficial similarities with the iMovie interface, and a whole lot of preexisting paranoia, have completely freaked out.

What people need to understand is that developers have different priorities at different stages in an app's lifecycle. Apple's priority with the initial release of FCP X was to get a solid foundation in place, and deliver a feature set sufficient to make the app useful to the median FCP user (who is not a film/broadcast editor). They have done this. This required a huge amount of work: creating a new media framework and rendering engine, working through all the details of the new metadata-based footage organization system and connection-oritend timeline, etc.

Now they can turn their attention to adding features for the film/broadcast market (what everyone keeps calling the "pro" market, though it's only a small fraction of the people who get paid to edit video). And the FAQ, while light on details, indicates that they're doing precisely this.



YES - Maybe you are correct that they have a new foundation, but my point is it's a NEW SOFTWARE. Change the name, continue support for FCP7 and Apple would have been seen as a genius. Instead they're trying to stop a social media outcry!


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Chris Kenny
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 5:07:58 pm

[Jeremy Whaley] "YES - Maybe you are correct that they have a new foundation, but my point is it's a NEW SOFTWARE. Change the name, continue support for FCP7 and Apple would have been seen as a genius. Instead they're trying to stop a social media outcry!"

I agree they should have left FCS3 on sale. But I still don't think a name change was really necessary. Or, rather, it got a name change. It's not FCP anymore, it's FCP X. Yes, I know the X is theoretically the version number, but a) that version number is fictitious (it's a 1.0 release of a new app) and b) as with OS X they're going to leave the X there basically forever and just increment the decimal (this is already spelled out in the section of the license agreement dealing with minor/major updates). The X is really part of the name, and is clearly intended to signal the same kind of radical transition as Mac OS X.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Gary Pollard
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 10:26:33 pm

[Jeremy Whaley] "YES - Maybe you are correct that they have a new foundation, but my point is it's a NEW SOFTWARE. Change the name, continue support for FCP7 and Apple would have been seen as a genius. Instead they're trying to stop a social media outcry!"

I thought of this too. But the truth is that if Apple had done this, it would only ever be considered a niche editor and Pros would never have looked at it. It would be denigrated as "Advanced iMovie for the plebs" (as it has anyway).

I don't like the way they HAVE done this, but I see why.

____

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"



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Jim Glickert
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 2:21:32 pm

Thank you very much, Jeremy, for your post. It was extremely well-written and on-target. I have not commented on the Cow regarding the FCP X debacle, but I've been wanting to. My post would have been very much like yours, particularly the idea of naming the new software something other than Final Cut Pro.

What's been eating at me in recent years is Apple's growing arrogance. I don't know if it's a consequence of growing so fast in so few years, or a corporate culture change. It's the perceived attitude of, "We know what product features you should have, so don't bothering telling us what you want." That attitude may work for consumer products like iPods and iPads, but not for professional software products. A debacle like this would result in heads rolling at most corporations.

In the two weeks since FCP X was introduced and this firestorm erupted, I've been hoping that Apple would admit to some big mistakes and begin to try to repair the damage. So far, they've done virtually nothing. Quite arrogant, in my opinion.

Thanks again.

Jim


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Chris Kenny
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 2:42:07 pm

[Jim Glickert] "Thank you very much, Jeremy, for your post. It was extremely well-written and on-target. I have not commented on the Cow regarding the FCP X debacle, but I've been wanting to. My post would have been very much like yours, particularly the idea of naming the new software something other than Final Cut Pro. "

Giving it a different name wouldn't have made much sense. First, the app is, in fact, targeted at the median Final Cut Pro user. Folks doing feature film or broadcast work, like most of us on this forum, just have a very unclear picture or who the median FCP user is.

Second, having shipped an app that targets the median user, Apple is immediately proceeding to fill in feature gaps necessary for our niche markets as well.

Apple should have come out and said, explicitly, from the first day "For this first release we were focusing on foundational issues; we're working on adding support for film/broadcast users now". It would have saved a lot of trouble. But it is now fairly clear that this is what Apple is doing despite the lack of such an explicit statement. And there's nothing especially objectionable about this approach.

[Jim Glickert] "What's been eating at me in recent years is Apple's growing arrogance. I don't know if it's a consequence of growing so fast in so few years, or a corporate culture change. It's the perceived attitude of, "We know what product features you should have, so don't bothering telling us what you want." That attitude may work for consumer products like iPods and iPads, but not for professional software products. "

Apple is very good at understanding what features are necessary for an initial release, and what features can be left for later minor/major releases. They often make very aggressive decisions about what features to leave out of initial releases, and it's not uncommon for them to take harsh criticism as a consequence, and then go on to huge success anyway. In fact, it this happens with virtually every new Apple product release these days. You say this market is different, but that is not at all clear to me.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Walter Soyka
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 5:25:22 pm

Chris, we have disagreed on many things in the past two weeks, but I think these points you've made are right on. I see that a few people have disliked this post, but I hope that they can see that these are true:

[Chris Kenny] "First, the app is, in fact, targeted at the median Final Cut Pro user. Folks doing feature film or broadcast work, like most of us on this forum, just have a very unclear picture or who the median FCP user is."

[Chris Kenny] "Second, having shipped an app that targets the median user, Apple is immediately proceeding to fill in feature gaps"

The big open questions are:
  • How many of these feature gaps will be filled?
  • How long it will take to fill them?
  • What will happen to the disenfranchised FCP users who need these features today?
  • How will Apple's competitors react?
  • Will the "professional" editorial market function differently than the consumer markets do?
  • Will FCPX's crossover appeal continue to affect how Apple develops it?
  • If so, will that harm broadcast/film editors at the expense of larger editorial market segments?


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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James Poll
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 2:58:40 pm

Unfortunately, Apple's arrogance and culture of silence has been around for a while, and it doesn't look like it's going to change any time soon.

Does anyone remember way back when OS X first came out? Apple released a firmware update the was required in order to install OS X. This firmware update had a nasty habit of deactivating any third party RAM that didn't meet the specs necessary for stability in OS X. Now, that isn't a bad thing per se, but *they didn't tell anyone* that they may lose some or all of their RAM by installing this firmware! One user had all his RAM disabled, and his computer wouldn't start up any more. People were freaking out, Apple weren't saying anything,and it wasn't until one lone programmer figured out what was going on, and wrote a small application to check your RAM before applying the firmware update, that Apple bothered to (rather sheepishly it seems) come out and admit what exactly was going on. That whole situation was handled so poorly, and that was the first time I felt Apple really dropped the PR ball.

Since then, the shine has continually been eroded away with other poorly-handled launches. Remember when Snow Leopard came out? All the great changes to the core code... but now half the Mac community had to go out and buy new printers and scanners, because all their old ones were suddenly made obsolete by a re-write of the I/O routines (which seemed to be working just fine beforehand). Again, Apple said nothing and gave no warning that this might happen. Of course, it's all the fault of the third parties for not updating their drivers... nevermind that Apple was the one who forced that particular situation upon everyone - users and developers alike!

More recently we have the Rosetta issue. Unless you are a Mac geek who frequents Mac forums, you aren't going to know that PowerPC support is being flushed down the toilet, because Apple isn't sharing that information with anyone. I can hardly wait until Lion comes out and people like my elderly parents upgrade to Lion, only to find that that old copy of Office 2004 and PowerPC Quicken need to be re-purchased for the new Intel-only world. Suddenly, that $29.99 Lion upgrade is going to cost hundreds of dollars in software upgrades, just like the Snow Leopard upgrade cost hundreds of dollars in printer/scanner re-purchases, just as the OS X firmware update meant buying new RAM for many people.

All this without any warning, no notice, and no response (until the bad PR starts to get to them, of course).

I'm really starting to worry about Apple's direction with OS X as well. You can see how they are turning it into "iOS Pro", and for the first time, I'm really starting to feel like I'm losing control over my computer/digital life. I *like* having a file system that I can control, I *like* being able to manage things myself. By all means, add these great time-saving and ease-of-use features... just give us a freaking override button!! And be more open about what's going to happen when you upgrade your software!

These last couple of weeks have been tough. I've been an Apple pusher since the mid-90s, and have converted pretty much everyone in my family, my girlfriend's family, and many friends to Macs over the years. After the event of the last several years - and the last couple of weeks in particular - I'm starting to wonder if that was all a mistake.

In some ways, I'm really hoping that the Lion launch totally blows up in Apple's face. Maybe then they might finally learn to be a little more open and supportive with their customer base, many of whom have been loyal devotees for many years, if not decades. Somehow, though, I doubt it. Sigh.

Thanks for listening to my rant.


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John Chay
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 2:39:51 pm

I think you'd be pretty safe going with Adobe products. Adobe's life blood are artists. Their focus is on creating software that manipulates pixels while Apple's main focus is selling hardware. Adobe cannot survive without serving the professional artists while Apple could drop FCPX all together and not skip a beat.

Many fear that Apple will also discontinue Mac Pro. This would definitely end the relationship between Apple and professional editors for good.

Good luck.




http://www.john-chay.com

Editor/Videographer


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Paul Escamilla
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 3:14:07 pm

I'm with the OP 100%. I've been an Apple fanboy for 11-12 years, but no longer. I think their days are numbered and I'm considering selling my apple stock while its still worth something.


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Steve Connor
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 5:50:17 pm

I wouldn't sell just yet, I think Apple may just survive this PR disaster.

Steve Connor
Adrenalin Television

Have you tried "Search Posts"? Enlightenment may be there.


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Joseph Owens
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 5, 2011 at 6:28:20 pm

Here's an excerpt from Canada's "Glob & Mail" newspaper (Toronto-based) that was printed in their "Report on Business" insert, March 22, 2011:

It’s a myth that the return of the Prodigal Geek [Jobs] triggered an instant reversal in fortune. In 1997, as the tech industry was soaring, Apple lost more than $1 billion. The iMac gave the company a brief lift, but by the early 2000s, Mac sales had flatlined again. Apple was no longer bleeding, but it still wasn’t very profitable.

What saved Apple over the next few years was not Jobs, but the rampant theft of music online—and the failure of a fat-and-complacent Microsoft to conjure up a device and music service to compete with the iPod and iTunes. The music industry jumped aboard the iTunes phenomenon, in the belief that getting a few dimes from Apple was better than getting nothing from music pirates. Even then, it wasn’t until 2005 that Apple earned a $1-billion profit. This year, profit is expected to crack $20 billion
.


The full article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/is-apple-onc...

WAS published over three months ago, and has, obviously nothing to do with the X-edition of Final Cut. But something is bad at the bottom of that barrel.

I've only been in the Apple game since 2005 (well, after a holiday in-between hand-building an Apple ][e out of a Radio Shack supply) but since coming back, because Final Touch looked like a viable alternative to $1M dollar grade suites, it quickly became apparent to me, and not just this spring, but years ago, that quoting myself ... Apple is going to have to decide if its a computer company or a record store.

Well, I guess they have chosen.

jPo

You mean "Old Ben"? Ben Kenobi?


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eric pautsch
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 6, 2011 at 12:58:52 pm

Pretty much solidified the road I was beginning to take with Apple. I'll never buy another Apple product again.



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Joseph Owens
Re: A bit worried about Apple - would like some feedback
on Jul 6, 2011 at 6:42:27 pm

@ Jeremy.
Here is a solution for your dislike of the Apple Store:
http://www.theonion.com/video/new-apple-friend-bar-gives-customers-someone-...

I'm surprised the Onion hasn't been able to do more with Apple, or maybe its just too easy, like making Broadway.com jokes about Les Mis or Wicked or Phantom.

But this one still resonates:
http://www.theonion.com/video/sony-releases-new-stupid-piece-of-shit-that-d...
Warning:
(Not office friendly).

Oh, and I correct my statement re: Sirius Cybernetics... it was the marketing department who were the bunch of mindless jerks.

jPo

You mean "Old Ben"? Ben Kenobi?


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