The present and future of post production business and technology

Some Final Cut Pro X Data Points

As expected my Monday morning on-the-record briefing with Apple’s Pro Apps team was very similar to Larry Jordan’s the day before. Larry covered the bulk of the content well on his blog post about it, so I don’t feel the need to go over the same data again.

I note Larry’s request for the retention of In and Out points, and that’s certainly desirable. I “banged the drum” (strongly) for selective copy/paste of attributes and was also told the same “the announced features aren’t the only ones we’ll release” response. FWIW, I think FCP X will use a selective copy approach, since you can already select (highlight) just one group of attributes. My interest in the Solar Odyssey project also had me putting in a pitch for sharing an Event to multiple editors working on their own Projects. All we can do is suggest priorities.

But what really stuck out were two data points mentioned in the briefing that Larry didn’t comment on.

There are now more Final Cut Pro X installs than Final Cut Pro 7 installs.

At first I heard it with the generic filter of “Final Cut Pro 7” meaning all previous seats of Final Cut Pro and I wasn’t prepared to believe that, but it was clarified to be specifically Final Cut Pro 7 and I find that quite believable, as I suspect there was not a really strong take up of Final Cut Pro 7. Still, I think that’s a very healthy milestone as Final Cut Pro X is not yet one year old. (I also think Final Cut Pro X has outsold Final Cut Pro 1 at this time in its roll-out.)

That, however, wasn’t the most interesting data point. After all, it’s what’s been happening in the “pro” market that should show up just how much ground Apple have lost, right? Apparently not so much. Apple have long used the SCRI reports as a metric into this market.

Since 1984, SCRI has been publishing syndicated and customized market research reports covering broadcast and professional video for equipment manufacturers, investment firms, trade magazines & associations, investment firms and other industry analysts, including the US. Department of Commerce.

Most importantly: what is the methodology?

The data for the SCRI reports published reports is derived from extensive surveys of US broadcast and professional video users, using proprietary SCRI databases & source lists. For example, the total sample size for the Broadcast / Pro Video Product Report series of reports consists of 1,874 facilities across all vertical markets completing the detailed purchase history and purchase plans questionnaire. SCRI employs quantitative statistical sampling upon which market estimates and forecasts are based — unlike some other firms producing research reports based on limited sampling.

That seems to be the “pro” market I guess. And, not surprisingly, Apple’s market share in the “pro NLE buyers” market (noted above) has dropped. By 3%. From 55% to 52%.

Apple still have 52% of the “pro” market according to this researcher. That will certainly be challenging to those relying on anecdotal evidence from their immediate peer group.

First challenge is that they all purchased Final Cut Pro X “to test it out” and no-one’s using it. Well, Apple have already demolished the “no professional is using Final Cut Pro X” canard the week before NAB with the Final Cut Pro in Action stories. But could it be that only one copy was sold to each facility and that gives them 52% of the “pro” market. I don’t find that particularly credible, given that we know that Bunim Murray alone purchased at least 40 or 50 Media Composer seats in that time.

Logically, I have to take the research at face value (largely because I can’t afford to spend $1450 to buy the full report). Also contributing to the credibility is the detailed description of the methodology and validity of the results. If that was hidden I’d be more skeptical.

The 3% Final Cut Pro X lost in the last year largely went to (no surprise) Media Composer.

So, in the Pro market, Final Cut Pro X – in the last 12 months – has gained the dominant position in the Pro market. (And yes, the figures cover the last 12 months, I checked.)

(I’d also note that this disproportionally disfavors Premiere Pro, which has a wide installed user base, but not so much in broadcast and high end post facilities so far.)









91 responses to “Some Final Cut Pro X Data Points”

  1. Very interesting insight Phillip – and thank you for posting this!

  2. Scott Simmons

    “So, in the Pro market, Final Cut Pro X – in the last 12 months – has gained the dominant position in the Pro market.”

    This would seem the logical conclusion after reviewing the reports and Apple’s discussion about them. But I’m still hard pressed to find many people using FCPx out in the world. Maybe me and my closest confidants run in too “pro” a market but even twitter discussions and LOTS of talk at NAB haven’t revealed many folks using FCPx extensively in the pro market.

  3. Craig Seeman

    Although I get SCRI Newsletter I don’t seem to recall seeing this report but I’ve seen this reported cited elsewhere.

    There’s a lot of fuzz and “middle ground” here without detailed definitions. It may well be somewhere between “bought one copy” and some other number. It may well be that 52% are using one or more copies of X in some capacities but may be far from predominant use.

    Also it’s unclear to me, based on this story, that the 52% isn’t some combination of FCP7 or legacy and FCPX. There may be many facilities still using 7. If the report were restricted to new purchases, depending on the start/end states, there could be a fair number of FCS3/FCP7 sales from Jan to June 2012.

    Basically it’s not clear whether it’s in use vs new purchases and whether it’s number of seats or simply number of facilities.

    1. Philip

      The period covered wasn’t specified, but I’m pretty sure sales of FCS 3 were pretty slow during early 2011.

      This is only new purchases. The other metric covers mixed uses. Number of seats total across all the facility, so Bunim Murray would have counted for 40-50 Media Composer seats, for example.

      1. Craig Seeman

        Thanks. Those are important details.

        It does bring up another thought when looking at the statistics.
        I’ll use an anecdote to explain.
        I spoke to Evan Schechtman @RadicalMedia (Outpost Digital) the night of his Tekserve talk in NYC in the early days of FCPX. He mentioned that he had 30 seats of FCPX in NYC. FCPX was not being used for any paying work at the time. Outpost has 50 seats. So 30 of those seats were likely both FCP7 and FCPX with FCP7 being the only thing used for paying work.

        It might be possible that a good portion of that 52% are also FCP7 seats with 7 being the “in use” version.

        In other words seats may not be exclusive to one or another copy. Of course even if most of those seats are still in the “look see” stage or just being used on a certain case by case basis, that would still be impressive.

        I can’t help but think something like that is occurring (dual version seats) since I think it can explain why people think the numbers don’t work. Basically many facilities have copies of X sitting on their still in use 7 seats. What it does show though is that Apple has established a good beachhead for it to creep back into use.

        This opens another thought on the math. Given Evan’s description would it then be 80 seats with 30 of FCPX or 50 seats with 30 of FCPX. Seat differentiated by the hardware is sits on vs the total number of packages a facility has.

        I’m curious if you think the “non exclusivity” of a seat is creating confusion.

        1. Philip

          I guess a year makes a lot of difference – from having a few seats to experiment with, to making the decision to move over completely to FCP X with 25% of projects already on FCP X:

          Given the scale and scope of that work, the company’s recent decision to switch was one of the most fundamental changes it could make. Housed on several floors of a large industrial building near the Meatpacking District in Manhattan, employs a core staff of more than 150 global employees as well as hundreds of specialized freelancers. So the cutover to Final Cut Pro X required careful planning and thorough testing.

          Schechtman notes that the company has already moved 25 percent of its current projects to Final Cut Pro X, including a high-profile campaign for Grey Goose Vodka and recuts of the film celebrating the 25th anniversary of Paul Simon’s Graceland.

  4. swimtwobirds

    “So, in the Pro market, Final Cut Pro X – in the last 12 months – has gained the dominant position in the Pro market. (And yes, the figures cover the last 12 months, I checked.”

    Phillip – serious to God – are you actually having a laugh?

    1. Philip

      Just provide some factual alternative position. But don’t bother unless you can quote the source and methodology. Otherwise, find the place where you feel SCRI is in error, and argue the case based on alternate data points.

      Or shut up because you don’t have anything to contribute.

      1. swimtwobirds

        Phillip come on – please man,

        “Final Cut Pro X – in the last 12 months – has gained the dominant position in the Pro market”

        you just typed this. It’s up there.

        Phillip – that is a ludicrous statement.

        1. Philip

          I was just interpreting the data I presented. It is a logical conclusion from the data. Whether that feels comfortable to you (and apparently your response is emotional rather than logical) or not, it remains a reasonable summary of the implications of the data presented.

          1. swimtwobirds

            ah would you ever please Phillip.

            God. Can we be straight – this software is not currently in paid professional operation. bar schechtman and three others?

            mate – gaining empirical proof of that fact is equivalent to sticking your head out the door to prove that it is in fact raining.

            nevertheless, for surely pure reasons you wrote:

            “Final Cut Pro X – in the last 12 months – has gained the dominant position in the Pro market.”

            phillip, I can’t – seriously, no one, absolutely no one could take that statement seriously.

            No report, no reality, no post production centre supports that.

            It’s a la-la land statement.

          2. James Culbertson

            Philip, your conclusions, based on the available data, are logical.

            The biggest lesson for me of the last 12 months is that most editors (at least those who care to comment) are not primarily logical. Excessive emotion clouds one’s judgement.

            I’m personally amazed at how quickly FCPX has been added to pro workflows. On the other hand, most freelance editors I know are still using FCP7, and have not paid much attention to all the hoopla.

  5. Jaime Fowler

    I think the key here is to define the word “PRO”. In the real world with complex post production workflows already in place, begging for a “paste attributes” feature that existed long ago and asking for the retention of in and out points on a clip is ridiculous! We don’t wait for development forward when it’s already been done. Studios don’t play these games.

    1. Craig Seeman

      Paste Attributes never existed in FCPX. It’s a new product and on a feature by feature level is still missing features that other NLEs have.

      Given the dateabase/metadata orientation of FCPX, I can guess why that’s still under development. It attribute must be a field in the database and each then spawns a series of relationships in that database. Not only must this be done for those standard to FCPX but for each manufacturer’s plugin and it would seem the plugin architecture itself is still undergoing tweaks.

      The logical progression for a programmer may not be the logical progression for an end user when it comes to feature development. You may not like it but that’s a developer’s reality.

      1. Philip

        Paste attributes has been in FCP X since the first release, but LIke most NLEs it’s not the selective paste we had in FCP 7 and I’d like that back. Right now you can selectively highlight any one set of parameters in the Inspector (try it) but when copy is selected all are copied. It would be some work, but the foundation for selective copy definitely seems to be there, with a little more follow through required.

  6. Markus

    Thanks, Philip, for putting in a pitch for shared Event usage. I think this is hugely important – and not only for the top high-end large facilities.

    Shared storage is becoming cheaper by the day. It’s now easier than ever to shoot with multiple cameras. We all have to do more in less amount of time. And most of all – editing has always been a team effort. At least between an assistant and an editor.

    It would be a win-win for Apple across their wide range of professional editors.

  7. Steve Speed

    Despite being beneficiaries of the FCPX release, Avid shares still plunge.

    Autodesk kicking down the doors with Smoke at an affordable level is only going to heap more trouble on Avid in the editing/finishing space. Symphony at $999 looks pathetic in comparison.

    The rapid addition of features of FCPX must be applauded and has hit a level where people are looking again. A Twitter saved search #FCPX is populated with “FCPX Rocks” which now far outweigh the “FCPX is iMovie on steroids” comments. So the figures are not a complete surprise. The 10.0.3 release was the pivotal moment where FCPX gained acceptance and that acceptance will continue to grow as more requested features arrives. Apple to their credit have moved quickly to answer many criticisms, some fair most not. Highly agile development.

    Multi-user, professional level audio editing and Motion integration/round tripping for when I don’t want to build an effect will map me even happier with FCPX.

    I suspect the next release will be a paid one and I wonder how Apple will prepare users for paying what looks like full price (even though it’s unbelievably fair pricing) for the upgrade? They won’t prepare anyone so we’ll see another perturbation of the Twitterspace when it is released.

    1. Marcus R. Moore

      I’ll eat my hat if 10.0.5 is a paid release. Apple know they have some ways to go before they’ve reached a “functional parity” position between FCP7 and FCPX. And none of the features that have been pre-announced would merit a paid upgrade.

      With NAB now past, I’m more sure than ever of my assertion that we’ll see progressive platform stability and enhancement updates for the next year- from 10.0.5 almost up to 10.0.9. JUN-SEPT-NOV-JAN, or approximately every 3 months.

      By that point the pundits will find it very hard to poke any usability holes in the programs capabilities, and the assertions about what market it was “made for” will long be over. Then, next year at or around NAB, we’ll see the FCPX team unveil 10.1, the first paid upgrade- which will give us a real indication of where the platform is headed.

      But hey, if that happens sooner I’d be very happy to be proven wrong…

  8. Andy Mees

    The phrase “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” springs to mind … but color me surprised anyway, certainly interesting numbers from many perspectives.

    Of course, I’d doubt anyone would be surprised that at USD299 FCP X will have sold in droves, quite possibly at every level of the industry even if most notably at the lower end, although as you noted its not quite as clear whether its actually being used everywhere it has sold. Although not a US firm and therefore outside the scope of the US centric data presented, purely anecdotally, I know we still have a massive FCP Classic install base here and that we also picked up many many new licenses when the opportunity presented … I also know of at least one instance where we bought an FCP X license when a spare Classic license wasn’t available … and that that copy of X has never used.

    As such, if this is any reflection of the US Broadcast and Pro video industry then I suspect it may be too soon for these SCRI numbers to have any real relevance, though one certainly wouldn’t fault anyone, especially not Apple, from leveraging them as best they possibly can.

    For me, the far more relevant info that has come out from these NAB timed “on-the-record” briefings with Apple’s Pro Apps would be the continued indication from Apple that they are not only still listening to their disgruntled Classic user base but (whilst continuing to innovate) they are actively addressing the issues that so many felt needed to be addressed if they wanted to be taken seriously with FCP X.

    As I think I’ve noted before, it’s been my experience that the wheels often turn slowly in many large organisations, Broadcast being no exception. So what remains to be seen is if Apple can turn this around fast enough to stop the rot. I’m buoyed by he noises they are making lately, but statistics wise, I fear it’s going to get worse before it gets better.


    1. Philip

      If they have “no real relevance” why? They are are the most recent in 18 or so years of data. Why would the year before’s data be valid and this last year’s not?

      They are actively addressing the features they perceive as being needed. The addition of an extra viewer window in some circumstances is, as the discussion revealed (because I asked “why?”) is a direct result of feedback from those doing narrative work in FCP X. I don’t think we’ll see them “blindly” following the “needs” only of the small niche in broadcast, but rather what will work best across the entire spectrum.

      However, I firmly believe that Apple expect the “pros”/high end to come across to FCP X when they realize its strengths and perceived weaknesses dissipate over time.

      1. Andy Mees

        Hey Philip

        Thanks for the discussion, its always informative. Regarding my questioning the relevance of this years numbers (vs numbers returned in previous years) that would be in respect to the very apparent dramatic state of upheaval following the introduction of FCP X / EOL of FCP Classic.

        The point I am making is then that large companies with massive infrastructure in place often do not make their decisions as quickly as smaller ones … and the results of such decisions take a good deal of time to percolate down to purchase orders being made, systems overhauls etc. There’s an issue of inertia here, you can’t just stop a ship on a dime. I’m speculating then that the actual numbers being returned to the SCRI during this period, might not yet reflect the actual decisions and longer term directions of all the respondents involved, some yes, but probably not all.

        I realise it’s stating the plainly obvious, but in effect I was suggesting that next years numbers (or possibly the year after) will offer a truer picture of “current” events, and that I suspect those numbers will be less rosy in the short term.

        As you say tho, if and when when angst over perceived weaknesses are proved unfounded … and if the competition simply fails to compete (not least on perceived price) … then all bets are off. Apple are no strangers to building success.


        1. Philip

          Andy, it’s a very specific measure: Purchases during the study period (which is presumably 2011) in high end post houses. Actual purchases. Not intention, not planning. As it has been for 18 years SCRI call post houses and broadcasters and ask them if they purchased any NLE seats, and if so, what did they purchase. Add them up, divide into percentage and that’s what is reported.

          It’s really not complex and it’s not what people seem to think is being claimed.

          1. Andy Mees

            Sorry Philip,

            With the greatest respect that seems like a slightly obtuse response. I didn’t realise that basic maths was the point we were discussing, I thought we were discussing statistics.

            The probably overly simplistic point I was trying to make is that the state of uncertainty and upheaval in the market over the last year, combined with corporate inertia and other such factors, will almost certainly have distorted the very specific data that the report presents. You state that “it’s really not complex” … then I’m guessing you’ve never studied numerical analysis and statistics! I’d submit that it’s a good deal more complex than the above particularly axiomatic interpretation of the numbers suggest.

            As for “what people seem to think is being claimed”? Well you do conclude your piece with the bold claim that: “… in the Pro market, Final Cut Pro X – in the last 12 months – has gained the dominant position in the Pro market”. I know that you pride yourself on being a logical rather than emotional guy Philip, but this seems like an emotionally based conclusion. The numbers are the result of a very specific (ie limited) measure but the your conclusion in this post does not appear to be similarly limited.

            It’s just my 2c. I appreciate your perspective and always enjoy reading your articles.

  9. Thanks for the numbers Philip.
    Very Interesting figures. I see more and more editors use it, talk about it.
    It’s also incredible that some pro ppl, just can’t seem to understand that this is good software. and it’s getting better pretty fast.
    I said it quite a few times before, and these numbers support it:
    There are more FCPX editors out there, than what the industry thinks.

  10. Lindebrings Laurent

    Philip, thanks as usual for your work.
    Numbers are numbers and real world can’t be deeply describe by them.
    As 0.3 was to me the first real version of FCP X, I think it is wise to wait one more year from there to have a clear view of Pro-market use.
    FCP X have strong competitors (A- vid, dobe, utodesk) out there. I feel like in the middle of 90’s when every companies were fighting against AVID dominance. A lot of corpse in the end ! I was using Media 100 before using FCP 1.5.
    Today I use FCP X as an independant pro editor.

  11. As anApple certified trainer, we were having trouble selling FCP 7 classes for the past 2 years. We are now selling out FCP X classes. I can assure all of you that at least half of every class I’ve personally taught are seasoned professionals who are very happy with FCP X, and excited about its growth. I am currently consulting for 3 major facilities who are making a transition from FCS 3 to FCP X/Motion 5/Compressor 4.

    I have heard similar stories from other trainers and consultants.

    Thus I can assure Swimtwobirds he is very off base and speaking emotionally with not a single fact to back himself up. Yes, it is a Pro product, it is being used Professionally more and more. Yes, there is a “transition” from 7 to X. I’d love to know how many copies of 7toX have sold, just out of curiosity.

    Thanks for this report Philip!

    1. Chris Wilby

      Thanks to both you and Phil for some objective common sense. A year on and people still, still hate Apple for having the temerity to produce FCPX. Fears a strange thing…

      1. Marcus R. Moore

        …and this will go on LONG past any rational point of argument. The feature cutoff for “Pro” will keep shifting, just out of FCPX’s reach…

        People felt burned, and in a lot of cases, fairly legitimately.

        To be perfectly honest, I think Apple could still be much more open than they are. Right now they’re mostly reinstating features that didn’t make the original release, or features that other NLEs already have (though bringing them back in bigger and better forms). So it would be great if they were less cagey about release timeframes. That the 4 features Apple pre announced are simply earmarked for “2012” seems unnecessarily vague. 10.0.5 in “June” would have been a nice definitive statement that’s not TOO specific.

    2. Philip

      Unfortunately App Store rules prevent developers sharing information. But there’s still a very significant upside to future 7toX sales, if I can put it that way (compared to the million or so seats of FCP 1-7), but at the other end, it’s sold quite well. (It hasn’t yet returned the development cost)

    3. Scott Simmons

      “I have heard similar stories from other trainers and consultants.”

      I’ve heard similar too but oddly enough, actual editors out freelancing in the market and working in the field aren’t seeing FCPX in a dominant position. In fact they are barely seeing it at all. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t purchased, it means it isn’t being used.

    4. Andi Moepse

      Sorry, Ben, but as much as I agree that X is on it’s way to redefining the NLE and will *no doubt* find back to it’s original glory, I call you on your training claim and can only assume you’re making it up as you go along. Because I, too, am an ACT (as you never fail to mention of yourself) of over 6 years and trainings have dropped to NEAR ZERO over the last 18 months. And I speak for a plethora of other ACTs and even mentor trainers all over the world, that can e.g. be seen confirming that in Facebook groups and other lists etc. The best that any ACT I know has been able to do is an occasional ONE-ON-ONE for X but near ZERO groups of any kind. So unless you live in some bubble excluding you from reality, I think you might want to stick to said reality and and just make up stuff to make a point.

      And until FCP X in fact establishes itself *far* more securely in the “pro” world, where the only people live that are willing and able to pay 3-5 times the cost of the software itself for training, that isn’t going to change either. So let’s not prevent it has.

  12. Philip

    I think like all developers, Apple are reluctant to say “June” even if that’s their target because schedules slip, something turns out to be harder than anticipated, bugs are harder to squash, etc.

    Remember, being given any insight into future directions is a very big departure from the past. They also made it clear that these were not the only features, but merely the ones they are prepared to talk about.

    1. Marcus R. Moore

      I guess I’m just a bit confused by the wording of their messaging. If it’s odd for Apple to provide roadmaps to their future releases (which it unquestionably is- the ONLY other place this happens is with OSX and iOS developer previews), then it’s positively bizarre that they’d provide a list of feature that won’t necessarily even be in the NEXT update.

      If the past release schedule is ANY indication, then we’ll see at least 3 to 4 10.0.X releases of various degrees through the rest of 2012.

      I guess they’re messaging would have more consistent if they’d busted talked about 10.0.5 features, rather than “2012” features.

      Who knows… all this talk about “2012” could just be covering their butts, and all the features listed are in fact planned for 10.0.5, leaving the rest of the year for even more…

  13. Greg

    Retention of in and out points seems like a reasonable request, except that FCPX doesn’t do in and out points in the traditional way. In FCP Legacy you could have exactly one in point and one out point on a clip. In FCPX you can have any number of ranges on a single clip. To “retain” ranges you mark them as favorite or put a keyword on them. So when reviewing clips press I to mark in, O to mark out, then F to mark as favorite and retain the selection.

    1. Andy Mees

      Don’t know about that Greg, given the database model and its ability to store multiple marked I/O’s within any given clip as favourites, then it would seem that retention of the (currently selected) in and out point would be supremely easy to implement if there was a will to do so … it is no more than an internal transparent retention of those currently selected points as a favorite (the current favorite if you will). On the face of it its doesn’t seem like it would be much of a stretch.

      1. Philip

        Actually it would be more difficult than you think as it’s a desire to a throwback of a design that only allowed one in and out on any give clip. FCP X has unlimited in and out via keywords.

        Therefore an old-style I and O retained would be a backward step. As Greg said, if it’s important range to be retained, throw a favorite or keyword on it.

        And non-programmers generally have a very bad idea of how much work something is to implement.

        1. Craig Seeman

          Maybe convoluted but I wonder if there were an “auto favorite” feature if you moved to whatever other function that would currently lose the range, that would work. In other words if you “go away” and “come back” the last selected range in the Event Browser would be “favorited.”

          1. Andy Mees

            “And non-programmers generally have a very bad idea of how much work something is to implement.”

            No doubt. But fwiw I am one (or have played one on TV).

            “Therefore an old-style I and O retained would be a backward step.”

            That’s more bizarre non-logic Philip. The idea of a persistent marked range (you can call it a favourite if you like) that I outlined above is far from a step backward, it simply provides additional, practical and (judging from user reaction) expected functionality using the model that is already in place. It only requires the will to implement it on Apple’s part.

          2. Philip

            A single persistent I/O would get in the way and conflict with all the other ways of setting persistent I/O – favorites and Keyword ranges. I just can’t believe people are so backward looking.

        2. Andy Mees

          Totally understand that you have your own working preferences Philip. Would you be willing to describe exactly how, for you, allowing a transparently persistent I/O would get in the way, and in what way (let alone all other ways) it would conflict with current methods of making range based selections? For a user, I’m trying envisage a scenario where such an action would have an obvious downside, and I dare say one does exist, but I’m having a brain fade and just not seeing it … on the whole it adding the function just seems to offer potential for enabling even more dynamic workflows without hampering any of the existing ones that FCPX already offers us.

          1. Philip

            From the programming point of view you’d have to create a third category to go with “Favorite” and “Keyword Range” that would be “Persistent I/O” points. How do they relate to the other two? Are you prepared for a complete rebuild of the database structure to accommodate it?

            What happens when a Favorite and I/O range coincide (there’s an existing bug related to two keyword ranges covering exactly the same frames losing notes, for example).

            In FCP 7 a persistent I/O selection made sense, as it was (other than subclips) the only way to note a range on a clip. In FCP X there are unlimited ways (unlimited favorites, unlimited keyword ranges) that do exactly the same function.

            In my opinion it’s a throwback thought for people who haven’t yet made the mental transition to FCP X.

          2. Andy Mees

            Now we’re getting somewhere. So your objection is mostly from an “as someone who oversees developers, in my opinion, it seems like it would be too much trouble to accommodate such a feature, especially so given that there are other ways of working which obviate the need for it” perspective … rather than from an actual user perspective looking at the feature in and of itself. Ok. I get that, and can perfectly well understand that perspective. I just wanted to be clear that persistent I/O functionality, whilst drawing from the past, is not in itself, or by design, either “backward looking” or a “backward step” … rather it provides potential for a positive enhancement of the existing feature set, it’s just not in the current design.

            “From the programming point of view you’d have to create a third category to go with “Favorite” and “Keyword Range” that would be “Persistent I/O” points. How do they relate to the other two?”

            I’d suggest that a “Marked Selection” category would relate to the two, no more than those two already relate to each other. The unique feature of the category, unlike “Favorite” and Keyword” would be that each clip would/should only ever have one instance of it, and that the instance would be unique from a “Favorite” in that it requires no specific user interaction to define and/or redefine. In the Event Browser, such an I/O need not be displayed as any thing more than the range selection itself when the clip is selected, though I dare say it could be also displayed, if and when defined, as a “Marked Selection” item.

            “Are you prepared for a complete rebuild of the database structure to accommodate it?”

            Is it your feeling that Apple’s FCPX designers have built the entire FCPX database model in a rigid or inflexible (and unrelational) manner? As someone not entirely unfamiliar with forward thinking relational database design, I suspect that the complete rebuild you image is far from necessary … programming the new feature, yes of course, database redesign, absolutely not.

            “What happens when a Favorite and I/O range coincide (there’s an existing bug related to two keyword ranges covering exactly the same frames losing notes, for example).”

            Nothing happens. Just as it shouldn’t. If there’s an existing bug (for whatever reason) then obviously it needs to be fixed … but thats not your point. Does this current problem happen if one defines a Keyword Range and a Favorite covering the exact same frames, or only where two keyword ranges coincide? If the latter then the issue should be moot as by design there can/should only ever be one Marked Selection for any given clip.

            “In my opinion it’s a throwback thought for people who haven’t yet made the mental transition to FCP X.”

            Haha …well, yeah, I think I got that. For what it’s worth, in my opinion, this current lack of function is a failure in thought at Apple. The reality for me is that it’s all about preservation of metadata … and currently the marked selection is metadata that FCPX is entirely failing to preserve. Even for those who have already made the mental transition to X, there are still features (and yes, even ones that may harken back to features of earlier NLE incarnations) that can provide *additional* functionality. Is that really a bad thing?

          3. Philip Hodgetts

            Andy, the more we’ve thought and talked about this, the more Greg and I are convinced that it is a deliberate decision to NOT have In and Out points. The more we’ve talked about it, the more we realize how impossible it would be to code around, but much more importantly how complex this would become for users.

            You have keyword ranges on a clip, and some favorites. Now you want to have FCP X automatically retain In and Out points. OK, what’s the relationship to the keyword currently highlighted? Does FCP X edit the keyword range to the Project, or the In/Out range? Or some intersection of the two? When does I/O take precedence over a Favorite or keyword range?

            It becomes an incredibly complex matrix of when one takes priority and in an app, from a company where the main focus is “simplify”, that would be anathema.

            The more we discussed it last night, the more obvious it was that this is a deliberate decision and that it is the right decision.

            Adding it adds way too much complexity and that’s against Apple’s design aesthetic. (Marketing building at Apple has a sign in lobby “Simplify, Simpify, Simplify” with two of the three crossed out).

            If a range is of interest, then you decide in which way it will be retained – favorite or keyword range. It’s one extra keystroke at worst and it avoids a lot of messy complexity that isn’t needed by those who understand that paradigms have changed.

          4. Andy Mees

            Philip and Greg, thanks for bothering to expend some brain cycles on the subject, it’s appreciated. I may not agree with your final conclusion (that preserving ad hoc I/O selections should not be implemented for sake of simplicity) but I do have to concede that it has the potential to be a more complex issue than first meets the eye.

            With my programmer hat on, yes, I completely agree that when designing an application one might necessarily limit excessive options on the front-end in order to keep it’s operation clear and simple, and as you say, it’s possible that Apple decided that persistent I/O’s was something that they felt could and should be eliminated for that reason alone. But conversely, with my user hat on, it’s just not something that I would have wanted eliminated in a high end NLE. As I noted before, its metadata (in this case it’s data that describes my conscious selection decisions) that is not being retained.

            “Ok, what’s the relationship to the keyword currently highlighted? Does FCP X edit the keyword range to the Project, or the In/Out range? Or some intersection of the two? When does I/O take precedence over a Favorite or keyword range?”

            Good point. This begs the question of whether one should, for simplicities sake, limit I/O persistence to clips only, rather than both clips and ranges (range clips). At present, in basic terms, we have Events that hold Clips, and Clips that hold Ranges, of which there are currently two explicit varieties, Keywords and Favorites.

            If we limit persistence to full clips only, then the simple addition of a new (implicit) “Marked Selection” range category should easily allow for I/O persistence, but it would be limited to real clips only, not range clips. Would that be enough? Well, it would be a good start, it would preserve some of those otherwise lost decisions, and it would intrinsically bypass some of the perceived precedence of operation issues that you note when dealing with such selections within ranges.

            But limited persistence would be kind of clunky, and clunky is not really Apple’s style. Users would likely be confused by the lack of uniformity of the function. So how could or should I/O persistence be handled on keyword and favorite range clip instances? Well yes, obviously to allow such operation would mean that the event database model need the capacity to actually store the data to describe a single sub-range within any given parent range clip. Obviously I’m not privy to the current database model itself, it may be that the capacity to do that is already present in the design, or it may be that it would need to be added. That would certainly be an important factor in any decision of if and/or when to add such a feature, but I’m not sure that’s really the issue in our discussion of the feature itself.

            So lets speculate that the capacity to preserve selection data within a range is already present, or may be added. How would or could it be displayed? Well using the current design, on an inactive clip or range I would suggest a yellow bar running across the upper edge of the tile might visibly delineate an extant selection; on an active clip the selection would simply be shown as normal for ant selection, with a full (yellow) bounding box. What about precedence of operation? Programmatically speaking, it’s just a matrix for conditional function, which is a fundamental part of the structure of any sophisticated program’s operation … regardless of that, I’d argue the actual question of precedence in this case is already moot as it is already defined. If one makes an I/O range selection within a specific instance of any range clip, and then immediately performs an edit using that source, then it is the marked selection that will be used. It should be no different if or when working with a clip, range based or otherwise, containing a pre-marked (persistent) selection. Why should it function any other way? Of course, should the concept of persistent I/O’s actually ever be reintroduced in FCPX, one could conceivably add a user preference to dictate ones preferred precedence of operation (or indeed, to turn off I/O persistence altogether).

            You know what? Ten minutes with yourself & Greg in a room with a white board and some colored markers (or a couple of hours in a bar with a big enough beer mat and some crayons) and I reckon I could convince you both that this could and should work … or at the very least we could get amiably drunk whilst I tried. In the meantime, the extra keystroke isn’t that hard … even if I can’t seem to I, O, F my preferred selection within an existing favorite.

          5. Philip

            Actually it does present problems with the database model as well. Ranges and Favorites are a one (clip) to many (ranges) relationships. Persistent I/O is a one to one relationship. That makes the database model complex.

            I do NOT want persistent I/O. I think it would be a dreadful mistake, be backward looking and really mess up FCP X’s design. I would not be interested in even spending one further brain cycle on the subject as it would be so very, very wrong! 🙂

            Now if you want to help resolve shared events, copy/paste selected attributes, help design an audio mixer, or any of the other things FCP X still lacks, then that’s a great place to put effort. To force an old paradigm into the new design to the detriment of the design, is not something I think should take a single moment of thought.

            Saving that one keystroke that would show your intent and retain it (as you say) is exactly the right design in FCP X. It’s you that needs to spend the brain power you’re wasting on this on adapting.

          6. Andy Mees

            “I do NOT want persistent I/O … I would not be interested in even spending one further brain cycle on the subject as it would be so very, very wrong! ”

            Ok I concede. It’s pretty clear the 10 minutes in a room option isn’t going to work, but let’s at least leave the bar option open, just in case.

            “It’s you that needs to spend the brain power you’re wasting on this on adapting.”

            Hee. Nothing’s wasted, I spend far too much time sitting in a dark edit suite with no windows, at least my brain can get a work out.

            Thanks again for the discussion Philip, it was fun.


  14. Jeff Handy

    And still Apple has no new Mac “Pro” to be seen. Shame – I hope that changes before I hire my new editor. If not, my new editor could easily see an HP workstation with CS6 on their new desk. Thanks to your (and other) XML-based tools, I’m confident we can make a big switch if we need to.

    1. Philip

      Data point from NAB: After vehemently telling me that he couldn’t live without a MacPro, Shane Ross comes up to me and says “I don’t think we need a Mac Pro anymore” on the AJA stand. He’d seen what’s happening across NAB and realized the ultimate need for the MacPro is shrinking day by day. It’s really *only* CS users that want NVIDIA hardware support that are affected. I can put 16GB of RAM in a Mac mini or laptop. Smoke on Mac no longer needs Mac Pro for the 2012 version; Adobe are supporting hardware OpenCL support (limited to current MacPro generation) and planning to do more in the future, removing even that need.

      I think Apple have also decided that we don’t need the MacPro any more, but that is not official.

      1. Jeff Handy

        So are GPU options (and PCIe expansion on a grander scale) insignificant to Apple’s new paradigm, then? It wouldn’t surprise me, though it would disappoint.

        1. Philip

          PCIe expansion is to happen over Thunderbolt. That will be the trend on PC and Mac – slots will go away completely over the next couple of years on all platforms as TB matures.

          OTOH, the GPU in the current iMacs is socketed, a change from previous models where it was soldered in. If the GPU was available in that socket format…

          The next generation of TB will be fast enough to accommodate a GPU in an external enclosure. Apple will just be pushing a little ahead of that curve, as they so often have in the past.

          1. Philip

            Even now, slots are *only* required for GPU expansion. I/O, storage, and Fiber channel networking can all be handled right now on TB.

          2. Andi Moepse

            I think you’re a tad ahead of Apple there, Philip. My info says that the next gen TB is already going to be in the next iMacs, but will only DOUBLE the bandwidth, meaning *20*Gb, which is still not sufficient enough to run external GPUs. So that need will continue to exist… for some. But I also don’t see Apple putting out another Mac with a tower form-factor, since that also strikes me as completely nonsensical, given the the lack of actual NEED for it.

        2. Chris Wilby

          I think I saw somebody had released an expansion case with thunderbolt connection at NAB? Stick that on a iMac and presto!
          And while their at it they could release a new iMacPro Editon with an high def screen. I love my early 2008 MacPro tower but…

          1. Philip

            There are a couple of TB expansion chassis either announced or shipping, but the limitation is the 3.5 PCIe lane equivalent of 10 Gbit connection. GPUs tend to need 16 lane connectivity (16×3 or 48 Gbit) which is within the capability of the next generation of optical TB (at 100 Gbit.)

          2. Philip

            Also there was a specific Red Rocket TB chassis announced Sunday night on

          3. Philip

            The 20 Gbit version is the same one we have now, just a second generation. It’s not the next full iteration not due until 2013 or 2014.

  15. While I certainly agree that the 52% number can seem substantial, I still am not sure how much that number can be then extrapolated into it being in a “dominant position”. The numbers don’t lie about people’s curiousity certainly, but I don’t know that it means that all those people use it. Personal example: I have a CPU with Avid 5.5, FCP7, FCPX, and Adobe CS5.5 all installed on it. By the measure that this report is citing, I should count as an install and thus “market share” for every app. Truth is, thought, that I barely use FCPX and Adobe. Shouldn’t we be measuring this differently?

    Just one guy’s thoughts.

    1. Philip

      You do not count at all in the 52%. It is, as I pointed out, specifically about purchases in broadcast and high end post, and new purchases in the study period. So, unless you’re a major post house (and got a phone call from SCRI) and unless you purchased every one of the apps in the study period, then you are not part of that 52% of new purchases in high end post and broadcast.

      It’s a very specific metric, and doesn’t tell us anything other than a majority of the seats of NLEs purchased in that market in the study period were FCP X.

      And no, by that metric, you would not be counted.

  16. Art Bell

    I am part of the ’52 percent’ because i bought it. But that does not mean i make my living on it.

    However, If we are still at the level of whether a ‘pro’ linear editing program requires in and out points we know that this is not a pro tool yet.

    1. Chris Wilby

      Lack of ‘in and out’ points = not ‘professional’. I feel Art, that you and logic are uneasy bedfellows… If people use this lame excuse for not using FCPX, I feel sorry for them – seriously! :-))

    2. Greg

      I, O, F – it’s that simple. Or, to paraphrase Beyonce, if you like it then you should have put a keyword on it!

      1. Chris Wilby


    3. Philip

      You are NOT part of the 52% Art because you are not in a high end post house or broadcast facility (that I know of). This is a very specific measure. Either you were called by SCRI and included or your facility was not called and is not included.

      1. Andi Moepse

        If only we knew by which criterium they even selected the ones to call, which ones they in fact called and if any of them were even *outsdie the US*, which would make a *huge* difference for a lot of people.

        C’mon, with your earnings from 7toX buying the research papers should be lunch-money!! Then you could give us the tasty details!! 😉

        1. Philip

          $1400 remains way too much to pay for a report that I can’t use to generate any income. (It still has not recouped development cost, btw.)

          What I find so surprising is that SCRI have been doing this same research every year for the last 18 years, and it’s never been questioned or “controversial” until now. When it doesn’t fit what people want to believe.

          1. Scott Simmons

            The reason it’s controversial now is that the results don’t fit what most people are seeing in the real world. That’s why it’s important to cut through the reality distortion field and identify that while the numbers might be legit as far as PURCHASERS the actual USE of all those purchases is a different story.

        2. Greg

          U.S. only. From

          The data for the SCRI reports published reports is derived from extensive surveys of US broadcast and professional video users, using proprietary SCRI databases & source lists. For example, the total sample size for the Broadcast / Pro Video Product Report series of reports consists of 1,874 facilities across all vertical markets completing the detailed purchase history and purchase plans questionnaire.

          1. Philip

            It is specifically purchases in a very specific set of post houses and broadcasters. It doesn’t say anything other than more of those people have purchased FCP X in the time period than purchased any other NLE seat.

            If it was only 1874 seats of FCP X, that represents 52% of their purchases. So Avid’s 25% is what, 900 seats? Contrast that with close to 15,000 seats of Media Composer (Net revenue*11% NLEs share (down again from 13%) allocated half to consumer half to MC (No idea what the proportion actually is, if you know let me know and recalculate) and divide by $2500.)

            By that metric, fewer than 10% of Media Composer seats are to professional installations?? That is the uncomfortable other end of the assertion that it was one seat of FCP X for each respondent, for trial purposes alone.

  17. Great article which highlights an issue in our space, our industry is relatively small, not big enough to sustain multiple analysts and therefore getting accurate, unbiased details on large companies that are publicly held can be tough in a tightly regulated space; as such, getting a sense of who is winning and losing can be a mix of both perception and reality.

    With that as a backdrop I wanted to provide my biased (as an Adobe employee) perspective based on what we’ve seen in the market over the last couple of years.

    With FCPX Apple has made the price point nearly irrelevant for any user who is willing to invest in a video capable DSLR as well as their Mac, they are carving out a new prosumer / consumer business for themselves, and one that will continue to grow; however, with the way that they launched FCP-X and deprecation of their existing interchange formats at that time like FCP.XML which formed the backbone of many workflows has resulted in any ‘enterprise’ post or broadcast customers looking for a new solution. Apple has never been open about their roadmaps, but historically when each release built upon the last and had a professional logic and coherence – this was an acceptable practice. With FCPX that trust was completely broken on top of the changes to workflow the upgrade imposed. Most professionals in our experience want a company the can partner with and plan their future with confidence. The IABM in a report last year stated clearly that profitability/growth in this segment was associated with companies with “Clear strategic positioning and direction”; Adobe’s Professional video vision is public – just view our SVP and GM Jim Guerard here:

    This clarity of vision and focus has helped us expand our business rapidly. We now have the largest number of editing seats in the world ~2.5 million and our business is growing at an incredible pace – in 2010 22% overall and 45% on the Mac platform if you carve out that part of the business, in 2011 we grew 21% overall and 44% on the Mac. The majority of that accelerated growth comes from Broadcasters – CNN, BBC, Bloomberg International, Hurst, Media General, etc. Why are these growth numbers important? Because they are hard won. Adobe services the professional content creation tools market – which globally is not high growth – so we can’t support our sustained level of growth by only servicing new seats. This means the majority of Adobe’s growth comes from competitive switching -and lots of it. Avid quoted that during their post FCPX promo period they switched 6,000 seats, whilst I can not disclose the actually number of seats won, I can say it’s in the 10’s of thousands and a multiple of the Avid number. Premiere Pro is rapidly becoming the ‘Photoshop of Video’ – a professional toolset that you can start your career with and continue to work with for your entire life. Our customers are cranking out amazing work every day and guide our development focus – a recent example can be found here showcasing a world class video music video cut on Premiere Pro CS6 by a Media Composer editor.–1300.mp4
    (click on the bottom right video)

    So back to Apple FCPX – do I anticipate seeing it on virtually every Mac install of Premiere Pro? Probably, the price is nearly irresistible – will it be the fundamental tool of broadcasters and large scale post – I don’t believe so.

    Adobe is open with our roadmap, engaging our customers in dialog to make it better; our products are platforms with a vast array of partners making them stronger, our solutions are best in class for content creators and that’s before you start to explore the ways in which our end to end monetization tools can help content owners not just survive, but thrive in this new digital age.

    Please take my comments as only an opinion in an age of rapid change; we look forward to continuing the dialog. Thanks for putting your ideas out there to spark the conversation.


    Bill Roberts
    Director of Product Management – Pro Video
    Adobe Systems

    1. Philip

      Thanks for joining the conversation Bill and providing Adobe’s perspective. I don’t know if you’re a regular reader of this blog but I’m also a big fan of what Adobe has been doing, particularly with metadata and have written very positively, most recently


      1. Yep – do follow you, long time lurking, first time posting! I/we appreciated the comments on metadata – the value of which I believe the industry is only beginning to understand – both for production and long term asset management.

        1. Steve Speed


          After nearly a year of using FCPX I succumbed to trying Premiere Pro, to see if there was any merit in the Twitterati’s praise.

          I have to say it certainly looks different than the last time I used it but that’s the only positive thing I can think of to say. Dated and bloated are words that immediately spring to mind.

          By taking the brave decision to create their own year zero and strip out the crud and build the application from a solid foundation Apple have made huge leaps ahead. For instance the Multicam feature, leverages key building blocks in the FCPX foundation to deliver best in class multicam. The best multicam implementation I have used on any NLE. Give FCPX 2 years and expect further best in class features to arrive. When the competing applications are feature parity it then becomes a choice of the old way vs the new way.

          IMHO Adobe has catered, in the short term, for the market sector that feels they need to have pages of preferences or options in order to feel in control. FCPX feels sparse in comparison but this is a strength rather than a weakness.

          I am currently enjoying the Zen of Editing with FCPX clean and free from bloat and the features that are being added bring function not bloat. I liken it to the day I switched from PC to OS X, no longer was I using an OS with visual clutter, the completely annoying “helpful alerts” taking my attention away from work no longer there. I had more headspace and that’s how FCPX feels to me now.

          Adobe do please enjoy your successes because they’ll likely be short lived as there’s a growing mass of not yet pros who are enjoying FCPX and growing with it as it itself is growing and when they hit the workplace they won’t want to turn the clocks back 10 years.

          Following #FCPX on twitter is illuminating, yep you still see “this magnetic timeline is sh1t” from a new user who hasn’t found the position tool yet. But this is one of the best sources of feedback. You see many “Downloading FCPX” followed by “Wow, this isn’t a bad as they made out.” To me this speaks volumes.

          High speed internet is changing how we all work, institutions like the BBC will down size and there won’t be the big institutional multiseat site deals to be had any more. Editors will be able to work at home on whatever NLE they like.

          So, for me the real interesting figures will be all the not currently professional editors who have bought and using FCPX vs the competition, the next wave of creative people. That’s where the battle really is.

          1. Andi Moepse

            EXTREMELY well put, Steve. Agreed on ALL points. I, too, recently had to do a show on PP (again) and was just flabbergasted at the overall poor handling of things even legacy FCP could wipe the PP floor with. I was hoping *not* to see Adobe as a mere PR-machine with their constant touting of their elongated feature-list anymore, but rather real *substance*, not just “impressive numbers”, but couldn’t. Hooray! They cut RED 4K natively! Yeah… so? What an impressive additional bullet-point for said feature-list… just too bad NO ONE in their right mind would actually ever do it!

            EVERY Adobe app has become utter bloat-ware, merely for the sake of mindless feature-list padding, not real, sensible substance IMO… “longer is better”! Instead of truly refining *available* features, such as their “multi-cam” which is even frighteningly bad (if not in fact functionally WORSE) in CS6! Nope, gotta get 4K in there and video editing into Photoshop… what??! *bloat*

            And really? Taking your RECENT rise in sales of PP (or should we say the *Production Premium*??) as any measure of rising success, is just ridiculous. That’s the same as AVID claiming to be doing just dandy (for the first time in over *five years*!) because of earnings… after hawking MC and Symphony for panic-prices. Why? Because Adobe did the exact same as we know and even *I* bought a cross-grade (for everything BUT Premiere), since I’d have been an idiot not to, seeing that the AE license in itself was a steal, let alone the rest… so speaking of “reality-distortion field”… wow.

            I’d even go SMOKE before I ever went PP… and that’s saying something.

            It may take a little longer than hoped (be it because of the ad hominem bs spread around or the unfortunate handling of the release), but I am more than certain that FCP will find back into far more than just the “pro” (whatever that is) market, far better and decidedly than ever before. It’s the *only* NLE at the moment with it’s sights on the *future* as opposed to being tangled up in trying to pander to the has-beens, just because they’re the most vocal whiners.

            Kudos to Apple for being the only ones with the Maracas big enough to refresh and, yes, *redefine* an aging and nonsensical paradigm for an entire profession. Once again. Scoff al you want… and be left behind.

          2. Chris WIlby

            Andi, have you been reading my mind? 🙂

    2. Chris Wilby

      What have you actually done with the BBC? I’ve seen this mentioned so many times yet, not once has anybody come up with anything concrete. I’m over here in the UK and every time I see an edit bay on the BBC its either got Media Composer of FCP7 running in the background. I remember that congenial bluffer, Richard Harrington, mention something about the BBC, yet no facts. Do you care to enlighten us all?

      1. “congenial bluffer”?

        Well aren’t we in a good mood.

        Vast majority of BBC is doing their offline editing in PP. Look at PP CS6. Look at some of the cool stuff Adobe showed at NAB tied to future.

        I can tell you first hand that some very major broadcasters are switching over…. PP is meeting their needs. I’ve got trips to Atlanta and LA on my calendar already for some consulting and training.

        I used to piss on it too… built my company on FCP since version 1 and had 10 years of history. I saw writing on wall and opened my eyes. I think FCPX is a creative rein visioning that makes many people happy. It didn’t meet my needs and MANY others felt same way. You want to use it… fine.

        But name calling? I guess this must be the Internet. Feel free to call my office if you want to actually talk.

        1. Steve Speed

          “Vast majority of BBC is doing their offline editing in PP.”

          Show this isn’t more congenial bluffing by showing your sources for this statement.

          Statements like these IMHO just show how susceptible and gullible people are to marketing spin.

          The “vast” majority of BBC output isn’t even made at the BBC as anyone who has a license fee can see by the production company logos that appear at the end of the programmes.

          ” I think FCPX is a creative rein visioning that makes many people happy.” What does that even mean? Internet speak for “I haven’t got a clue!” no doubt.

        2. Chris WIlby

          I was being kind Richard when I called you a ‘congenial bluffer’. Your over-heated rant at that meeting (you know, the one that quickly got pulled from the web) was nothing short of comic genius IMO – I salute you…

          Yet again you make the statement that ‘the vast majority’ of the BBC is editing with PP; no facts to back that, just your word for it. Sorry mate, but I’m the sort of chap who likes facts; and that is obviously a big difference between us.

          I’ll be happy to chat to you, face to face, but I’m in the UK and you are not. Hopefully I’ll be at the summer FCP meeting in London (or whatever they change the name to!) or even the Amsterdam shindig. Either way, keep up videos, I enjoy them.

  18. Steve speed

    Well said Chris.

    They’ve probably sold into Factual which makes all the crappy segments for magazine programmes where the producer is also director, camera and editor. It’s the ass end of BBC output.

    I too have never seen anything other than MC or FCP or the odd quantel suite.

  19. Charlie

    Well, I’m a “pro” and, despite my initial horror, have just transferred a couple projects to X from 7 (paying projects for major studios) and I’m digging it. A lot. 2 days of “how the f#ck does this work?” and I’m back in the flow. We’ll see if I can get get stuff through finishing… ;-o

  20. Steve Speed

    This is why no one need worry about the loss of the Mac Pro.

    I have been predicting this for some time and here’s the proof of concept.

    iMac + TB extender will be the Mac Pro of the future.

    Anyone want to buy my 12 core?

    1. Andi Moepse

      As much as I’d agree that the tower form-factor makes VERY little sense anymore — and that Apple logically won’t bring another iteration of it — until TB gets a LOT more lanes (like, 5+ times as many!) or Apple comes out with a replacement that both allows for GPU replacement (since GPU power not *CPU* power is, not only due to OpenCL, KEY nowadays) AND has desktop/server grade CPUs at the same time, your idea remains a wet dream. Especially since THAT is most definitely not the replacement of a TWELVE CORE of all things. Get real.

      1. Philip

        Well, the current iMacs have socketed GPUs for the first time. May mean nothing or it may be a pointer.

        Regardless, the future is a world without MacPro towers, regardless of whether or not “the world” is ready for it.

        1. Chris Wilby

          Sadly – I agree… Now bring on that 36″ iPanel for gods sake!

      2. Steve Speed


        I may be wrong but I pretty sure I read that the optical version of TB is coming later this year.

        I anticipate an expander box with several slots will take care of expansion needs we have. Intelsat road map shows my 12 core will be equalled by a single i7 multicore chip very soon.

        We should also remember OpenCL which will play an increasing role in performance on the desktop.

        I think Apple will revolutionise the desktop, if they don’t, who will?

        I’m expecting my 12 core to look decidedly last century sometime soon.

        1. Philip

          The optical version coming to TB later this year is still effectively version 1. It’s the optical version of what we currently have on copper, with about twice the speed on optical. The full, proper next generation (i.e. v2) is still a couple of years away where the data rate goes up to 100 Gbits/sec.

          20 Gbit/sec of the optical iteration is still not fast enough for a 16 lane GPU (16 x 3 requires around 48 Gbits/sec)

          But in general principle, I agree.

          1. Steve Speed


            I’d like your views.

            In one of the proof of concept videos they said the GPU in the expander did not need the bandwidth of a typical GPU because it was only being used to do CUDA calculations because the main GPU in the host is driving the screen. Seems fair enough to a non-programmer, what do you think?

            It seems plausible that this could work and be a benefit even at 20Gbps of course no one disputes 100 Gbps would be game changing. But as an interim measure additional OpenCL compute power via an additional GPU in an expander could be a way forward.

            The new iPad seems to have shifted towards more GPU than CPU so can we expect Apple to shift the desktop in that direction?

            The other interesting point about TB is its networking ability. One could easily daisy chain several computers together for a render farm which would be rather reminiscent of the old transputer design. On iMac and Mac mini prices I could build a faster render farm than my current Mac Pro for a whole lot less.

            I could see the best of both worlds where I have a Macbook Pro I deal for on the go and when I get back to base I simply plug in the TB and I’ve got all the power of a render farm at my finger tips.

            I’m pretty certain we’ve only scratched the surface of TB so far.

  21. Philip

    We’ve only scratched the surface of TB, for sure. As for the specifics of the GPU external – well CUDA only would only benefit Adobe users. Apple users need Open CL support and as near as I can tell that requires full bandwidth.

    Simply put, I think they’re using a little misleading deception. If the bandwidth is constrained, the performance is constrained. Period. Maybe some specific instances work well enough to give it a try but you cannot put 48 Gbit/sec of bandwidth in 10 or 20 Gbit/sec pipe.

  22. saumya

    whatever desktop Apple decides to release, wonder if it will support the existing users (however small in numbers) of resolve, maya, speedgrade, scratch etc, users who need volumes of performance. I wonder if the upgrades are only iMacs, and if they will have pro-level and multiple GPUs and CPUs. or perhaps these can be multiplied using newer external boxes connected via TB?

    1. Philip

      iMacs currently outperform all but the 12 core Mac Pro.