Tim Cook Promises Apple's Priorities Still Include Pros, Hints Promising Updates on Horizon

Tim Cook Promises Apple's Priorities Still Include Pros, Hints Promising Updates on Horizon

Professional users — especially those in creative fields — that have long relied on Macs as Apple's ever-faithful followers have had much to be disappointed by in Apple's latest product releases. The Mac Pro helped alleviate some concerns over Apple's commitment to professional users, but the lack of updates to that line since its launch, the lack of larger or more RAM-crammed MacBook Pros, and the lack of iMac updates altogether bring Apple's commitment to its most loyal user-base into question. Will Apple CEO Tim Cook's recent words be enough to persuade macOS lovers to stay the course?

"The Pro area is very important to us," Cook said during a shareholder-meeting Q&A in Cupertino today. In typical Apple vagueness, he continued, "The creative area is very important to us in particular."

While these are incredibly non-specific comments about Apple's product pipeline for the professional market, Cook gave a more reassuring statement following these:

Don't think something we've done or something that we're doing that isn't visible yet is a signal that our priorities are elsewhere."

With Apple now going on several years without significant updates to its professional desktops, many would be right to question the company's goals for professional products. However, Cook's statements today were the most telling, however vague they may still be and however little we may still know. Naturally, there seems to be something that Apple has done and perhaps yet another "something" that Apple is doing that simply "isn't visible yet."

For the professional Mac users out there, are these comments enough to keep you going? If your attitude is a more patient one, does this give you hope for the near future, regardless of whether you were considering a switch? Or do you foresee more unfulfilled promises? Let us know your thoughts.

[via MacRumors]

Adam Ottke's picture

Adam works mostly across California on all things photography and art. He can be found at the best local coffee shops, at home scanning film in for hours, or out and about shooting his next assignment. Want to talk about gear? Want to work on a project together? Have an idea for Fstoppers? Get in touch! And, check out FilmObjektiv.org film rentals!

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Cook's statements are far from encouraging. Photography has become very dependent on technology. It has made our work flow much more efficient. Without a steady stream of updated equipment and software, we run the risk of falling behind our competitors--depending on just how much technology you use. Since Steve Jobs passed, Apple, in my opinion, has become a ship without a captain...or at least a leader without a vision.
After many years of using Apple products, we can easily amass a large amount of software and hardware that is Apple specific. I cringe at switching from Apple to a Windows based system for many reasons (I'm not going to start a war here). If Apple is not going lead the pack like they used to and not even keep up with the competition, I will seriously consider dumping all of my Apple products.

Steve (while crazy) was a leader and a Visionary. Cook is not any of those..... well maybe he's crazy for thinking he can carry the company.

Steve Jobs could get away with being "crazy" and often a jerk because he was also an exceptional leader and visionary for Apple. The other person in that company that was apparently similar in the same way to Steve Jobs was Scott Forstall, who Tim Cook fired. Software went very noticeably downhill not too long after that.

Does Tim Cook even respond to customer e-mails (sounds ancient to say e-mail so insert Twitter or whatever else in its place) like Jobs used to?

"We're introducing the Dongle Pro and we think you'll love it."

"The creative area is very important to us in particular."

So why did you get rid of Aperture? Why doesnt your company have meaningful communications with them? Maybe even toss them a bone every now and then?

"Don't think something we've done or something that we're doing that isn't visible yet is a signal that our priorities are elsewhere."

Obviously they are elsewhere. You don't go more than three years without updating your top of the line computer if your priorities don't lie elsewhere.

Tim Cook sounds increasingly clueless. I think he also needs to look up the definition of the word "pro."

Apple is alienating even serious amateurs, never mind the pros. The pros and the serious amateurs are the ones that gave Apple the prestige they now take for granted. Those people are the ones that drove the sales by recommending Macs and other Apple devices and software to the general consumer. I don't think he realizes how fine the line can be before a product or service, a company, loses its prestige status. Apple is dangerously approaching that line. Once it goes over that line it may end up in a free fall where most consumers simply see it as just another electronics manufacturer. And what a waste and shame that will be. Steve Jobs must be rolling in his grave.

With the things that windows is doing to their surface line, and then looking at the "innovation" apple has been coming out with, it's clear that they're priorities aren't with what we would call "Pro".

Apple needs to stop being so damn arrogant. Putting out a keyboard for the iPad doesn't mean it's going to be anywhere as functional or relevant as the Surface Pro.

To be fair the iPad Pro is not really a competitor to the Surface Pro. That said, the iPad is still limited to an extent that the word Pro has no business being added to one. I use an iPad mini 4 and my two biggest complaints is the poor Safari which is limited and broken in some ways that years later Apple refuses to address. Then with iOS 10 it is now actually harder to use an iPad than it used to be. More steps to do the same damn things as before and waste screen real estate. It boggles the mind.

I wonder how they're going to weasel their way out if that comical garbage can design...

Actually, it is an excellent compact design. The only real issue with it is not being able to upgrade the video to something with the latest tech. Everything else can be easily upgraded. Of course some people simply do not like the aesthetics of it.

"The only real issue with it is not being able to upgrade the video..."

That doesn't make it so excellent then, now does it? It's especially problematic when all new apps make extensive use of modern GPU power. You can also add a second or even a third GPU to many systems for additional processing capability and efficiency, which you can't do with the Mac Pro.

You also can't add additional storage, requiring you to have external peripherals strewn about. Not so compact any more.

As I said, yes it is an excellent design except for the sole thing I mentioned. Not everyone would require that option.

Most modern apps would also be able to utilize the GPUs in the 2013 Mac Pro. The problem is that GPU support in most non-gaming apps were, and still are, not fully utilized. Photoshop and Lightroom are good examples of that. What that means is that even years old GPUs could greatly enhance and speed up such current apps if Adobe actually took full advantage of them. Meanwhile Lightroom still runs like a slug.

Internal and external storage can be added to the 2013 Mac Pro. OWC provides such upgrades. You can go up to 4TB internally, for example. External storage is easily hidden if one truly wants to, so the Mac Pro remains compact. Having so many ports for external storage actually makes a lot of sense today, considering how fast those ports are. I have multiple drives connected to my iMac and those drives are hidden away and the wires in the back of the iMac are barely visible in the bundle that they are in.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the design. When you pay the kind of money you will for one of these workstations, limitations are not part of being professional. If you're doing any kind of video editing, motion image compositing, or 3D modeling, then the GPU can never be new enough, and you can never have enough of them.

I've been a pretty loyal apple user, but since Steve passed away I feel like the company has stagnated. I'm in the market for a new computer, and am seriously considering jumping ship... Something like the Surface Studio should have been the iMac 2-3 years ago

I still cant believe that the Surface Pro was imagined by Microsoft while the TouchBar was hacked onto a MacBook by Apple. Its just so backwards, but also very telling about who is trying to "Think Different".

I think it's safe to say that most creative professionals and other users are not interested in interfacing with their iMac 🖥 as if it were a Wacom graphics tablet or a kiosk in a museum. Touch screen has it's uses but I don't think general computer use is one of them. Big screen touch would get tiring very quickly.

Touch has its uses but so does every tool. I think the real point of touch is offering us a new tool to use. They still allow the use of a mouse on the Surface Studio because they know it's silly to use touch for 100% of your tasks.

I think many of us are just at a loss watching windows do what apple should have been doing which is offering us more and more advances rather than doing the same old tricks over and over.

Apple started to stall with the inertia of the iPhone. It's become a fantastic distraction from computing. I get it. It would be nice if they'd set up a skunk works of sorts and address computing again. That said, buying a Mac isn't like buying a phone. They're very reliable and I can't imagine replacing a computer every 18 months. The difference in product cycles creates a conflict for the manufacturer.

Meh...dunno what the fluff is about. Virtually no photo software applications are optimized for cutting edge computers. Video software in WINDOWS runs better or worse depending on GPU choice...FCPx is optimized for Macs and runs fast enough.

Desktops are on the way out...

"Virtually no photo software applications are optimized for cutting edge computers."

I addressed that in another post, but it's worse than that. They are not even optimized to take advantage of five year old computers. More specifically the GPUs.

We have done a lot of tests on windows computers with Premiere and the GPU seems to have a lot less affect on the program than processor and specifically number of cores. A beefier GPU can def help with playback but once you throw a 4k clip in the timeline with a simple warp stabilizer or color grade, you almost always have to render that section to get smooth playback. At that point it's all the processor doing the rendering. We've had computers with Dual gfx cards in SLI perform worse than single gfx cards. The processor seems to make the most difference from what we can tell.

I found ...similar but different overall experience with my old i7 rig with a nVidia GPU. Faster clock speed, decent GPU and fast subsystems helps a lot. Beefy power supply..lot's of noise from cooling systems. Still, I found the main issue to be with software.

@Patrick @Leigh Yep. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, companies like Adobe refuse to take full advantage of GPUs. At best they are very slow in adopting GPU support for various tasks and functions and also inconsistent in performance and reliability when it does happen.

When GPU support was added relatively recently to Lightroom you saw some improvement in certain functions while others became much slower. It also took years for even that limited support to make it to Lightroom.

GPU use in Lightroom is a joke...ditto for Capture One Pro. Matter of fact it makes no difference if you have an old 560Ti or a newer GPU...results are pretty much the same. WINDOW DRESSING.

A year or so back I did a review of CO Pro, Lightroom, Olympus Viewer 3 and SIlkypix....all performed best with fewer cores and higher clock speed. The GPU made very little difference.

As for video...your mileage may vary. Premiere will make use of CUDA cores but there is a diminishing point of returns. FCPx is optimized for MAC systems and it will run faster on the MP trashcan than any other MAC system.

Again, it should be software catching up to hardware. That's why I bought my MP...I bought the crap about making software developers improve code to take advantage of it...it still runs like a champ.

New iPhones and iPads are released pretty much every single year. Super expensive MacPro was released almost 4 years ago. I guess you can tell who is their main target audience.

After working on Apple computers for the last 10 years. Last week I decided to jump ship and switched to PC.

It's been a journey Apple and I'm thankful for that.

RIP Steve [*]

Bingo. The phone race is what they care about most.

I think they've moved away from the top tier market and did so for strategy.

I used to love the giant towers, but these trash cans fell short on so many levels.

I think their new strategy is a mental one: Make people think you have the best for the job and the semi-pros will eat it up.

I ask this as an owner of said "trashcan"...exactly how does it fall short?

From my perspective it does everything it was purchased to do and with ZERO downtown for any reason. In fact my only gripe is with Adobe for releasing buggy software that runs even slower than it did 5 years ago. As for video, FCPx crushes 8K video, 4K video barely makes all of the 16 cores move and 1080P just flies by in rendering.

There has certainly been lot's of new products on the Windows side of things...towers packed with more computing power than Photographers/Video content creators can fully realize because the software doesn't take advantage of it...

The trashcan at least has a small footprint with workstation level components...I bet it will run well into the next 4 years without any significant service and Adobe will still be pushing out the same buggy software that runs better on a 4 core processor.

I have a 5930 i7 rig, with a Quadro k4200 card and 64Gb RAM, I had a friend who rendered video on my rig because the MacPro is at least a third slower to render out video and editing for his work is painfully slow. That was a like for like test in Premiere/After Effects.

He had a fully specced Mac Pro which cost three times my rig. He's since sold his Mac and went Linux/Windows. Bang for buck the Mac Pro is a liability for many when time is money especially in a system agnostic workflow.

Mac=FCPx PC=Premiere Pro....the small differences in render times...meh. As I said...8K raw footage rendered with very little effort.

I'm more for pressuring software companies to get off their lazy butts and optimize applications. Get rid of bloat and focus on utilizing current hardware.

And no offense...your PC will be on the trash heap or upgraded/serviced long before my MAC will.

I took a big picture view of my purchase...consistent performance and reliability spread over at least 5 years with continuous use.

The only thing I may do is an SSD/CPU down the road.

I don't see how you can say a computer that cannot be upgraded at all will outlast a computer that can be upgraded at anytime. Sure, it's a pain or impossible to upgrade a processor/motherboard, but I upgrade my graphics card every 2 years for one that is significantly better and as larger dims of ram become available, I upgrade those too (currently at 64GB so I don't think I need more but a year ago I "only" had 32). Does Apple let you at least upgrade your SSD drive because those seem to double in size at half the price every year or so?

Well, you can upgrade the SSDs on the mac pro with more capacity from third parties. And a lot of people can and do use external graphics via a Thunderbolt chassis (which you can also do for a PC). So I thing a lot of those concerns are mitigated. But mobo and processor....those become problematic. But at that point, maybe you should buy a new computer. These days, new graphics and SSDs alone will carry a computer for quite a while (and longer as software companies continue to optimize as they should).

@Adam Upgrading the Mac Pro processor is not significantly harder than on a Windows PC.

@Patrick You can upgrade the internal SSD on the 2013 Mac Pro up to 4TB and the RAM to 128GB through OWC.

Leigh is also, for the most part, correct in looking at "the big picture." Owning a computer is not just about raw performance. Reliability, support and resale value are also important. He is also correct in pointing out what I have said elsewhere, in that the software companies aren't even taking full advantage of older computers, never mind what is currently available.

If a person is strictly into photography then he or she will see no significant performance improvement, if any, in Photoshop or Lightroom by having the latest GPU compared to what is available today. Unfortunate, but true.

Workstation level components designed to run continuously over a long period of time without throttling..less heat, almost no moving parts internally are just a few ways. A few companies provide upgrades for the trashcan..I didn't want to go through the hassle so I did it all through Apple..add the 4K monitor and G-Speed this and that..yes it cost a lot but i'll amortize it over a long period of time. When I sell or throw the thing out, I can almost guarantee based upon track record that software will still lag the capacity of the hardware.

As someone else mentioned...Lightroom runs pretty much the same on a new machine as it does on a 5 year old computer.

I have Dell/HPworkstations from 2012 or older that works fine... This workstation be fine for another 4-5 years so it'll have amortised it's cost easily enough.

What processor and graphics card does your trashcan have? We have state of the art PCs in our office and if you throw a 4k clip in the timelime and speed ramp it to 1000x or throw warp stabilizer on it, it cannot "crush" it. I don't think we could playback 8k video without a lag. Then again, some editors do all this crazy uncompressing to their files for editing....we just throw the raw mp4 or .mov file right into the timeline so maybe that's why our computers act slower. If you have to pre render out footage to use it then that seems counter intuitive but maybe you are using footage just as we are too.

Reference system...8-Core...maxed out RAM, 512GB internal storage...and of course FCPx.

Personally I don't give much concern to "how" the system preps footage for use...as long as it does it and I can comfortably cut, scrub and grade...

Maybe my expectations are lower than everyone else here....but I remain convinced that it's not the hardware..it's less than stellar software. I'm still getting crashes on my Adobe Lightroom with Phase One files right down to my M4/3 cameras...Adobe's fault.

Oh there is no doubt that Adobe's Lightroom is the worst designed editing software out there esp since it's the flagship. They need to overhaul that POS like 4 years ago.

Sounds like you are just dropping files into FCPx then. I know a lot of video editors who run all their files through ProRes decompressors (I don't even know what that means) before they edit. We just download straight from memory card and dump the files into Premiere. My limited understanding is the computer is having to decompress the files before it can work on them so when you hit playback the computer is already using a lot of resources to unpackage that footage. We have never done any pre edit decompression so I'm not sure what that would do for our workflow but I do know that our computers struggle with 4k timelapses sped up 200-1000% and can lag with 4k picture in picture (since we make a lot of tutorials).

Do you have access to any DJI drone footage that uses the H265 codex? I know Elia's MBP and all of our PCs could not play back that footage shot in 4k at all. Quicktime, VLC, Media Player, Premiere, and anything else we threw at it could not play that footage smoothly (we were using laptops, haven't tried the desktops yet). We eventually gave up and started shooting again in H264.

Not yet...just got the Mavic and about to get rid of the Inspire 1.

If anyone has sample footage I would definitely give it a try, maybe even record a video of it.

I copy the footage to my G-Studio drive and import into FCPx and it will generate optimized media (As i selected) then I'll just drop them into my timeline.

The mavic is awesome. Just take some 4k video clips with the h265 codex and see how it performs on your machine.

Will do whenever I get my hands on the new Phantom or Inspire 2..or someone can send me one if you have it.

Since I use FCPx though I would likely convert it to Prores which plays back super smooths on MACS...and has higher output headroom.

Ah see this is what I was asking about before....you are converting footage to prores before putting it into fcp?

Always do right from import. Takes very little time and happens seamlessly.

Although I did try a few files using Premiere last night and that worked really well. However when I stabilized some Mavic footage it definitely was not as snappy compared to FCPx and that's with Mercury Engine (Metal) enabled.

So right back....MAC = FCPx, PC=Adobe

I think Lightroom is the best designed photo editing app ever made. Much of that argument can also be made objectively. The big problem with Lightroom, and probably what you were referring to, is that it can get molasses slow. I use it to edit large file film scans and after a certain amount of adjustments, such as the spot removal tool, Lightroom starts crawling. It's also still rather buggy. The image seen in the Navigator not being the correct one is one example.

What held back H265 adoption was unreasonable licensing costs. It was only in late Nov. 2016 where that stumbling block was apparently addressed. Maybe support on the software side is soon to come.

Here's where I think I falls short:

1) The Size it to constricting:
I use Adobe, fusion, nuke and 3d software all the time and those software package ask for GPU cuda support and not only does apple not come with a nvidia but I can't fit my 1080 sli cards into it.

2) Old Tech:
speaking of my 1080 cards, they can't run on these all specs for the pascal architecture.

3) Connectors and BS:
It looks like a squid coming out of my mac. Not only did I have to buy all new thunder connectors for my monitors, usb hubs, external drive bays, but I also had to by an external blue ray player because they thought people and clients no longer use disks for some reason.

4) Price: I'm sure I don't have to talk about how their price is way over the same tech for other companies

Not too many studios pick their equipment up out of an edit bay and carry it around with them, actually I've worked for a bunch of agencies and never saw that, except a post house that had travel desks with pc's on them.

The point is, they made that machine for small Photogs, DJ's and Vj's not industry professionals and is clearly marketing to semi-pros with that hardware and design specs. As for me who loved the old mac pros this to me was a kick in the face for not being able to upgrade and making me buy hundreds of dollars in extras and also I needed to buy a PC a couple of years later for to keep up with tech.

I will never buy another Mac desktop again and will consult away from any studio with more than 10 people to never go Mac. for more than 2 machines.

Wonder where they'll put the touch bar on the MacPro?

I am very frustrated with the Route that Apple has taken. As a result, I haven't upgraded any of my apple hardware. I have an old MBP and old iMac and two mac minis. Three of them are long over due for a replacement. But in my view the only thing that has changed is increased price.
Everything has been dummed down and glued together.
I am not ready to go back to Microsoft it simply doesn't fit my way of thinking. I feel I waste my time, when I work on that platform. So right now there is nowhere to go.
So I spent my money on camera gear instead :-)

What's strange to me is that despite all the billions in cash they're sitting on, they're not diversifying. They're eliminating products instead. Google is sitting on just as much cash, and they're constantly trying to diversify. When Apple dropped Aperture, I was furious. I still hate Lightroom to this day. Having to constantly switch between Library and Develop in order to browse picture vs. editing them is the pinnacle of idiotic interface design.

I doubt very much Google has anywhere near as much cash on hand as Apple. I doubt any company does.

As for diversifying, I agree, but they shouldn't use Google as an example to emulate. Google is the perfect example of a company trying to do way too much that it isn't really focused at doing anything really good.

I started with Aperture but it was only after I looked beyond the bias I had for Aperture that I gave Lightroom a fair chance. It then didn't take long for me to realize that in most cases Lightroom is the far superior app, especially on the photo editing side. Much simpler and easier to use user interface, and better tools. In fact, I think it is easily the best photo editing app ever made. The only complaint I have about it is that it can be slow and buggy at times.

Apple also gave up on Aperture years before they actually made it official. Shameful and damaging to the market, essentially handing over the market to Adobe.

"Having to constantly switch between Library and Develop in order to browse picture vs. editing them is the pinnacle of idiotic interface design"

Not really, since work in the Library and editing in Develop are for the most part separate tasks. Besides, you could use the Seconday Display view, whether you have a single monitor or two of them, to browse your images and edit at the same time.

I've never liked Tim Cook.... he's a bean counter and nothing will ever change that, no vision, no leadership, no direction. Unless he is replaced he will continue to further alienate those of us who have been with Apple through thick and thin. My first Mac was in '85.... and my last one was 2015. I don't see another one in my future.

"The creative area is very important to us in particular."
Actions speak louder than words, Apple's actions don't mesh with this. Other than FCP there are no more Pro apps.... but you can buy reduced priced dongles...

I wonder how he would fair in a "no confidence vote" at the share holders meeting?

Well, to be fair, he is rightly considered to be a logistical and operations genius. But, yes, he truly sucks at the visionary and leadership part. I don't think he needs to go; I just think he needs to go back to his old job. As for who can competently run the company? Good question.

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