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Oct312017

What I saw at Apple HQ on October 27th

In what seemed to be an unprecedented display of confidence, on October 27th as part of the FCPX Creative Summit, Apple invited attendees of the Summit to see unreleased features of the new FCPX 10.4 and to see demonstrations of the performance of the soon to be released iMac Pro. 

Since there are tons of people writing articles and posting photos about what they have seen concerning the new features in FCPX, (new color tools, 360 Video and HDR features) I’m not going to go to much into those features. I will however say I’m really excited about the new color features but not really interested in HDR or 360 video.

What is significant however is how Apple shared these features with a limited number of users, some of which could be called “press”. (Myself, Alex4D and Peter Wiggins, although, Peter is the real deal.)

Maybe you had to be there to fully understand what happened but let me explain. First, all the attendees from the event were invited, via shuttle, to 4 Infinite Loop on the Apple campus. The Apple Town Hall is where Steve Jobs made many notable announcements including the first iPod over almost exactly 16 years earlier. Upon arrival, everyone was warned that photography was strictly forbidden. As a matter of fact, Jeff Greenberg, the organizer of the event asked if he could take ONE iPhone photo of the packed Town Hall for publicity. He was informed that he could NOT take that one seemingly innocuous photo. 

Then, we all sat through a very exciting and feature packed demonstration of the new FCPX 10.4 that we were told would be release “later this year”. At that point we were invited, in two sub groups to walk across the hall and experience a “hands on” demonstration of the new software. 

But what was truly significant is that we were told that not only were we going to be allowed to take photos in the Hands On room but we were encouraged to share those photos and our thoughts via social media.

WHAT????

Jeff and I were so shocked by this announcement that we walked up and asked Steven Bayes, the Product Manager of Final Cut Pro if we had heard him correctly. Did you just say what we THINK you said. We were then assured that sharing our thoughts and photos online was indeed allowed, and we got the impression we were being encouraged to do so.

In actuality Apple had highly skilled members of the FCPX software team to talk with attendees one on one and show off the software and answer questions. I was even allowed to stage a few photos of closeups of the software that I shared on my twitter account. 

During the Hands On demo Steve Martin of Ripple Training approached me and said something to the effect of, “What do you think? Isn’t this amazing that Apple is letting us share this stuff?” 

If you don’t know how Apple as a company works heres the deal. It ABSOLUTELY WAS a very big deal that Apple was showing off software with an unannounced release date. 

ABSOLUTELY!

So what does it mean?

I think that it is extremely important that Apple has chosen this tactic to seek out portions of the public, even if we were already a very friendly group of known users. I think it shows that they have begun to act on the fact that the “Oompa Lumpa Strategy” that I’ve spoken of in the past is not the best thing for the dedicated users of their software. 

If you haven’t listened to my podcasts, the Oompa Lumpa Strategy is reminiscent of Willie Wonka’s strategy of letting the public think that the chocolate was somehow magically produced because, according to Slugworth, “no body goes in, and no body comes out.” If you think about it for years we just sit outside the walls of the factory, or Infinite Loop, and wait patiently for the next product to be released. 

I think that it is important as die hard Kool-Aid drinking Apple fans that we don’t take advantage of the fact that Apple has decided that they want to adjust their marketing strategy. I for one am very thankful that things have changed in the past few years. I believe it has been helpful to professionals to make plans for their future so that they can be more competitive in the creative workspace.

If we’re REALLY lucky, maybe one day Steve and Estelle will be allowed to come and talk on The Grill and properly school us about the best strategies for adopting FCPX and Motion into our daily workflows. 

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