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Final Cut Pro for PC?

Apple could be developing the Microsoft Office of content creation

Speaking of Adobe, is Motion 1.0 an After Effects killer? Well, maybe not the 1.0 version, but if Apple stays on this slam-dunk course, Motion 2.0 or 3.0 might at least make After Effects on the Mac seem like it's sleeping. And, if Apple keeps this up, maybe the company doesn't really care if Adobe withdraws Mac support for After Effects, or heaven forbid, Photoshop. What? Photoshop, you say? Well, it seems to me that Apple is getting to be a hard-nosed competitor these days, and is acting like it must have some kind of a Photoshop killer under wraps, in heavy development in its secret software factory. I would guess this mystery application could be slowly developing into the Next Big Thing in image editing. McPhoto? After seeing what the company can do with Motion 1.0, I wouldn't be surprised if it combined the attributes of Photoshop, McPaint, Illustrator and Synthetik Studio Artist to create a jaw-dropping, bone-chilling-while-heart-warming uber-app that can do anything you'd want to do to an image or sequence and then some. McPhotoPaintillustratorShop Pro. Yeah. As an interesting aside, could Synthetik, makers of the awesome paint/rotoscoping/illustration app Studio Artist be somehow in cahoots with Apple? At NAB, we DMN dudes heard exactly the same phrase uttered by Apple and Synthetik demo artists: "It works just like a music application for graphics." Hmm. Coincidence, or tantalizing hint? Or perhaps that was an inadvertent forecast of things to come in the content creation software industry.

As for nonlinear editing, a brilliant software industry observer and scientist with whom I met for an extended drink-and-gabfest après NAB presented an interesting theory to me. "Think of word processors in the 80s," the sage told me with a glimmer in his eye. He asked me to remember all the various applications such as WordStar 2000, Ami Pro, Wordperfect and of course, Microsoft Word. They were all similar, all capable of nearly the same things, and the market sorted them out, so that now there's one major player and a few also-rans here and there, but for all intents and purposes there's only one: Microsoft Office. Come to think of it, nonlinear editing applications are all pretty much similar with their timelines/bins/trim windows, and it looks like the only reason their developers decide whether the scrubbing is done on the top or bottom, for example, or alter the basic paradigm at all is to avoid copyright trouble. The unified theory of my marvelous mentor goes on to state that soon there will be only one content creation application while all the others get a one-way ticket to Palookaville. And just like Microsoft Office, that Mother of all NLEs will be capable of doing anything you need to do in the office, or in this case, in the edit bay or production suite. We're seeing signs of movement toward that, with Adobe's Video Collection, and now Avid's Xpress Studio, and even the beginnings of it with Apple's Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack. But Adobe's and Apple's offerings so far are bundles, while Avid's Xpress Studio is more of an example of the interoperability that I think we'll be seeing more of from all the software developers. And Apple, with its Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack, DVD Studio Pro, and now Motion, stands to compete in this new arena quite nicely, especially if it develops its own image editing application. It's the final piece of the puzzle.

So if I were to go out on a limb here and make a prediction, I'd say that Apple is developing an answer to Adobe Photoshop, because the company is afraid that the slippery slope of Adobe abandonment might continue, where After Effects development could soon be extinguished for the Mac, just as Premiere was cut from the Mac roster last year. And then the final shoe could drop and Photoshop for the Mac could come to an end. The first shot in the war was fired last year, and that was only the first battle. I think there are more battles to come. Gates, with his remarkable compression scheme called Windows Media 9, is interested in this fight, for more reasons that we can know right now. But I have to say I wouldn't blame him for sniffing around the Apple booth at NAB. If that was indeed him. Even if it wasn't, it should have been.


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Related Keywords:Final Cut Pro, Bill Gates, Motion 1.0, Apple, Microsoft, Charlie White, Midwest Test Facility, After Effects, Premiere, digital video editing

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