Dear Apple…….

I’ve been thinking long and hard about writing this because in all honesty I don’t want to be one of the many sites/guys complaining but because I’m always giving tips and I think pretty pro Apple…. I do have to write this.

 

The day before yesterday we saw Microsoft releasing some really cool products.
In all honesty I’ve tried several Surface Pro incarnations and never was convinced enough to switch, main problem was the OS experience on the screen and the way the stylus responded, it just didn’t felt…. done, it was like “ohhhhhhh almost”.

 
This is something that Apple did great.
Granted in the past Apple was first, with the rest following, slowly others tried to be first with sometime disastrous results (I think it will take a long time for Samsung to recover), but Apple always followed with an answer in the trend of “Ok you tried it, thank you but this is how you do it right”, and let’s be clear they released the Apple Pencil and iPad pro and OMG that’s a product that’s awesome, ok it runs iOS but I’ve done some drawings on it that are absolutely on par with what I can do with a full OS running machine, I’ve always said “if the apps are there there should be no limit for the creative process, IF the hardware is good, and….. that’s where Apple shines”.

 

So yesterday I was ready, Annewiek an me on the coach ready for our new MacBooks, my MBP is still in new condition but it’s a MBP that’s already 2 1/2 years old and I wanted some really cool kickass technology in my MacBook, and it started great…… yeah of course you have released the best iPhone yet (would be weird if it was less), of course 99% of the people are on the newest iOS (it’s Apple so it works so why n0t), of course you have the best OS yet Sierra, again never heard someone say… “well this OS sucks, but the next one…..” so yeah yeah yeah come on Tim give my goodies.

 

So….. 25 years ago the first portable device from Apple and they changed the world…. and yep that was true.
We see the trackpad, oh yeah….. I know where this is going….. it’s going to be awesome, I was now on the edge of my seat for my new creative master power house that will literally obliterate all those people claiming Microsoft was great….wait and see you guys…… this is gonna revolutionize the world, and indeed Tim said the same thing…… the popcorn wasn’t touched and we were both holding sweaty hands on the coach with our eyes focussed on the screen and we didn’t blink a moment….. this was history in the making….. oh my oh my……

 

And …… there it was…….. isn’t it awesome wow wow wow, this is it, LOOK at the trackpad, this is it Annewiek this is gonna change the way we work (wait for it, I’m gonna explain later why we thought that), and that touch strip…… yep even better that we expected, in all honesty this is REALLY a smart move and something that will literally change the way you work, so far so good…… final cut pro demo, great and there we go Adobe on stage…. go Adobe show the world the revolution……….

 

Yep…. and there it all went downwards.
Wait a minute, why is she using her fingers on a trackpad for selections, ah wait they are teasing us….. it must be…… ok love the colors, well done, loads of humor and indeed a nice way to photoshop a new background…. and Adobe leaves the stage….. mmmmmmm of course there will be more…. and indeed…. some music by a Dj, yep again great that new strip, awesome (and I REALLY mean that, it’s not sarcasm). And then the moment…….. well actually not…. where is the “Oh and one more thing…..” no the screen went black and we were left with the feeling….. WTF (sorry) just happened….

 

Ok we needed new notebooks anyway so I decided to order, every day we edit video and photos and our MacBooks are a vital part of our workflow with digital classroom so EVERY single piece of extra speed we REALLY need, so I ordered a 15″ for me and a 13″ for Annewiek, I looked at the price and almost fainted… 5900.00 EUROS and I already did it pretty careful, 16GB in both machines and the slowest CPU but 512SSD, oomph, but ok just breath and press order….oh wait….. crap it’s all USB-C so let’s get the convertors…… let’s see we need.

 

2x USB-C to Thunderbolt for the black magics (Digital classroom)
2x USB-C to USB3 for our wacom and of course a card reader (WHY APPLE WHY)
1x USB-C to HDMI for when I teach…
And here it all stopped…… my common sense kicked in one could say.

 

Rewind.
I’m paying over 4000.00 for my 15″ machine and I get a boat load of convertors and what do I gain… some speed (which in reality is always much less than on paper) and a touch strip……. we ended up ordering only a 13″ for Annewiek and we are going to try some third party convertors first because that saves us over 200.00 for what we need.

 

Ok so what could have happened and SHOULD have happened…. are you listening Apple (Yeah who am I kidding, CLEARLY Apple doesn’t listen).
This could have been a revolution.

 

  1. The trackpad
    Did you see the size of that thing?
    This is what got my heart pumping, imaging having an Apple Pencil and being able to draw on that trackpad, for retouching on the road that would have been absolutely awesome…..

 

And well…. there is actually not an option 2.
Apple delivers a great product, but for the first time (for me) I’m left wondering…. wtf.

 

We’re talking about a company that claims to be a trendsetter instead of a trend follower, it claims to be awesome, terrific, great and the best of the best…. but what it this time delivered is a mess. Let’s see what’s wrong.

 

  1. USB-C
    Don’t get me wrong I think we should all move to USB-C as soon as possible, but don’t take away all USB ports, leave at least 1. I don’t want to drag around convertors for tethering, every single extra connection makes it more prone to errors.
  2. Magsafe
    WHAT ARE YOU THINKING APPLE…..
    Do they not know that when you go to a trade show 99% of the people speaking and demoing are using MacBooks?
    Do you know how many times the magsafe adapter saved my laptop?
    A LOT of time, when someone is standing on my cable it just came loose, now with USB-C I wonder how many MBP’s will actually end up on the floor in pieces.
  3. No Cardreader
    OH MY OH MY, for a company that claims to be in sync with the creative force that build their name HOW could they imagine we didn’t need a card reader anymore?
  4. That trackpad
    Why SO big when you don’t use the Apple pencil, I really wonder how many people will have accidental double clicks, right mouse clicks or weird moves because their hands are on the trackpad…. time will tell. Unless they now want 10 finger gestures the original trackpad was big enough.
  5. No more lit up Apple logo…..
    Ok that’s not a biggy but I would miss that.

 

Maybe Apple doesn’t understand what the pro’s need.
We don’t need a 4mm less thick notebook, we don’t care that it’s a little bit lighter (you know how much gear we drag around), we need a system that works and works everywhere, go somewhere and connect HDMI, if we’re at an event we want to put the card in the machine, download images and send them away, if we want to copy something fast we need a USB stick in the USB port. Now we need to carry around fricking convertors for EVERYTHING we need to do on a daily basis, what if the convertor gets lost…. for a consumer no problem… for a pro it means…. well no demo, no workshop, no etc….. because with only USB-C the machine is useless, there are no projectors in event spaces with USB-C, there are …. well you get the idea.

 

IF Apple would have made the trackpad compatible with the Apple pencil I would have hated the idea of convertors…. but I would have ordered. I for one would feel sick in my whole body for the price but as a pro I want the best and in all honesty where PC notebooks have let me down MANY times due to extreme heat (in the desert), high humidity in Florida, or a little bit of rain in the Netherlands…. my MacBook pro’s have NEVER let me down, the OS is rock solid and the system still likes new after many miles travelled and being used every day while my PC notebook (also a very expensive one) after 2 years looks like it’s 2-3 years old (and that one is used maybe once or twice a week).

 

So what now…. Will I leave Apple…..
No of course not, on the desktop I still think my MacPro rocks, its incredibly fast and I can edit multicam 4K without any problem so it works, the OS in my opinion is the best on the market for stability, integration with iPhones and iPads etc. Apple TV is a great learning tool, we use two in our studio (mostly one) to project my desktop on two big screen TV’s and in 99% of the cases it works flawless so absolutely no reason to switch.
For mobile….. sorry to say but I think for me it’s bye bye Apple.
I’m gonna miss final Cut pro on the road for our video editing but Adobe Premiere is an AWESOME alternative, I used that before FCPx was actually mature enough to start using it, it took some time but I believe FCPx at the moment is one hell of a program.

 

When I see the Microsoft Surface book I just know it’s not gonna work for me, I tried a surface pro 4 and had major issues with it for battery life and the fact that it couldn’t be charged with anything else that their own power supply which meant I had to carry a LARGE block and couldn’t use for example our hyperjuice which will keep my MBP running for 8 hours straight even when using PS. And that was the other problem… when I buy a Surface I want to Photoshop and edit video… and when the battery dies within 90 minutes (it was actually much less but I don’t want a flame war) for me that just doesn’t work, also compared to the Wacom I’m using or the iPad pro the stylus wasn’t up to par… for a consumer it’s great but not for me.

 

But there is another device.
Wacom just released the Mobile studio 16″
A 4K 16″ screen with 94% adobe RGB, a Wacom stylus (so you know it’s good) and all the connectivity I need (not just one USB port like the Surface), with the 4K screen I know PS and Manga studio and Lightroom will leave me plenty of real estate instead of covering a 1920×1080 screen with menus and leaving just a very small space to retouch or draw and I think 16″ is just enough screen and still small enough to use on location… remember I’m a pro user not someone for a MacBook air, it’s a WORKhorse.

 

And indeed I’m willing to use convertors for a device like this, because it also saves me A LOT.
Now I travel with a MBP and a wacom tablet, and that was the norm, but in a day and age where touch screens are the norm I think that the travel wacom tablet would be replaced. With the mobile studio 16 I can travel and use it as a Cintiq when I’m connected to a PC or Mac, and when disconnected it can run on it’s own… there are still some concerns…. does it charge via “USB-C” via the Hyperjuice, how long is the battery life really etc.
And in all honesty I’m a bit worried about going to Windows……
I know my way around windows and I’m pretty technical so no problems there.
But Windows also means that when I change device or hardware there is HUGE change I have to reinstall everything which takes me about half a day to get it up and running the way I want, it also means that we have to start using virus scanners, registries that fill up, weekly or daily updates for the OS, hardware drivers etc. etc. As a former PC user this was one of things I LOVED about macs, worry about what I do and not all about the OS or drivers etc.

 

Will it be worth it?
We will see, but I’m afraid it will be (for Apple).
Imagine having a 4K display that is touch sensitive, a wacom stylus so you can draw and control your software without the need for anything else (I know it doesn’t work that way), just connect a wireless keyboard and you have a laptop, connect it via a dongle to your mac and pc and you have a cintiq… it all sounds almost to good to be true….. if it would run MacOS I would run to the store and buy one, now I will probably just slowly and with a little bit of a sad feeling walk to the store and get me a Wacom…… nothing against Wacom by the way, but switching to Windows is just something I thought I wouldn’t do anymore. I’m however VERY much looking forward to the experience of the mobile studio 16 and who knows if it works great……. no I don’t want to think about that.

 

How could Apple REALLY revolutionize the laptop market
Almost impossible with the surface pro laptops, but they could do it IF they do this.
Imagine having a MacBook pro with the large touch strip and a large trackpad that you can use with the Apple pencil, but wait there is more…. if you’re done with the laptop part you can disconnect the screen and it switches to iOS and you can use it as an iPad pro including the Apple pencil. It wouldn’t be a revolution because Microsoft already has it… but at least it would run MacOs….

 

I really CAN’T imagine that Apple couldn’t pull something like this off.
Making a touchpad compatible with Apple pencil should be no problem at all, making an iPad pro connect to a MacBook body with the smart connector should be ABSOLUTELY no problem, and in fact you don’t even need a smart connector because programs like Duet also manage with just a lighting adaptor. Now leave the card reader in and one USB port and you would literally have my dream machine.

 

Years ago the MBP was my dream machine.
They server me (and Annewiek) very very well, they NEVER let me down, the NEVER crashed on me during a vital moment, when on stage or on a shoot I don’t want to think about if my hardware will keep working, I want to focus on my work and not on hardware. Today I’m afraid it’s the end of an era, the era where Apple was the best choice for the creative force. Apple is now a company that in my honest opinion is charging pro prices for consumer aimed gear, a pro machine with dongles and no card reader because it can be 4mm thinner is something NO pro in the world is waiting for….

 

Sorry Apple.
Wacom, here I come……. (I think).
Feel free to leave your options and thoughts.