Originally Posted by ACK
...I love the Apple stores - for consumers. The Apple employees can't do for my clients what I can, and cannot sell the other 98% of the gear my clients need. Software, and Apple products, for that matter, represent a very small portion of my sales. However, many solutions depend on the Mac OS and Apple hardware to a tremendous degree. The death of the Xserve killed an entire market segment and has a profound effect on many companies whose software relied on that hardware to be practical.
...I don't have a problem selling my wares, as you suggest. I also won't deny that I may come off as a dick in this context, as feathers get ruffled. Being frank and realistic is beneficial in objectively recommending solutions in my industry. Nobody seems to address the concern of the company "trending" away from any concern with professionals, which is undeniable. I will say, however, that this Thunderbolt technology could really be a boost for the hardware solutions for professionals. If the OS could remain Snow Leopard, or an improvement that is more standard and less "iOS," then I would be much less whiny and unbearable.
Originally Posted by ACK
...I didn't realize, you may have misinterpreted my view on apps - It's the "App Store" online that is the bummer for my clients, not the Apple store. They, when spending $45k on a massive solution, don't always have the ability to break out a credit card to buy $2k worth of software via the app store, especially when they don't have the machine yet. It sounds immaterial to someone who doesn't deal with government clients and competitive bids and such, but I promise this type of shift will be a major inconvenience for professionals. I am sure people will adapt, but once more it is an opinion of mine and clearly one not shared by everyone. For the record, I am not crying about the whopping couple of points to be made on selling Apple software. I am evangelizing for my clients, many of whom have already voiced concerns.
First of all, I withdraw my dick remark in the face of these very reasonable responses.
I still think, though, that it remains to be seen if Apple is seriously trending away from professional users on the Mac platform. I know the conventional wisdom is that iOS is getting all the love, so that OS X is both neglected and, insofar as it does receive attention, gets iPad-ified.
But while some of the interface changes in Lion might seem a bit tinkertoy, there are other changes under the hood (including OS X Server as a standard component, versioning, state saving) that I would think would be very useful for all of Apple's customers, not just the newer or less tech savvy. And, to the extent that there are UI elements that would get in the way of a pro workflow, they seem to be optional.
Remember that the iOS platform is in its infancy. I don't think it's necessarily the case that any gestures toward that model in desktop software is automatically leading towards ease of use over functionality-- it's just that so far, iOS is all about nailing the basics. My guess is that iOS, along with whatever crossover desktop bits, will continue to mature, offering more and more of the customary desktop computing experience (albeit with a different philosophy regarding file systems and exposed system stuff).
Now, it's undeniably true that Apple has been neglecting its pro video apps, but there is at least a purported Jobs email claiming that a total rewrite of FCP is coming this spring. The pro towers seem to be a bit of an afterthought, but they're there and they're reasonably powerful, if a bit overpriced.
Finally, I can see what you mean about needing to be able to have software in hand in advance of a machine to install it on, and how this doesn't work with the App Store model, but doesn't it seem pretty likely that the big software houses making the kind of heavy duty apps you're talking about will continue to sell through their own channels? Can't really see Adobe giving up on direct sales. And I think Apple knows its own customer base at least well enough to see that moving FCP Studio to an exclusive app store model would be counter productive. They might do what they've done with Aperture, and offer it on the App Store as well, at a reduced price. Then, the customer can decide if the trade-offs are worth it.