Apple's next Pro creative app -

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
http://www.motiontek.com/?p=80



Quote:

Now that Adobe has officially retired from trying to make Flash an authoring application for iPhone apps, many may be thinking the scuffle is over. However, I?d say it?s FAR from over, and in fact I think there is a good chance that this is just the opening salvo by Apple, who plans to carve out yet another piece of Adobe?s space in the marketplace for creative content authoring, as it has already done with Final Cut Pro and Aperture. This time it will be web design, and will be more akin to Flash than Dreamweaver.



Here?s why I think there?s a good chance we could see an app from Apple to author HTML5 content that ends up being competitive with Flash.



1. They own enough of the necessary technology pieces to make this happen. They have Motion, Dashcode, iWeb, and iDVD, which all intersect with Flash in some sense and the pieces could be put together to make a pretty nice HTML5 authoring tool for building ads and certain kinds of websites. They?re not going to actually smush all these apps together, but they can take what they know from having developed or worked on each of these and leverage it to make a professional tool that includes the necessary functionality.



2. There is a pro version of all of the iLife apps now EXCEPT iWeb. iPhoto has Aperture, iMovie has Final Cut Pro, and Garageband has Logic. iDVD also has nothing, but iDVD is no longer featured prominently on the iLife page, no doubt because in a few years iDVD may as well be i8TrackTape for all the relevance it will have to the marketplace. Having a professional web tool will round out their suite of professional apps for content creation, and provide a path from consumer to prosumer and beyond with each one of the iLife applications.



3. There are no tools (that I know of at least) to author equivalent experiences to Flash using HTML5. Whatever Apple?s reasons to focus on expunging Flash from their platforms, the movement will not happen without at least one serious creative tool that allows users to create similar experiences. (Why they want Flash to go away is a story for another post, and there have been a lot ? the most credible posts IMO are linked to at the bottom of this article.)



4. Apple has said that they will initially handle all ad production for iAd, and then open it up. What will drive this switchover to agencies producing the kind of ?engaging and emotive? content Steve Job deems worthy of advertising on the iPhone and iPad? A burning interest in learning to code HTML5 amongst the international art director set? I think not ? probably a tool provided by Apple.



4 1/2. This is half a reason because I?m unconvinced that Apple cares about the format at all, but if the iTunes LP is to live on, it desperately needs an authoring tool. ( Speculation has been that it was a bone thrown to labels worried about single sales replacing album sales, and the fact that it does not seem to work at all on the iPad certainly lends some credence to it not being the apple of Apple?s eye. )



5. For a company that wants to own the creative professional market, as Apple seems to want to, they can only leave out the web for so long. For professional photographers, filmmakers and music producers (and those who aspire to be these people), the web is more and more the key means to present their work, and an export to iWeb will not cut it ? not to mention all the web designers and interactive designers making brand new creative content for the web.



There are probably a few other reasons people could come up with. The market is hardly unassailable. There are a few monolithic web development applications that are growing long in the tooth, and a number of promising smaller applications that handle some aspect of web development well, and have a long list of additions forthcoming, with limited resources to get there. None of them are likely to have full support for HTML5 at the top of the list, and Adobe, the most likely contender to be able to build something substantial, has a vested interest in not doing so, for fear of helping to upset the Flash egg-cart.



So, I would not be at all surprised to see Apple introducing a new creative tool by the end of the year, outputting HTML5 and JS, including support for animation, vector graphics using the canvas tag, and certainly video. They will build it just in time to start to transition out of the ad building business themselves (which could be a beta period for the tool) and provide agencies with the means to stop building content for Flash, to follow up on the reasons for doing so they have already begun to circulate.



After all, if they?re not going to build it, I?m not sure who is, and if no one builds it then Flash isn?t going anywhere.



PS: Addendum ? the two reasons I think are the most likely behind Apple?s Flash-hating: preventing Adobe from owning the video market, and preventing Adobe from locking down their iPhone/iPad platform by generating too large a percentage of the content. There are also some merits to the it-performs-badly-on-Mac argument about the Flash player, but I think Apple has been too vehement for that to be the only issue.



PPS: I?m sure they will give it a better name than iWeb Pro.



Frankly i'm shocked that it's taken this long for Apple to jump into the Web Dev market.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,773member
    I said this awhile back, but then Shiller gave a quote that Apple had no plans to enter the market.



    If they are working on 'iWeb Pro', they are certainly taking their time with it.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,202moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Frankly i'm shocked that it's taken this long for Apple to jump into the Web Dev market.



    Apple's philosophy goes entirely against serious professional apps though and I don't think Apple quite gets that. When you look at apps like Shake, the power that apps like that have comes from getting a set of core tools that a user with understanding and skill can use to make something awesome and it can adapt to so many workflows.



    On the other side of the coin, you get Apple's developments like Motion and iWeb. These apps try to dumb down very complex jobs so that an average Joe can do the job but when you get just beyond the basics, there's little substance.



    iWeb authors sites with huge image blocks and you can't modify the code. You can't efficiently add a CMS behind it or any dynamic PHP code. That has a serious negative effect on their brand because it makes it look like they cater to beginners (some would say idiots) only.



    Motion just doesn't give you enough control. They let the app out with a big on/off switch for motion blur. If they truly understood how people used these tools, they would never have done that as it makes it nearly unusable for most jobs. Sure the app is fun to play with but it's not fun when it doesn't get a paying job done. Then you have no choice but to put away Apple's toys (Motion, iWeb, Pages) and use Adobe's apps (After Effects, Dreamweaver, Flash, Indesign).



    I believe Apple could make an HTML 5 web authoring tool and they can even build the thing as an HTML 5 app (preferably not). But they will hamper it in the interests of simplicity like they always do. Just once, I'd like to see Apple think about real professionals rather than people who want to avoid paying professionals.



    Things like scrapping Actionscript and creating a Python or Ruby binding for it instead, to control the whole Mac OS - you don't even need to write delimiters like tell or end tell, {, }, it's just indented. They seem to expect that speaking English to a computer will get better results than speaking to any non-English speaking person in the world. You get some meaning across but you end up talking broken English that isn't right anyway.



    What web developers need is a WYSIWYG space where UI elements can be placed without coding any markup by hand and a Javascript API that makes certain jobs easier like animation controls but still hooks into full CMS systems and PHP. Adobe have this already in Flash CS 5. Given that Apple have been pushing for the standard, it just seems bizarre that they have nothing remotely close to it. Bizarre but totally expected because that's what they do - they talk about problems and tell people how the system should work and under-deliver with their own tools while calling other people lazy.



    If Apple want to move their selected industries in another direction they need to lead by example by excelling in that industry. Often they pull it off but not always. To be honest, I don't think Apple really wants to take business away from other software developers by building rival packages, just like Microsoft doesn't want to drive away partners by building their own hardware in a way that wipes them out.



    We shouldn't be under any illusions that the PhD-laden employees at both companies don't understand the big picture. Apple knows if they build web tools for the Mac only, they won't get as much uptake as Adobe's tools and they won't want to offer such a great product to Windows users. It's just better that Adobe do this. The employees at Adobe just need to be persuaded to support an open standard instead of proprietary.



    Adobe would do extremely well to transition their Flash app towards Dreamweaver integration with only Javascript to deal with for client-side scripting and if they want to maintain a Flash binary, have it render the video and UI only and get the browser Javascript engine to run the code but allow Canvas support. That'll put people off using IE for good, which is already a good start. If they sell that single all-in-one web authoring package alone at a reasonable price ($200 max), they'd make a fortune.



    If Apple go full on with Canvas, other big players will just do something else to compete. Microsoft won't support Canvas for a start so that already hampers support although Chrome frame is a way round it.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,773member
    Wow Marv, tell us how you really feel...



    You're pretty much right. I have iWeb and Dreamweaver on my machine, but I've moved almost completely to Freeway Pro because iWeb was too restrictive and Dreamweaver is built for code monkeys, not designers.



    Problem is, Freeway's developers don't even have a blog, so there's no information on where the program is headed vis-a-vis HTML5 or anything else. I'm starting to wish that Pixelmator's developers, who know how to evangelize a product, move into web design.



    That said, if iWeb got a bit less restrictive, added some HTML5 tricks and integrated a CMS like an Apple-fied WebYep, I don't think anyone would complain.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,166member
    Marvin



    Excellent points I agree with many of them.

    I tend to think that Apple is a bit too idealistic with regard to building tools and

    believing that developers are going to enthusiastically leverage them. Yes, many

    developer do but in the case of web design going up against Adobe and Flash with

    success is beyond the capabilities of many a developer.



    Frequently Apple need to provide a "proof of concept" application like they have have

    in the past to kind of shake up the market a bit. HTML5, CSS3 and some of the tools

    like SproutCore can fuel an alternative to proprietary tools like Flash.



    I'm with Frank777. I don't want a code monkey app but I need a bit more than what iWeb

    has to offer.



    Yes I've got Coda and Espresso but I wouldn't be adverse to a more expensive Apple option

    that sits in around $149 or so.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,751member
    I tend to agree that the field is still wide open for an intuitive, design friendly HTML5 tool that anyone with a little bit of patience should be able to use. Frankly, it should be as easy to use as Keynote.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,773member
    I'm not sure we need just one app.



    Building HTML5 animations will require an app of its own (with a timeline), and the companion WYSIWYG layout app should be standalone. A CMS plug-in is another piece, and having a PDF-based forms strategy that hooks into Filemaker and iWork would be unquestionably cool and market-leading.



    I think what we need is to take iWeb out of the iLife suite, and set it on its own like Aperture.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    I agree that a slightly more powerful web app would be great if from Apple and I also agree that it shouldn't be just for coding pros; there are lots of creators out there who don't want to mess with code but want to create something better than what iWeb can produce.



    In the original quoted article, there is one error. iDVD does have a pro version as a part of the Final Cut Studio package: DVD Studio Pro (I really wish they would sell the various apps separately). Sadly, Apple seems to be moving past DVD-SP; the recent email supposedly from Steve saying YouTube now handles HD doesn't help those of us who want to create HD products for sale in hard form (ie, on a BluRay disk).



    Back to web apps, I also have Freeway Pro and plan to one day sit down with it an redo my webpage It looks approachable for me, someone with absolutely no HTML knowledge (though I hope one day for that to change).
  • Reply 8 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post


    I agree that a slightly more powerful web app would be great if from Apple and I also agree that it shouldn't be just for coding pros; there are lots of creators out there who don't want to mess with code but want to create something better than what iWeb can produce.



    In the original quoted article, there is one error. iDVD does have a pro version as a part of the Final Cut Studio package: DVD Studio Pro (I really wish they would sell the various apps separately). Sadly, Apple seems to be moving past DVD-SP; the recent email supposedly from Steve saying YouTube now handles HD doesn't help those of us who want to create HD products for sale in hard form (ie, on a BluRay disk).



    Back to web apps, I also have Freeway Pro and plan to one day sit down with it an redo my webpage It looks approachable for me, someone with absolutely no HTML knowledge (though I hope one day for that to change).



    The only web site tools I've seen that approach "regular person" usability are unfortunately online only... namely Squarespace.com. Really nice, really easy to use UI.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,166member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    The only web site tools I've seen that approach "regular person" usability are unfortunately online only... namely Squarespace.com. Really nice, really easy to use UI.



    I'm thinking about signing up for a Squarespace account.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I'm thinking about signing up for a Squarespace account.



    I used their free trial and was impressed. Apple should buy this company.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,773member
    It does look very impressive, though I don't see an eCommerce component.



    This thread was the first I've heard of them.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    It does look very impressive, though I don't see an eCommerce component.



    This thread was the first I've heard of them.



    You appear to be right about the e-commerce, but I did find this.



    http://manual.squarespace.com/introd.../tag/ecommerce
  • Reply 13 of 14
    thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    I thought I'd weigh in here, in that the idea of a pro-web design app from Apple makes perfect sense, and something I predicted would happen sooner than later a few months back, when this whole "No-Flash-on-the-iPad" debate started.



    I would actually start with Pages as the basis, and then add plug-in functionality or GUI tools to manipulate the content for HTML5. Yes I know that this has been done before and was a classic fail (Word for example), but I do think Apple would do a far better job. Naturally, it could be it's own stand-alone app as well, kinda like Pages, Keynote (transitions and video), and iWeb rolled into one.



    Again, the power though would come from a plug-in architecture, supporting different Java libraries and dynamic content coding like PHP, and adding some GUI conventions (from Apple) to make them easy to work with. Hand-coding and tweaking could be provided by the same text editors out their now.



    The company that "could" be bought to take this further, may I suggest, would be Panic (Coda and Transmit). Those guys definitely 'Get IT'! Can't wax poetic enough about their recent update to Transmit!!!... and Coda rocks!
  • Reply 14 of 14
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,773member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post


    I would actually start with Pages as the basis, and then add plug-in functionality or GUI tools to manipulate the content for HTML5.



    By now, Apple should have been able to merge the Pages & iWeb philosophy with Filemaker, to create an easy to use database-driven WYSIWYG web design app.



    My guess is that Filemaker is the problem here. There certainly have shown more interest in maintaining their legacy than branching out to support the new ways. Filemaker 11 still can't directly play nice with AddressBook & iCal. In essence, Filemaker is showing the same stubbornness that Adobe is, which is inexcusable for an Apple-owned subsidiary.
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