Apple v. Adobe. – FCS v. CS5. – The choice is pretty clear.
Adobe has really been pushing the limits when it comes to what the software package can do. From CS3, which was nice, but had a few carryover PC apps from a recent purchase, to CS4 which broke new ground in terms of authoring DVD’s for Flash, video in a PDF, and more.
Now CS5 jumps a whole new direction with 64-bit ONLY computing. This cuts some old computers off, but with a decent system, you can access tons more RAM. Add to this the new Mercury Engine using GPU to handle video processing and you can handle multiple streams of heavily compressed video where one stream used to choke a computer. Specifically I mean H.264 and AVCHD, which seem to becoming defacto standards in tapeless acquisition these days.
In an article in EventDV Magazine, Jan Ozer does a pretty nice head-to head comparison andhe helps us see just what it means to be “hungry” for customers and market share.
where CS5 comprises about 50% of revenue for Adobe, FCS is an unknown chunk of 7% of Apple’s “Software, Service and Other” revenue. Logically, you would assume that Adobe will invest more in the success of its editing platform. From what we’ve seen both technologically and from a marketing perspective over the past couple of years, Adobe has.
I’ve long espoused that Apple, Inc. dropped “computer” from their name to reflect that consumer electronics are the primary part of their business any more. When was the last time the professional tower was redesigned? Back in the transition from G4 (bondi) to G5 (aluminum). The case went huge because the G5 was so “powerful” and that meant really, really hot. When Apple went to Intel chips, one f the big reasons was the dramatic jump in processing power per watt. i.e. they give equal processing power with less heat and power requirements. So we don’t need the massive tower built to house the G5’s super heat sinks. But it’s still here.
Apple even admitted that they had to pull people from writing OS-X code to the iPhone team to get that product out the door on time. It’s iPhone, iPod, iPad, iTunes Music sales, App sales, Book sales, Video sales, oh, and maybe a computer or two.
To be honest, Adobe does have some software innovations:
What about ProRes? Before CS5, editing H.264-based footage in Premiere Pro, whether AVCHD or from a Canon EOS 7D, was exceptionally painful. I would often ingest the footage into Final Cut Pro and use the resultant ProRes files in Premiere Pro to speed operation. Though Apple’s ProRes continues to be a strength Adobe can’t match, it’s no longer essential for H.264-based footage in CS5 because of 64-bit operation and GPU acceleration and because Adobe is using a vastly more efficient H.264 codec from MainConcept. The advantage goes to Apple because of ProRes, but only by a hair.
But I think the market moving to other codecs, and Adobe’s move to make working with those codecs natively so effortless, may prove to be water flowing around Apple and unless they move fast to recoup the position they once had with media professionals, they may just become another CE company, and real production work will be done on PCs, period.