A funny thing happened in 2008. Somewhere Adobe and Apple learned to dislike each other. And not in the usual cordial 1800′s way of angsty stares, but in the venomous way two large billion dollar businesses glare face to face before devouring the other’s young.
Sure these are two monolith companies focused on profit. But who says giant organizations can’t love? When did this rift happen? Why did this happen? Let’s take a look at the sordid love affair between these two companies and see why their future together doesn’t look so hot.
And more importantly, beyond the fanboy hype, what does this mean to all of the graphic designers, photographers, and digital artists out there?
Yesterday, John Nack (programmer at Adobe) announced that the next edition of Photoshop will be 32-bit for Mac OSX and 64-bit for Windows Vista. And this has been big news to some.
What does 64-bit mean? Well according to John Nack’s own article:
In a nutshell, it lets an application address very large amounts of memory–specifically, more than 4 gigabytes. This is great for pro photographers with large collections of high-res images: Lightroom being able to address more RAM means less time swapping images into and out of memory during image processing-intensive operations.
In short, 64-bit is ideal for only a few applications: large images, video, and any other memory intense process. Photoshop is the ideal candidate.
The big commotion is that the Apple’s computer line has always been THE way to use Adobe’s creative programs. Say what you will, I’ve used both on excellent machines and Adobe’s programs always “feel better” on a mac. And if the history of computing means anything to you, you’ll know that this is a 20+ year legacy of Apple catering towards the creative market. So the diehard Apple fanbase is upset that their advantage is no longer.
If this were all John’s announcement meant I wouldn’t have wasted time to write an article. [Apple fanboys upset? NO WAY!] But this is bigger then that. It shows growing hatred between the two giants that helped build the other, and the growing concern this is just the beginning…
If I could use one word to describe Adobe in the new century it would be: Stagnant. They are the epitome of what is wrong with the software industry. Yearly releases which only bloat the product, a growing realization by consumers they are being had, and prices that are irrational for 90% of their installed base.
It means something when the only item of note is that the bought another large corporation, and we all watched as Macromedia carcass was dissolved slowly within the larger creature. Today Macromedia’s once strong product-line is nearly extinct, with Flash being the sole survivor forced to procreate with Adobe’s Creative Suite to stay alive. And after buying CS3, I’m very proud to announce that I will only use pirated versions of their products from here on out. Seriously. If a company almost destroys my computer in the process of installing an app, I’m allowed to dance on their corpse.
But in the last year AIR and Flex have renewed my faith that they aren’t completely insane. Hopefully those products live up to their lofty expectations.
If I could use one word to describe Apple in the new century it would be: innovative. With several version of Mac OSX, iPod in 2001, Macbooks and iMacs, then Mac Minis, and 64-bit G5′s, and… (well you get the idea). Stay tuned tuned to the Apple store each Monday as they refresh another part of their product-line. EACH WEEK.
To say they dominated the tech space is an understatement. Apple has made computing cool again and they’ve done it with style and panache. But they did it by constantly innovating and pushing their products forward in a blend of software and hardware.
And it isn’t simply tech anymore. As of today they are now the number one music retailer in the nation beating out even Wal-mart. They are the leading digital movie and TV show digital download site as well.
(This is usually where a PC user will but in a take a pot-shot at Apple’s sales. And it should be said I love Microsoft. I’m a big fan of software innovators of any form. But the upset Apple is pulling off in daylight is astounding. For example, did you know that last month 1/4 of all money spent of laptops went to Apple? Pretty significant stuff even if you hate Steve Jobs and everything he stands for.)
And this is without mentioning the iPhone. Just when you thought a company was bound to rest on its laurels they pull the coolest cat out of the bag. I never knew it was possible to enjoy a cellphone. But now I do. The software coming down the line is sure to turn the industry around again.
So here we have two companies, both raking in the cash. Why the hate? Well a culture clash is happening here for sure. It seems that the constant innovation has cost Adobe oodles of money and in the process a big chunk of the high-end photo market. Apple doesn’t really care about developer costs as long as it pushes the market forward. But I think it goes deeper then this and has also to do with the dates below:
June 6th, 2005 – Apple announces a transition to Intel Chips.
A very big deal to consumers and to software creators. Whole programs need to be rewritten to take full advantage. For some companies this is a blow, but for Adobe who has a full suite of complex products this is a nightmare. The transition takes over three years and is very rocky.
December 2005 – Apple ships a program called Aperture for professional photographers.
Suddenly Apple is in competition with Adobe’s new product Lightroom. A friendly race begins to see who is better. It goes from friendly to painful to watch pretty quickly.
January 10th, 2007 – Apple Computer change their name to Apple, Inc
Apple is no longer just computers. They’re operating systems, gizmos, and…software. Apple begins porting some software to PC. Adobe is officially nervous and frustrated with their old friend. What if they moved their suite over to PC? It would take a big chunk out of Adobe’s casual set.
June 3rd, 2007 – Apple launches the iPhone
The number one piece of software everyone wants added? Flash. The piece of software Apple is unwilling to add? Flash. Buddies no longer. What was a 99% penetration of Flash is now non-existent on Apple’s
speedy growing in market share phone. By January it is #2 in the smart phone market with over 2.1 million sold.
March 19th, 2008 – Adobe announces Flash for iPhone (then takes it back)
Parades were held in downtown locations, traffic was stopped, and a small goat was sacrificed in honor of Adobe. But then a few days later a whisper of an announcement came through the wires… “Opps! We may not be able to. Apple has to let us.” And since then there has been no word from either camp.
What does this mean for creatives? Love your work and not your platform, as they may not be friends very soon. Short term nothing will change. But long term I wouldn’t plan on Adobe inviting Apple over for a sleepover anytime soon.
Going to my shiny happy place,