Looks like people are really starved for any word on Logic.
After publishing my previous post it rode the coattails of the other postings on the internet. It also got linked from Ars Technica, Create Digital Music, and other postings. In one week my little blog got about 15 times more visitors than it usually gets per week.
I’ll admit that speculation is really pointless in accomplishing anything (especially in the world of Apple), but sometimes it’s fun to talk about what could be. I never claimed to be in-the-know about the future of Logic. I don’t use it every day; sometimes I could go a month without starting it up.
I first used Logic at version 6; I got the Big Box. Before that I used an incredibly old version of Cakewalk before it became Sonar. I grabbed Logic a few months after switching to the Mac. I never used it before buying it; all I knew was that Apple owned it and I found Cubase (at the time) difficult to use. Just knowing that Apple was behind Logic’s development was enough to convince me that it will be around for a long, long time.
An interesting thing that’s happened since Apple bought Emagic was that blogging started to surface as a serious communication tool. Nowadays marketers tell companies that they need to start a blog. This has worked well for smaller projects, particularly open-source software and shareware. Developers can comment on their latest developments, when to expect new software, and more.
That’s not how Apple wants to do it.
If Apple started blogging, whether about OSX, Logic, or anything else, they’d potentially lose the huge amount of excitement that comes with special events and Macworld. Apple letting out information like this would be the same as telling a child in August what he’s going to get for Christmas. The child is going to be restless anyway, but now there’s no magic left on that day unless something different happens.
The problem with telling users exactly what to expect is that you’ll never again surpass those expectations. If you meet those expectations then the user is satisfied. If your development slips then the user is disappointed. If you do better than the expectations then users will be blown away. Besides keeping trade secrets, I believe Apple withholds this kind of information so that you will be blown away by their next thing.
This is fine for consumers, but for professionals it’s a different game. Sure, professionals want to be blown away, but they also want to by reassured that they are on the right path and that the software they’re spending countless hours using and training themselves on is going to stick around. So you can probably understand the frustration.
But I think it’s silly to say that Logic development is dead.
Maybe it’s unrealistic for Logic to ever be a “Pro-Tools Killer,” but Apple has to be thinking about it’s future in the music creation business. They’ve already planted a big seed; it’s called Garageband.
While iLife is an incredible software suite in its own right, the other piece of the puzzle is that it helps sell Apple’s Pro software. iLife applications have a clear upgrade path. You’ve outgrown iPhoto? Aperture’s here to help. You want more from iMovie? You should try Final Cut Express. And if that’s still not enough you can move up to the whole Final Cut Studio.
This makes every new Mac (and every new Mac user) a potential Apple Pro app customer.
Apple is not aiming to make people switch from Pro-Tools to Logic. It’s much easier for them to grow that business from the inside. If music creation is a hobby of yours and you buy a new Mac, you get Garageband right from the start. And after you’ve built up a ton of Garageband projects, why would you ever consider getting Pro-Tools LE when Logic Express can open your Garageband projects with no problem?
It’s a pretty genius strategy. The ironic thing is that Microsoft got in trouble for doing something similar.
If Apple starts talking to professionals about the upcoming features in any of their pro applications they potentially leak details of what to expect in the next iLife or Mac OS. They just have a secretive culture.
But don’t let the lack of communication make you believe that nothing is happening. There are a lot of Garageband users and eager Logic loyalists out there – Apple would be stupid if they weren’t planning something big to hold on to them.