back to article Apple has missed the video revolution

The pandemic changed the way I used computers. For most of the 20 years before 2020, I rarely needed or used more than the browser, the mail app, messaging, and a word processor. Other than that I made the occasional foray into image and/or video editing or PDF preparation tools. Then COVID movement restrictions made it nearly …

  1. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

    Professional video and audio is the only reason Mac survived the days before the iMac and the switch to Intel x86

    Sadly, nearly all those tools are now gone or ripped asunder, continuing in name only by Apple's focus on consumer consumption.

    The upper and mid end of content creators are leaving or already left. The lower professional end (youtube, and social media influencers) will be gone soon after, and then what of Mac?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

      You're possibly thinking of DTP rather than video and audio.

      1. elbisivni

        Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

        Nah, audio definitely. Protools, among others, was fab on the mac, and many other music creation tools benefitted greatly from much lower latency than the best Windows was capable of back in the day. As for video - not too familiar with that anymore, but most NLEs were Mac based, and Final Cut Pro used to be dead good. They dumbed down FCPX, but newer updates have recovered much, if not all what was lost.

        That persists today - iOS devices have had, until recently, also had much lower latency than their Android peers despite several manufacturer's best efforts. Not sure where it is today, but it was certainly still true two years ago

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

          "the only reason Mac survived"

          Not the ONLY reason.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

          FireWire was standard on Macs. Originally intended for high-res photo scanners, its later versions made getting video from DV cameras straightforward. It was also ideal for audio interfaces. And, at a time before USB v.2, let you transfer music to the first (Mac only) iPod in a sensible timeframe.

      2. Kristian Walsh

        Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

        No, he means video and audio. Avid Composer launched on Macintosh and was Mac-only through most of the 1990s; basically the time it took to become the preeminent non-linear editing system for video production. Even today, people in film and TV production will use the term “Avid suite” as a generic term, even if the actually software is a competitor system such as DaVinci Resolve or Adobe Premiere Pro.

        Part of the reason for this early advantage was that all Apple systems (until the Macintosh 4400 and later, the iMac) supported SCSI hard-drives. That higher throughput and ability to attach up to 6 external drives was essential if you were trying to do video editing in the 1990s.

        I used to work at Apple in the late 1990s, and audio-video production, pre-press and education were the only markets where Apple desktops still had any traction, and it was a big worry when first Adobe, and then Avid started to produce Windows versions of their flagship products.

        Apple did purchase Final Cut to keep a foot in the game, and while it had initial success at the higher end of the market, Apple’s lack of competitive workstation products throughout the 2010s meant that it has now slipped into a kind of “prosumer” space, with most large productions moving to Windows-based systems, which offer much greater flexibility (and value for money) in terms of the hardware you can run them on.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Snake Silver badge

          Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

          There were many reasons why Macs were popular for creatives. Integrated color management and excellent fonts rendering kept both the publishing industries and video creators happy; low-latency kernel audio kept the musicians happy; SCSI, then Firewire, etc, kept them all happy. Etc, etc, etc.

          At a time when Wintel didn't have such luxuries, the low-level integrated services of Apple & MacOS attracted a lot of people in a vast variety of audio-visual fields.

          But that was then. Microsoft started creating integrated AV API's and technologies to bridge that gap. Add in AV, plus technologies like CAD, where development went to Windows by a vast margin, plus other things like Adobe's rollout of full-power creative suites on the PC (instead of concentrating on the classic Mac market), and Windows pushed Mac under the rug.

          Thanks to lower costs thanks to a larger market, Intel-based PC's overcame the gap and now pretty much lead the way in market use. Mac still hangs on but mostly out of habit. Mac hardware is good but expensive, and now it is easier to get Windows drivers versus Mac drivers and support software for some AV-style equipment.

    2. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

      A friend of mine calls Apple " Fisher price for adults" it's not targeted for business at all.

      I had similar problems setting up other peoples mac for streaming during covid.

      I compiled dedicated streaming tools for our particular service to make contributing a nobrainer, but of course, it's impossible to quickly turn around an app for apple devices. Apple makes it impossible to turn around a new app in a single day as you can on other platforms. When lockdown struck we had 5 days to do it.

      I saw many DJs who wrr Apple users turn on their iPhone cameras and stream dj sessions over the mic on their phone. It was embarrassing low quality.

      OBS is a great product, if you have a single source studio. If you have artists on lockdown in different locations you need to integrate across the Web and that requires code that had to be turned around fast. Releasing a bug fix to an iOS device can take weeks. An app from scratch is hard, easier to use Linux or Windows,then you can patch or add features daily.

      1. aaaa

        Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

        You can easily patch or add features daily, or hourly to an iPhone app using TestFlight. So entirely easy to quickly torn around an app for apple.

        1. Antonius_Prime

          Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

          TestFlight requires you have an AppleID, be enrolled on the Developer Program and that your intended audience also have AppleID's and update frequently.

          The blocker here is the Developer Program. It can and often does take weeks to get enrolled and set up, and your app quite often requires review. That's fine when you can control the timeline: "We're beta-testing this, you'll nedd X, Y and Z, and it starts on DATE and ends on OTHER DATE"

          COVID sort of threw all that under a bus, hopped on said bus and reversed and drove on again...

    3. deadlockvictim

      Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

      I'm not so sure that I agree.

      I see Macs as the primary computer for the following groups:

      • creative types — the professional video, audio and photography types as well as architects;

      • university students — MacBookPros are everywhere;

      • upper middle class — again MBPs are standard here, especially amongst women. The men seem to prefer high-powered tablets (iPad Pros, Surface, Samsung)

      This is true in my little world in the middle of Western Europe.

      It may well be different elsewhere.

      I still expect Apple to be strong where the visual aesthetic is held to be important and people have money, in places like Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Singapore & the Nordic countries.

      Although I do game on the Mac, I am very much an old-school Mac user (think Quadra) and I play Civilization (before it had numbers), Maelstrom, Sky Shadow and Prince of Persia.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Apple dumbed down and threw pros under a bus

        Marathon was a great series!

        I find Macs still offer the best all round versatility for my line of work - they can run Mac, Windows and 'nix executables with a minimal amount of tweaks. Windows is fast catching up with the Linux subsystem, but as the 'nix stuff is usually heavy lifting grunt work, WSL is unable to give the performance.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My favorite irony…

    is that the massive LED screen in the Apple theater is too big for any Mac media servers to feed. All those marketing videos about the power of the upcoming Mac are played back by a Windows machine.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: My favorite irony…

      I really want this to be true! Do you have a link?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My favorite irony…

        None of the vendors at the event are even allowed to mention they’re there, so, you’ll have to take this at face value…Sorry.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: My favorite irony…

          Oh? Wouldn't that be the ultimate irony, then, to show on an El Reg borkage article: one of those massive Mac screens...showing a Windows BSoD...

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: My favorite irony…

      I assume this is because hardware decoding and encoding, but surely they must have this on MAC??

      1. badflorist

        Re: My favorite irony…

        It does have it.

        I don't use Mac or WIndows but, this entire article is about live streaming and how the author is hurt there isn't streaming software on Mac. Well, O.K., but as someone understands this (24+ years on Linux), why get so upset about this 1 single thing?

        Apple had a better GUI first that's why it became "known" to use graphical things on Apple. However, after Windows 2000 most things became better to run on Windows, you just can't have it all.

        FWIW, since I use Linux you'll think I'm biased but, OBS runs better on Linux with 1 exception... audio. It can be hard finding drivers and aside from that setting up multi-channel configurations can be tricky. However, if you're going that far then you probably need commercial software or will have to write you're own FFMPEG scripts.

        Last year I kind of went "All In" with small projects using the ESP8266/32 and what I found was that while the C/C++ libraries are there to do many things broadcast things, there isn't many ways of interfacing those things with a PC :-/. However, I did manage to get a remarkable quality lavalier mic. using the "TMrh20" library ( https://github.com/TMRh20/AutoAnalogAudio ).

      2. ReaddyEddy

        Re: My favorite irony…

        The M1 series have hardware decoding and encoding, I’ll reply to the OP directly to explain why he see’s this behaviour.

    3. Kristian Walsh

      Re: My favorite irony…

      These huge LED-matrix displays are normally driven by Windows, because the makers of the display controller hardware only supply drivers for Windows systems; even getting Linux drivers for these things is hard: the OS licence saving is a pittance compared to the complete cost of the rig, and Linux requires a lot of tuning before it will work acceptably with this kind of real-time processing.

      But even if it was a macOS system, it would not be Apple hardware (you need a full, multi-slot PCI chassis, which Apple no longer makes), but Apple themselves would still have to take responsibility for keeping the hardware drivers up to date. That’s a lot of effort for one single installation.

      But if you’re looking for more examples you can go further down the chain: All of the high-tech automated assembly of Apple’s products is controlled by Windows PCs, because that’s the OS that all the the equipment used in PCB and computer-controlled manufacturing runs.

      (Why is this? Well, apart from cost, there’s long-term support. I once had a client who came to me for advice for his business which sold a very expensive piece of specialist machinery built around a MacOS-based controller. When Apple killed support for CarbonLib, in which all of the control software had been written - for performance reasons - it became impossible for him to source new controllers, as the new macs would only run versions of OSX that did not support Carbon. Remember, you cannot legally run OSX on generic Intel boards. My advice was to hire someone to rewrite everything on Linux, by the way. “Rewrite everything” was exactly not what he wanted to hear, but it was the only way out of the trap.)

      But none of it matters. For a long time, most of Intel and Microsoft’s advertising and promotional material was produced on Macs. I was an Apple fan in those days (partly because the systems were good, but also because, as an employee, I was able to buy that quite good hardware without paying the full, extortionate, prices), and this fact used to raise a smile, but really it did nothing to convince people using Windows systems that Macs were better. The same goes now, in reverse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My favorite irony…

        The issue isn’t related to anything you mention, but rather to GPU support and hardware component lifecycle/market stability. There’s no channel to have custom Apple products outside of their official, current offerings, and for such bespoke software as media servers, it can be extremely difficult to adapt to Apple’s constantly changing hardware and software environments. The two most popular high end media servers (disguise and Green Hippo) use commercially available components with ample support from the manufacturers — support which Apple has never been forthcoming in providing. A lot of things hugely important to professional video are either inaccessible or absurdly convoluted on Apple kit…genlock, for example. Selling the hardware as a complete package also gives manufacturers a ton of control over the end product, whereas in an Apple world, you’re just a software vendor beset by the whims of a company hyper-focused on the consumer market.

        Let’s not pass over the fact that $6000 worth of hardware gets you a powerful windows machine you couldn’t touch for less than $30k to Apple.

  3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    I'm no Hollywood editor...

    I'm not into media production either as a hobby or for work - but have always had an interest. I was surprised at how powerful the tools are these days - at zero cost for personal use.

    So during a lull last year I downloaded DaVinci resolve, all of the user guides and tutorials and taught myself how to use it with some rubbish stuff I had filmed on my iPhone. I'm not doing anything advanced with at all, but it runs perfectly well on my XPS laptop and I'm now even mucking about with some compositing and gnarly effects using their built in tools.

    Then I stumbled across an ultra low budget UK movie on Prime called Cosmos which I really enjoyed and noticed they had used the same toolset for that.

    1. aaaa

      Re: I'm no Hollywood editor...

      yeah resolve is awesome and being used by more and more pro's. Usually on Mac (5 times faster on M1 Max). Which kinda shows the problem with this article. Here let me rewrite a shorter version of this article:

      "I use one free program on windows that works really well, I then tried a port of it to Mac and it didn't run as well".

      The article doesn't mention:

      - he could bootcamp the MacBook (intel only)

      - there are alternatives native to Mac

      - the point of free software is not the price, but that you can change it/improve it

      I wish there were more apps available for the M1 iPad Pro 12.9" - it's a seriously powerful machine that is lacking seriously powerful software. I don't think anyone ever expected Apple to stick a processor that powerful in a tablet. We're still catching up.

      Far from MacOS being the laggard - iPadOS is the laggard.

      edit: to add: I looked at his YouTube video - nothing there that iMovie (bundled with MacOS for 'free') can't do easily. Nothing as fancy as Davinci resolve needed. For 'live' equivalent, I've used CamTwist but there are lots of choices.

      1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge

        Re: I'm no Hollywood editor...

        Agreed that iOS is the issue.

        I know things the staff at my church do in iMovie on Macs that iMovie for my iPad won't let me do. It's pretty much only good for stringing together photos, from what I could tell.

        Since my main personal machine (church stuff, not work) was Windows [1], I tried VDSC. The program worked fine -- it was just my having to learn [2].

        1. No Macs in the house, but I'll spare the other details.

        2. I also learned I'm never going to be a full-time A/V whiz like I imagined myself to be in high school.

      2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: I'm no Hollywood editor...

        I wish there were more apps available for the M1 iPad Pro 12.9"

        Agree completely. Most of the iPad editors are terrible. Even iMovie on the iPad is but a pale shadow of the Mac version...and the Mac version is pretty limited. (Don't want to cut into FCP sales, I guess)

        The best iPad video editor I've found so far is LumaFusion, which is a fairly powerful and usable prosumer tool. It reminds me a bit of CyberLink PowerDirector on PC (which I like). It's also one of the few iPad Pro apps that can use a second monitor as something other than a mirror of the touchscreen.

        LumaFusion's US $30 upfront price seems a bit steep, but at least that's a one-and-done purchase -- a rare find on the App Store these days. Many of LF's (IMHO inferior) competitors charge that much or more per year for a subscription.

      3. Trixr

        Re: I'm no Hollywood editor...

        I'm no great fan of Macs myself, but yes, I was eyerolling throughout at the tone of "boo hoo, this one tool doesn't work on this device".

        If there's additional context as to why Macs are underperforming when it comes to AV processing in geneal, it's missing from this piece.

    2. badflorist

      Re: I'm no Hollywood editor...

      "...downloaded DaVinci resolve"

      Generally their software is for color grading, that's probably why you saw it mentioned in the video/movie.

      Blackmagic is butt hurt about their loosing battle to push their proprietary RAW format. They also pose as "open" when they are not, not at all. This becomes VERY noticeable when you try to write a driver for non-blackmagic OEM hardware, especially since most of their software doesn't seem to conform to EIA RS-422A or anything similar.

      If you're only using the free stuff that's 1 thing, but be warned that there's a lot wrong with blackmagic that isn't noticed until they "gotcha".

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: I'm no Hollywood editor...

        That's a shame because they have some hardware which has some really good specs on paper. My boss loaned me a Blackmagic video capture box. Couldn't get it recognised under Linux at all - and now their 'firmware updater' refuses to uninstall and still reports 'you are up to date' every time I start up, even though the box itself has long gone back to its owner!

        Even in Windows I had a lot of problems with sound sync (S-video & analogue audio from Hi8 tapes). I'm not sure if it's the box or the files produced by the software, but every time there was a 'break' between shots on the tape, sync between picture and sound changed, sound was sometimes a whole second or more behind video or the other way around!

        Frankly next time I need to do some transfers I'm probably going to look for a £50 device which works with V4L and next time work is looking for a 'nice' video camera I'm going to be reluctant to list a Blackmagic device even though they are mouthwatering in the brochure.

        M.

  4. TRT Silver badge

    Your mileage may vary...

    Many NLE suites are Mac based. But the grade of hardware required for that can be pricey nowadays. It's true that the Windows PC hardware is far more flexible, offering intermediate upgrade steps at a more affordable price point than Apple. And this drives the software development - there are some cracking Apple video production tools, but they're matched now. It's an arms race between platforms, and it always has been.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can do 90% an a phone FFS

    My son is a skateboarder and uses his Samsung phone to shoot broadcast-quality footage with effects (slow-mo for a sequence) applied while shooting.

    As far as I know these past 30 years, Apple has eschewed the corporate market that Windows (no sniggering at the back) was made for.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Can do 90% an a phone FFS

      I'd imagine most of his audience dont give two hoots about windows: as you wrote: Can do 90% an a phone FFS - kids only do school work/games on Wx.

      1. badflorist

        Re: Can do 90% an a phone FFS

        "... most of his audience dont give two hoots about windows"

        From kids is where I last saw a few complaints about Windows forcefully updating while watching videos.

  6. Philip Storry
    Linux

    Apple had spectacularly bad timing

    The problem modern video - and many multimedia pipelines - is that it's much more CPU specific than you'd think.

    People assume that the work is just offloaded to a GPU, and for much of the video encoding/decoding that's correct. But for things like audio processing and some graphical effects, the CPU multimedia extensions are used. Stuff like MMX (remember that?), 3DNow!, SSE, AVX.

    In my own experience we've been avoiding deploying any M1 Macs at my workplace because the noise cancellation in Microsoft Teams relies on Intel CPU instructions - so the option just wasn't there on M1 Macs at first. The x86 instruction set emulation is great, but only covers the core features of the CPU.

    (Native noise cancellation on M1 Macs is now in testing from Microsoft, but we'll hold off until it's stable. We don't need Teams crashing on Macs due to this, especially as those with Macs are more likely to be in a position where their meetings are a bit more important.)

    None of this is unsurmountable. It's also completely understandable - I'm not blaming or slating Apple for this. I'm just saying that it is, in many ways, the worst timing that they could possibly have had. The M1 Mac that couldn't cut it for our correspondent wasn't a bad machine, it was just that the software isn't yet optimised to use it. In a way, Apple's excellent work at compatibility gave him unrealistic expectations.

    Further to that, on Windows you can definitely expect those multimedia extensions to be on any modern CPU, so all the software is using it. It's not so much that it comes from a gaming background (which it does), more that there are very safe assumptions you can make about what hardware features will be available to any PC running gaming software. Ironically, the same software ported to an old x86 mac might have done much better.

    Apple - and the ecosystem of software for their computers - will no doubt get there. But a CPU change right before a pandemic really hasn't helped in this particular use case, and serves as a reminder of just how complex computing is these days, and how many edge cases there can be.

    (Note: I am not a huge Apple fan. They have their strengths and weaknesses, but I don't personally use their kit and I find them more problematic to support in a business environment than Windows machines. Please don't assume I'm a fanboi, I'm just trying to point out that Apple's compatibility efforts can only go so far, and that is probably why Mark's attempts failed. I shall make my true loyalties clear with my choice of icon...)

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Apple had spectacularly bad timing

      "especially as those with Macs are more likely to be in a position where their meetings are a bit more important"

      Genuine LOL.

      1. Philip Storry

        Re: Apple had spectacularly bad timing

        They're typically Sales, Media or Management.

        We've been moving most people away from Macs simply because of the cost - and because of edge cases over M1 chips. We'll never have none though, and for some people they are still a status symbol. So we have to deal with them as a reality of life...

        They really do make compliance with security difficult though - which is quite ironic give the mid-2000's advertising that Apple had!

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Apple had spectacularly bad timing

      Thanks for the additional info. The M1 was released really for the Air crowd – maximum portability and battery time but not a lot of oomph and it was clear that any software that required hardware acceleration would take a while.

      But I know people who for years have been doing video on Macs because of the hardware/software. For a while it was either Mac or Sony because of Firewire. Apple has definitely neglected third-party software by pushing its own audio-video solutions, but there are still plenty of media companies dependent upon solutions built on them.

      But the article seems specifically to be about the Twitch/Influencer brigade. It's a mistake to consider this the future of video.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Apple had spectacularly bad timing

        "The M1 was released really for the Air crowd – maximum portability and battery time but not a lot of oomph"

        Have you ever used one? They pack a serious amount of compute power.

        No, they aren't a full blade chassis with densely packed CPU blades... but that's not their purpose.

    3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Apple had spectacularly bad timing

      "People assume that the work is just offloaded to a GPU"

      Well balls I just posted a comment above and now I feel an idiot (Nothing new there then), as yes your point is correct. Oh well I'll leave my stupidness there.

      1. Philip Storry

        Re: Apple had spectacularly bad timing

        Oh, I really wouldn't feel too bad about this.

        I'm no expert myself - I only knew because of my experience with Teams. Let's face it, graphics card manufacturers have entire departments funded with millions of dollars to convince us that it all just gets offloaded to their product! So it's a perfectly reasonable understanding to have.

        And it's not like Apple would be shouting about it, is it?

        This is one of those "it's more complicated" situations where we all get to learn. And El Reg readers are decent enough to want to learn. Frankly, this is one of only two communities on the internet where I'd bother to post this kind of thing, as everywhere else I'd just get shouted down by graphics card fanbois...

    4. Kristian Walsh

      Re: Apple had spectacularly bad timing

      M1 is a great personal-computer SoC, but once you get into the high end, it quickly becomes unsuitable for demanding workloads. The biggest reason is that RAM is capped at 64 Gbyte, and has to be chosen at time of purchase.

      64G of RAM sounds like a lot, but it won’t be in 2-3 years, and it already isn’t enough now if you’re working with 8k video.

      For context, consider that Apple’s own Xeon-based Mac Pro systems, aimed at this space, max-out at 1.5 Terabytes of RAM. That gives you an idea of the sort of configurations people are looking for in this space (although any production house with proper budgetary control won’t be buying Mac Pros if they can avoid it when comparable rack-mountable systems can be had at much lower cost)

      Of course, the solution would be to design an M1 using a traditional offboard RAM architecture, but once you pull the DRAM off the package, you lose a lot of the M1’s performance advantages, which were made possible by not having to deal with different RAM specifications.

      But, even if M1 kept its performance figures, it’s still outclassed in this space: once you‘re on a desktop, power consumption and cooling become less of an issue, and it’s hard to argue with the much higher peak performance per core figures achieved by AMD and Intel chips.

      1. Philip Storry

        Re: Apple had spectacularly bad timing

        Yeah, the move to SOCs is one that troubles me.

        My current home machine is a decade old, but it's the classic Trigger's Broom. Only the CPU, motherboard and case/cabling is unchanged, everything else is upgraded or changed.

        Given how long I've made it last I reckon that my next new machine - to be bought either this year or next - might well be the last where I can upgrade the RAM without also throwing out the processor.

        Both Intel and AMD are going to be happy to move towards SOCs as it's still money in the bank for them, so unless the professional Mac community revolts against SOCs in their desktops everyone will have to do it just to compete with Apple's products.

        It feels like we're in a moment of transition that I simply must seize, lest I be left unsatisfied in the brave new world...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple had spectacularly bad timing

      In my own experience we've been avoiding deploying any M1 Macs at my workplace because the noise cancellation in Microsoft Teams relies on Intel CPU instructions

      We've been avoiding Microsoft Teams as it's about the most crappy bit of software Microsoft have ever flung together, maybe barring Windows ME. Maybe it's just me, but to base your purchasing decisions on just about the worst video conferencing software in the history of video conferencing strikes me as a tad questionable.

      Given your icon you may find it interesting that we eventually ended up spinning up a Jitsi server and had Firefox everywhere. Works great, costs are peanuts as it was mostly CAPEX to get server space and have decent network protection (OPEX is mainly keeping the Linux server patched - not sure what distro they ran it on but I suspect it'll be Debian), it's rock solid and we know nobody is listening in uninvited which was apparently the deciding factor for getting the budget.

      1. Androgynous Cow Herd

        Microsoft Teams as it's about the most crappy bit of software Microsoft have ever flung together

        oh, to be so young.

        Proxy Server 2.0 still holds that title

        1. Philip Storry

          Re: Microsoft Teams as it's about the most crappy bit of software Microsoft have ever flung together

          An excellent call.

          Don't forget SQL Server 4.2 and Exchange Server 4.0. Both from a similar era, where it felt like if it compiled and worked on Microsoft's network then it was shipped...

      2. Philip Storry

        Re: Apple had spectacularly bad timing

        My company is part of a larger Group, which is itself part owned by a multinational. So I don't choose Teams. It's part of a set of standards that I have to deploy.

        Beyond that, I don't actually think it's that bad. Compared with the many previous attempts from Microsoft at messaging, it's pretty good. If you tried to drag me back to Skype for Business (no persistent chat history, FFS?) then I'd definitely tell you where to go...

        Teams is big, heavy and occasionally unstable because it's effectively a giant website wrapped in Electron. But that means that Teams is also easy to support because you just delete the user's cache/profile and it gets downloaded again. Swings and roundabouts, really.

        Where Teams has really been great for my company is its integration with OneDrive/SharePoint. There is no way in hell that I could have gotten my colleagues to use SharePoint to store files without Teams. I could have read my colleagues the mandate from Our Glorious Owners all day long, and I'd have been ignored. But putting stuff in the Files area of Teams? Sure thing! And then they can sync them locally with OneDrive? Well they love that!

        Nothing is perfect, but I've found Teams to be quite adequate, even advantageous at times.

        I'm all for using free software, but sadly I need more than just videoconferencing and I have corporate standards to adhere to.

        As to the worst software Microsoft has ever flung together... No.

        Someone else suggested Proxy Server 2.0, which is a great candidate. I'd throw in Windows 8/Server 2012, for forcing a touch interface on desktops and servers. But my real candidates are Exchange Server 4.0 and SQL Server 4.2.

        Exchange Server 4.0 had stability issues and talked to practically nothing, so we nicknamed it "Estranged Server". And SQL Server 4.2 had a habit of not returning data on queries even though you could prove it was in the table/view. We nicknamed that "Squirrel Server" because in winter it spent all its time failing to dig up data it had stored in the autumn...

        And, of course SharePoint. SharePoint has its own special place on any list of bad software from Microsoft, simply because it tries to do so many things and manages to do them all badly...

  7. DerekCurrie
    Mushroom

    Point Of Disagreement:

    "The tools gamers use to share their mad skills never get refined on MacOS because there's so little demand."

    - - In part only. The fact is that many or most of these tools are proprietary to Microsoft. Consider DirectX as a prime example. The loss of Intel x86 virtualization on M1 Macs is a problem in this respect.

    I'm also not sure how useful it is to compare gaming to video broadcast. But certainly there is a lot of overlap.

    In any case, Apple began neglecting video as of 2006 when it went to fully 64-bit hardware. I have no idea why. It showed in the decline of QuickTime. Apple has fumbled and bumbled around with 3D since that time, not taking up support for all the available standards. We used to have good tools for video streaming. But they were never professional quality and often qualified as clunky.

    As usual, as a professional it is required to use the tools that best fit their intended use. Also, as usual, Windows has annoying deficits of its own, far more than enough to keep me thanking my Macs. But if the tool fits, use it! And tell Apple. Yell at Apple. Annoy Apple. I'm sick of the ever proliferating Apple blunders over the last nearly six years now, most specifically regarding the Mac platform. Making Apple hurt is typically the best way to make them pay attention. I do my best to participate in that endeavor and suggest all others annoyed by their failings do so as well.

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Point Of Disagreement:

      Apple has fumbled and bumbled around with 3D since that time, not taking up support for all the available standards.

      And dumping existing standards such as OpenGL. And making Nvidia cards "producta non grata." And, and, and.

  8. tiggity Silver badge

    Missing Requirements analysis?

    Maybe from the outset you should have decided you needed something that worked both on a massive high powered, chunky graphics cards windows PC and on a far wimpier apple laptop.

    And if you found nothing that fitted the bill at that stage, then maybe see if there was something that worked on a windows laptop.

    .. If use of a comparatively weedy portable machine was a key requirement then it should have been factored in at the start, not as an afterthought...

    I would not necessarily expect something that worked on a hefty bit of kit to be problem free on a wimpier bit of kit (especially if additional complexities such as a different OS) / chip set & confused anyone would expect it to be hassle free.

    Looking forward to the next column - "My UK weather system simulation that worked fine on a Cray supercomputer performs woefully ported to my Mac so therefore Macs are shit".

    .. Note I am not an apple fan (Linux for personal use & doze for work here)

  9. swilson

    Just get an ATEM Mini

    Want to do video on the go then an ATEM Mini (various price points) will give you plenty of scope without having to have a high spec PC, they are amazing devices for their price point and are small enough to be portable with options like upstream and downstream keys, in fact they run the same software as Blackmagic's high end video producer products

  10. three5

    I work in film and commercial production, and the landscape there is 95% Apple on the producer / executive side, 80% Apple in the design / DTP world, and still very much Apple dominant in the edit suites, although I've seen a few places make the switch to more prosumer editorial solutions - Premiere on a PC. Editors in general are a crusty old guard that don't like change. I knew one that was still using an OS 9 machine because Media 100 had plugins that he liked. Editing isn't heavy on GPU, and is for more reliant on CPU and drive speed.

    You'd be hard pressed to find a PC based audio house.

    The 3d and composting world is nearly all PC, and that's almost all based on GPU availability.

    My work straddles the line, so everything that isn't Houdini a simulation, Nuke comp or Redshift render is done on a Mac - all of the day to day tasks just work so much better in the Apple world (for me). Everything design, edit and audio based, all Mac.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      .. which kinda shores up my opinion that there's no point in a mono culture. I look at a platform in terms of interoperability, and from that view the optics are rubbish for Microsoft, better for Apple and well, that's kinda how Linux grew up: online, needing to interface and at some point pretty much driving the Net together with all the other variants of Unix out there.

      You can have a preference, also from a technology management perspective, but those lock-in cultures have never really done the users any favours.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you sure?

    OBS famously runs best when configured for hardware acceleration, for example a plug-in for AMD cards. Here’s a post about the equivalent for M1:

    https://obsproject.com/forum/threads/“apple-vt-h264-hardware-encoder-unlocked-for-apple-silicon-m1.138433/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are you sure?

      That reads as "there is significant progress if you actually activate its hardware, but it's not perfect yet".

      Good link, thanks.

  12. mevets

    So Basic

    This collection of collaboration tools don't have any style or design; they are basic, like shopping at Winners.

    Apple, like the other great designers, are setting up their entrance into this field to show the important ones they way to proceed.

    Nobody cares what a white box pc can do unless you are working on a loading dock.

    When video becomes as important as InstaGram, we will have all the best working with us while you losers keep complaining about your sad little lives.

    [ I accept upvotes for my Anna Delvy impersonation ].

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    The path to here

    Let's recount how we got here. In the early days, Apple came up with QuickTime. It was both a MooV container format and a rich, extensible toolset for operating on multimedia. Apple put a lot of effort into maintaining it an it was glorious. They had codecs that supporting prioritized screen writes to get 30 fps on hardware that can normally only manage 15 fps. The API was a bit cryptic but easy enough to integrate into any typical Mac Pascal app. I wrote one of the first two multimedia plugins bringing video support to browsers.

    As time passes, video becomes less of a cool trick and more of a natural media format. The MooV container was starting to show its age at this point. It was a big bag-of-anything with an index in front of the data for fast loading of small videos. The complexity of figuring out what everything meant in a container exploded as QuickTime component plugins started being published. That up-front index meant that encoding always needed a minimum of two passes. Apple pressed on and convinced MPEG to make MooV the foundation of the MPEG4 container anyways. MPEG4 became the golden standard for poor compatibility.

    Now enter the x86 Macs. At this point the QuickTime native API is a mix of 68K stack params and PPC register params moving data in Pascal and C formatting. The contents of old MooV files is completely indecipherable. A MooV can contain PICT, which means that a big-bag-of-everything can contain more big-bags-of-everything. A PICT can contain a MooV that contains a PICT, and on forever. That up-front index is getting in the way of long recordings and streaming.

    Solution... None. Apple abandoned QuickTime as an incomplete system component but never admitted it. The APIs were required for developers yet left to rot. Only mega-corps could afford to build Mac multimedia apps by implementing the entire multimedia codebase in-house and then working with Apple to make it perform well in an OS that didn't want to support it. To make matters worse, Apple decided to do it all over again starting from the iPhone side. Most of that work was closed-off secret sauce that nobody could touch. So they didn't. To top it off, Apple went back to the dark days of soldered-in graphics cards for desktops with non-standard drivers. A 4 year old Windows or Linux box might have a brand new video card, but a 4 year old Mac has a 5 year old video hardware for certain.

    So here we are today. If there's a cool new video app it's going to hit Windows first. Does anyone want to work with Apple to completely rewrite the graphics driver interfaces? Will you have to tell customers that they need a new computer if it's just a little old? Do you trust Apple to maintain the APIs if you use them?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    understatement

    "With the exception of iOS, Apple has always been ambivalent about gaming and 3D. That ambivalence has left its platform behind in this next evolution of personal computing."

    What an understatement !

    I remember how, in the 90s, anyone working in graphics, 2D or 3D, *had* to work on an apple desktop. Period.

    And today ? Any serious CAD software runs on windows only. Catia, Solidworks native on a Mac ? At best it may work and be unsupported/disadvised, at work, it won't run at all. A windows VM is needed, if it works ...

    Games ? Lol, Apple crapped on Vulkan and preferred Metal as a graphical lib. Great, games are now done in DX or Vulkan, or both. Almost no dev gives a flying f**k about Metal. And switching to the M1 platform is disconnecting the platform even more.

    While I can run Hades and Disco Elysium on my 2012 Macbook, I think those will be the last I'll ever see on a Mac.

    So, yes, pro tools = Windows. Games = Windows and Linux (Proton), Luxury = Macs

  15. Binraider Silver badge

    Adobe, Sony Vegas... What else does anyone else use in a youtube capacity?

    Also, for domestic video production; availability of big multicore CPU's does favour Windows over ludicrously expensive Mac Pros.

    ARM on apple can address this; BUT only if the price point comes in sensible. It wasn't that long ago when Apple Desktop style PC's were competitive on price. At the minute only really the laptops are competitive.

  16. ReaddyEddy

    I’d like to know what Open Source software is being used here, both to look at the software and confirm the assertion I’ll now make. Mac software on the M1 series is being optimised for the Metal API’s which are in turn optimised for the uniform memory architecture of the M1. So, I’m not entirely surprised that the open source packages being used by he OP aren’t particularly efficient for this reason.

    A comparable situation is directly observable in the common benchmarks involving OpenCV, the problem being here that using OpenCV involves buffer copying between OpenCV and and other libraries in memory or even into the GPU.

    There is hardware video coding and decoding on the Macs however, if the packages concerned are not optimised to use the appropriate API’s they’ll default to using software encoding and decoding. Whilst software decoding is relatively fast encoding is notoriously slow and depending on the format laggy.

    So as ever best to compare oranges with oranges.

  17. sreynolds Silver badge

    I am going out on a limb here....

    I do predict an upcycling.... They will turn PCs into heaters, for the winter, while they churn away, ensuring that people that people cannot spend more money than they have by creating hashes of a public ledger.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Calling bullshit here. Of course a laptop isn't going to keep up with a desktop machine. In terms of laptops though, unless you have one which turns your legs into ash then you will not get one that performs much better than the specced out M1 Max.

    The issue is not the Mac here, but developers of OBS.

    Plenty of people using them for 4K video editing comfortably keeping up with high spec desktops.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Authour doesn't know what a "PC" is

    > Gaming is PC-centric.

    PC - Personal Computer. The OS can be Windows, MacOS, a GNU/Linuc distro, some BSD; it doesn't matter. A PC is a PC is a PC. Can we please just stop equating PC & Windows? Apple Macs are PCs, no matter how much the fanbois may disagree.

    AAA gaming is Windows-centric.

    Mid-teir is probably more console-centric.

    Gaming itself (incuding all the casual games) is probably mobile-centric.

  20. thejoelr

    Massive overkill for videoconferencing.

    I think if you are buying a green screen for a zoom call you are far outside normal use at that point. The pandemic caused a rush on webcams and for laptop manufacturers to upgrade webcams, but I think apple hardware already had better than normal webcams. So OBS isn't optimized for Macos, that doesn't mean there's a hardware issue. OBS will get optimized one day when there is demand.... and zoom is not driving that. It sounds a lot more like you got bored during the pandemic and spent a lot of money on something you found interesting.

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