Rants and raves about software art & design, artsy fartsy style.
And that's just weird.
The dust cloud is in full bloom; both Apple and Microsoft have shown off their new tech to the world, and it's now clearer than ever who is targeting us creatives and professionals.
Today Apple showed off their new MacBook. It is a slick machine, thinner than ever, but still essentially the same product. It now features a new method of input in the form of an OLED funtion row strip. The idea seems more like a novelty than a truly useful feature, especially in the professional realm, but it's a well crafted novelty. It's a welcome update to the long overdue model, but did it do enough to entice the creative and professional crowd? Does Apple even have a true pro target anymore?
While I've embraced digital art for over a decade, using almost exclusively Wacom products, it was never 100% a replacement. I still had a desktop set up with a digitizer hooked up; a very computer-y set up. I do use a Surface Pro, but I find it more ideal for sketching rather than full-on production, at least in tablet form. I currently use it for everything though, but I have it in a more desktop style configuration, docked to a larger screen with a Wacom attached. I have done full production on it, from animation, to concept art, to video production and game art/design solely on this machine for multiple released products. But my interaction with it is still the same as a normal PC, for the most part. Before yesterday, I could choose a MacBook Pro or a Surface Pro and my workflow would hardly change.
Now Microsoft showed off it's new computing device, precisely aimed at artists, designers, and photographers. Their new Surface Studio is the holy grail for for creatives, like myself. I've long wanted a computer to completely replace a drafting or drawing table. The Surface Studio is a no compromise machine for people that are setting out to create things. From it's massive 28" touch screen, low angle adjustment. palm rejection, high color output, over 4k screen, and insane specs, it's gives you everything a creative wants. Oh, not to forget about the cool input the Dial allows.
The new MacBook Pro, by contrast, looks to be targeting consumers and prosumers as opposed to full-on professionals. I can't think of an excuse an artist would make to choose a MacBook Pro over a Surface Studio, well except price and portability, and even then there's a really good argument to be made about the new Surface Book. But we're talking about no-compromise tools for professionals. I envision art departments with rows of the Studio. Just walk up to it like a drawing table and get busy. It's a remarkable time to be a creative.
It seems to run even deeper too. Apple's answer to the Surface Pro was the iPad Pro. But outside the touch and pen abilities, they couldn't be anymore different. You can outfit a Surface Pro with an i7 Intel CPU, 16 gigs of RAM, and 1TB of storage. There is no limit to what that machine can do. Every. Single. creative suite is available to you. In contrast, Apple's Pro iPad is still iOS and runs off ARM chips. It's not a dockable machine. It cannot run the Adobe suite or other pro tools. If you're a game developer, you cannot code on it or run game engines. The only Pro use I can see is where someone needs to replace a clipboard. It's a consumer device in the guise of pro marketing.
And while less of an issue, there are even arguments to be made about the Mac Pro computer. While it's a full MacOS box, it's woefully under powered compared to competing workstations. There's just little reason for video editors to spring for the machine at the pricepoint and specs it offers; and that's their flagship mega Pro computer.
It seems that we've seen a major reversal from the two tech giants. Microsoft wants the artists, Apple wants the consumers, and that's just weird.