Apple ProApps Store: More than just plugins

In which I suggest that Apple could use their expertise in creating an App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch to create a store for post-production professionals.

Now is the time to start guessing about the new features Apple might introduce in the ProApps that will make up Final Cut Studio 3. Most people are guessing that new versions of Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Motion and DVD Studio Pro will be launched around the same time as the next version of Mac OS X. Snow Leopard is expected to be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer conference in May, with availability in June.

Some people say that Apple have had more and more problems dealing with Final Cut’s aging codebase. Fixing faults that have been around for years has proved too costly, however much they get in the way of long-time users. For example it is possible that Apple wanted to add draggable markers in the timeline, but implementing them caused too many bugs and unpredictable effects elsewhere in the application. It was probably easier to add features such as multicam.

This means that it might be that the best Apple could do with Final Cut would be to rewrite the whole application to fit better with the technology of 2009. It would probably take a few programmer-years to rewrite it all with no new big features. Experienced users would upgrade if all those little niggles were fixed, but Apple Marketing would have a problem with the ‘All new Final Cut Pro 7: Now works like it should have done for the last few years. Part of the new Final Cut Studio 3. Upgrade for only $499.’

Faithful Studio users are starting to request new features for their favourite apps, but it is likely that the feature list was frozen a little before Studio 2 was announced.

So, what would I add to Final Cut Studio 3? A built-in store for Final Cut Pro, LiveType, Motion, DVD Studio Pro, Compressor, Color, Soundtrack Pro, Aperture, Shake, Logic Pro, and MainStage.

Imagine having access to extra software and help from directly inside Apple ProApps. The Apple ProApps Store could also provide instant download access to plugins for Final Cut, Soundtrack, Motion, Compressor, Color, Aperture, Shake, Logic Pro and MainStage.

The economics of the App Store for the iPhone has changed the way people expect to be charged for their tools. Instead of buying large collections of royalty-free content, people could download just the parts they need. This would apply to clip video, livefonts, sound effects, music loops, and templates.

This would give people direct access to extra tools and help. This would also give tool makers access to a large community of users. As a Final Cut plugin creator, I would gladly give up 30% of my fees for Apple to handle distribution and billing for my software. They could even associate my plugins with specific serial numbers of Final Cut Pro and Motion. I could also provide free plugins, tutorials, footage and fonts to those who want them.

The Apple ProApps Store could also give access to freelancers who could provide personal tutorials, instant help and workflow consultancy. Sound designers, motion graphics professionals, typographers and programmers could make themselves available for commissioned work. Not many editors have created a professional environment for colour correction. Via the ProApps Store, freelance Apple Color graders could even colour correct a few representative frames from a series of shots in a difficult scene.

The Store could also provide a special search facilities that index external forums that might provide help when things go wrong or ideas when inspiration fails us.

Access to the store could be arranged through the Help system of each application. Version 1 could use a special version of the iTunes application. That would make the software engineering relatively simple given the huge effect this would have on the ProApps community.

If there was an Apple ProApps Store, what would you provide on it?

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2 comments
  1. Great post Alex!

    The concept of an Apple ProApps Store has been floating around for a while now, and it’s something that I think would make every freelance FCP editors life just so much more streamlined. As Apple already has the technical infrastructure in place, so there really is no reason why they can’t implement this.

    The only thing I would suggest would be, why stop at applications? Why not offer a facility to buy and sell stock audio and footage? Imagine how handy it would be to be able to right clip on the FCP timeline, select “Insert Stock Sound”, type a description of what you’re after (i.e. explosion), and then select one from the ProApps store, and it automatically is inserted into your sequence.

    I’ve noticed on twitter recently that several people have been discussing the need for an sound library software tool, and that iTunes is simply not up to the challenge. I think this new Apple ProApps Store could be the solution.

    I just really hope that Apple don’t try and put this functionality into iTunes – and that they actually develop a completely separate application that ties in nicely to the Final Cut Studio package.

  2. Alex said:

    You’re right, I left that part buried in the end of a paragraph: ‘This would apply to clip video, livefonts, sound effects, music loops, and templates.’ I should have made a bigger deal of it.

    Thanks for the support!

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