(LEAKED) Apple Event “It’s Been Way Too Long” timeline (WATCHBand)

10:00am:

Tim Cook takes the stage at Apple Town Hall, carrying a guitar.  After going over company news, profits, iOS8 adoption rates, etc. he proceeds to smash said guitar on the stage, “The Who”-style.

“This is what you all felt like last year when we released GarageBand 10, didn’t you?”  He exits the stage.  Lights go black.

10:15am:

A low bass rumble.  Video starts playing – first a globe.  The globe zooms out into a watch face.  It is the Apple Watch.  A guitar icon shows on the watch.  GarageBand 11 for Apple Watch.  WatchBand.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 11.34.06 AM

10:20am:

Craig Federighi on stage: “We felt that we really screwed up with GarageBand 10.  To make up for this, everyone who downloaded GarageBand 10 gets a free Apple Watch, preloaded with WatchBand.

WatchBand demo: no controls, no timelines, no UI.  Just press the icon and start air-guitarring, Bill & Ted-style.  A song will appear in your iCloud, pre-quantized and mixed.

“We took GarageBand to the next level.  We heard you.  You wanted an easier program.  You wanted less control.  You basically don’t want to write music at all.  Now you don’t have to!”

WatchBand demo over.

10:45am:

Tim Cook back on stage.  “We’re replacing all versions of GarageBand with WatchBand.  Now to make music on your Mac or iPad, just shake the Mac around and a song will magically appear in your iTunes library.  No timelines.  No confusing tracks or effects.  No play button.  It’s magical.  So.  Magical.”

11:00am:

Brief Q&A session.  No questions.  None of the musicians and educators who built their curriculum on GarageBand 9 and earlier are present to ask questions.  The tech press who has no idea what’s going on thinks these are all great ideas.

11:15am:

Apple proceeds to release a ton of cool hardware, all running the new WATCHBand app.  The new Mac Pro can “shake out” 12000 songs per second, all while avoiding confusing things like Track Effects and things like low latency recording.

11:30am:

One More Thing…(hopefully)

Tim Cook: “We’re just kidding.  Here’s GarageBand 11.  It’s like a fixed version of GarageBand 10 with all of the features of GarageBand 9.  Extensively tested by musicians and educators alike.  This product was designed from the ground up to be a great starting point for music production, and comes for free on every Mac.”

End of year-long nightmare keynote.

WWDC 2014 Keynote LEAKED

9:00am – Tim Cook onstage, goes over great sales numbers

9:05am – Tim Cook brings entire executive staff of Apple onstage to apologize for Garageband 10

9:10am – Phil Schiller onstage, INTRODUCING GarageBand 11 – Non-suck edition.  Features include:

  • Track effects
  • Restored/enhanced Podcasting & video tools, including editing ability
  • Smart instrument controls via MIDI effects – automatic scales, chords & strum patterns
  • Library of popular chord progressions for use with Smart instruments
  • Pattern generators ala iOS GarageBand
  • Less embarrassing Drummer tracks – stupid shirtless Jesse is removed, replaced with physical modeled John Bonham
  • Smart effects modularized and available on any instrument
  • Wood panels replaced, changed to more environmentally friendly Bamboo

9:30am – INTRODUCING iOS 8; main feature is support for new GarageBand

9:35am – INTRODUCING OSX 10.10 “General Sherman” – main feature = wood paneling on all OSX system windows, ReWire support for Finder, Textedit can now be used as a Max/MSP patcher.

9:55am – INTRODUCING iWatch – includes tap to set BPM in new non-suck GarageBand.  No other features ready for demo.

10:00am – INTRODUCING new 44″ AppleTV – includes actual wood side panels, automatically plays audio from new non-suck GarageBand.  No other features ready for demo.

10:15am – Jony Ive onstage INTRODUCING “GarageBand SHOVE”, a new MIDI controller for GarageBand.  Includes actual wood side panels, support for Smart instruments, whammy bar, volume can be set to 11 (applause point/laughs)

10:30am – Tim Cook returns to stage, thanks audience end of keynote.

10:45am – demos of GB SHOVE and GB11 (non-suck edition) in the press area

Sibelius Users: A Pressure Group

Interesting activity going on here at sibeliususers.org.  From their description:

Please join us in convincing Avid that it is in everyone’s best interests for them to sell Sibelius.  This will still ease its cash crisis, but will ensure Sibelius lives on in safe hands.

A few salient points for further discussion:

  • Sibelius likely is not making enough money to support the larger staff that it has enjoyed since being acquired by Avid.  Doing a little back-of-the-napkin math based on the acquisition press release from 2006, Sibelius had 180,000 users back then.  Let’s divide that number by 5 years, (36,000 users per year) times the average price of a copy of Sibelius (let’s say around $100 since there are a lot of upgrades and Ed discounts in there).  This gives you about $360,000,000.
  • BUT WAIT – Sibelius was acquired by Avid in 2006 for only $22M.  So obviously the user base number was either a) inflated; b) a guess; or c) accounted for everyone who pirated the software as well as paying users.
  • By 2012, I would assume the paying user :: pirate ratio has probably gotten worse.
  • However, I doubt that’s the only problem.  In the time between the acquisition and the sell-off, I can anecdotally say that Sibelius is being used less by creators of content than arrangers, and other scribes and copyists types in the music world.  DAW-style apps have become the de-facto creative standard, while notation has become a necessity for those who need it (hint: composers no longer “need” it).  I admit this is a blatant opinion, and not something I’ve researched.

A few more points regarding Avid’s earnings:

  • Right before the sell off, Avid reported revenue of $152.1 million, with a net loss of $15.6 million.  They originally paid $22M for Sibelius, and not only can they not make this money back, but they are losing nearly the same amount just based on operating.
  • Avid is one of the only publicly traded media software/hardware-only companies.  The only other one I can think of is Adobe.  Everyone else is either a giant (e.g. Apple, Sony, etc.) or a private single-focus company (e.g. Ableton, Propellerhead, Aja).  This puts an inordinate amount of pressure on the company to remain profitable for its shareholders’ interest.
  • The main focus of their sell-off seems to be to strategically shed businesses they aren’t totally sure about.  For instance – the Education market (one of the original targets that made Avid want to acquire Sibelius in the first place) is changing very rapidly.  No longer is it mandatory to buy something like Sibelius to teach music in a lab.  In fact, some would argue that notation software is unnecessary altogether in a K-12 educational environment.

These lead me to a conjecture: If Sibelius was spun off back into an independent company, it could no longer stand on its own.  A company cannot simply retreat to pre-crisis levels and maintain modernity.  Since 2006, Sibelius (while apparently not generating much profit) had grown into a multitude of educational products, and integrated into somewhat an appendage of Pro Tools.  These projects require more programmers, more QA, more salespeople, etc.  The group (save Sibelius) seems fixated on saving the main UK office, but ignores the reality that Sibelius has changed quite a bit since growing out of that office.

Between this, and the possible hostile takeover possibility happening with MakeMusic, the notational software market could soon be in trouble.  But remember people, this is what drove you to Sibelius in the first place – you didn’t like Finale.  Now close your eyes and imagine an app that integrates notation smartly into the modern music making workflow.  Who will make it?  Does it already exist as a small niche product or is it yet to exist?  Will Finale or Sibelius figure out how to survive this decade?  I don’t know.  All I can say is that I stopped using both programs a long time ago.

► Translation from PR-speak to English of Avid’s divestment press release

Note: the news reports and press release don’t really paint a truly accurate picture of what’s happening at Avid right now.  Here’s my attempt:

Today Avid® (NASDAQ: AVID) initiated a series of strategic actions to focus the company on its Media Enterprise and Post & Professional customers and to drive improved operating performance. As part of these actions, the company is divesting its consumer businesses. With these changes, Avid will concentrate on core markets where its deep domain expertise, track record of technical innovation, and strong brand offer the greatest opportunity for success.

 We have no idea how to address the coming explosion of consumer products like the iPad, so we’re giving up.

“The changes we are announcing today make Avid a more focused and agile company,” said Gary Greenfield, CEO of Avid. “By streamlining and simplifying operations, we expect to deliver improved financial performance and partner more closely with our enterprise and professional customers. Our objective remains to provide these customers with the innovative solutions that allow them to create the most listened to, most watched and most loved media in the world. I’m excited about our future prospects.”

Our consumer base isn’t growing fast enough to support our business, so we’re sticking to the old suckers who have bought our stuff for years, regardless of quality or price.

Avid has agreed to sell its consumer audio and video product lines. The company’s consumer audio products are being sold to inMusic, the parent company of Akai Professional, Alesis and Numark, among others. Headquartered in Cumberland, Rhode Island, inMusic’s brands are best known for producing innovative products for music production, performance and DJing. The products involved in this transaction include M-Audio brand keyboards, controllers, interfaces, speakers and digital DJ equipment and other product lines. Avid will continue to develop and sell its industry-leading Pro Tools® line of software and hardware, as well as associated I/O devices including Mbox and Fast Track.

 Again, we have no idea what to do with this cool-kid hipster stuff like “DJ scratch tables” and “keyboards” and “newer software”.

Separately, the company’s consumer video editing line is being sold to Corel Corporation, a consumer software company headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. The products involved in this transaction include Avid Studio, Pinnacle Studio, and the Avid Studio App for the Apple iPad®, as well as other legacy video capture products.

 We’re not really well known for our video software or anything, so let’s sell that off too.  It’s not like pro software ever learns from what’s happening in consumer-land anyway.

The divested product lines contributed approximately $91 million of Avid’s 2011 revenue of $677 million. As part of the transactions, certain employees of Avid will transfer to each acquiring company. Avid estimates that the proceeds from these transactions will be approximately $17 million, subject to closing inventory adjustment, with a portion held in escrow.  Both transactions are expected to close today, July 2, 2012.

It’s not a “layoff”, it’s just a change of scenery!

Avid also plans to reduce the number of its employees as it streamlines operations, with approximately 20% of its permanent employee base impacted by the divestitures and headcount reduction plans.  The company currently expects to incur a restructuring charge of approximately $19 to $23 million related to these actions and other associated measures.

 We’re actually going to lose around 17% of our revenue by doing this, but don’t worry – the pro market will stay the same forever so it’s OK.

The company’s cash balance on March 31, 2012 was $49.7 million. The proceeds from the sale of these product lines should offset most of the restructuring charges paid in 2012.

We have around six months before we run out of money.
 Good luck to Avid, even those who don’t use your products don’t want you to die.  We need competition in the consumer markets more than ever.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion FINALLY fixes dual-monitor support

Hello, not that “Game Center enabled chess” wasn’t on the top of my list, but I think a lot of audio/video editors will be happy to know their second monitor won’t just turn linen in Mountain Lion when they want to go fullscreen.

From the 200+ features list:

How out of touch is Hollywood on copyright issues?

This out of touch.  The Verge’s Josh Topolsky asks a pretty reasonable question to a big mover/shaker in the film industry, and gets back an “ad hominem” style bashing.  Watch the video.  Know your enemy.

Topolsky reflects on the exchange:

What Ari seems to forget, and what maybe politicians and the film and TV industry seem to forget is the last time piracy was a flashpoint between the entertainment and tech industries, the problem was not solved by sledgehammer legislation. Or takedowns. Or yelling. It was solved by the music industry accepting that their old model was broken, and technologists figuring out a new way to do business. And that gets to the core of this problem for Ari. We didn’t go back to the way things were after the RIAA sued college students — the industry changed.

He doesn’t want to change his business model, and he will do anything he can to protect it — including altering the basic functionality of the internet. Pirating and Apple’s resulting rise in the music business changed that business forever… and diminished its financial footprint. Entrenched companies that owned every part of the food chain suddenly discovered they were just another cog in a big wheel.

The point isn’t that piracy isn’t a problem, but that the movie/TV industry’s solution is so out of step with reality.  Instead of doing like the music industry and offering compelling, reasonably priced alternatives (without ads and warnings and un-skippable content that makes the pirated version actually better than the real thing because it doesn’t include that junk), they want to alter in a basic sense the way the Internet works.  These guys were behind SOPA, ACTA, and whatever else is on the horizon as far as internet censorship bills go.

Force them to change.

Lets have fun reading into Apple’s acquisition of Redmatica

Here’s an interesting tidbit buried among all the other Apple news: Apple bought a small Italian plugin company.

I feel like I used AutoSampler at one point:

AutoSampler has been designed to be as simple as possible to operate. For sampling an hardware instrument, you just need to connect it to your Mac through MIDI and audio cables. The MIDI synth is sent a sequence of notes at various pitches and velocities and each sample is recorded, trimmed, normalized, saved and automatically inserted at the appropriate place in newly created instruments.

Pretty cool – I’d like to see this baked into future editions of Logic, for sure. But why acquire this company with expertise in sampling-based plugins? Surely Logic’s engineers could do this on their own. And Garageband’s sampler is…

…only on iOS. Here’s another Redmatica product: GBSamplerManager

Use your EXS24 instruments in your GarageBand for iPad songs
There are literally tens of thousands of commercial and freely available EXS24 sounds available on the internet. Drum loops, vintage analog synths, everything. With GBSamplerManager you can easily use them in your GarageBand iOS projects. And if you want to migrate your hardware and software synth sounds to GarageBand iOS you can purchase the simple one-click AutoSampler application on your Mac to create your own sampled sound library.

So, if we’re almost a year from the last major GarageBand release, and we’re just now buying a highly relevant company whose products could be baked into the next GarageBand, AND their products are highly relevant to the probably more popular iOS GarageBand, then either:

A) Apple already copied Redmatica’s core apps and they’re being swell and offering them jobs because their products will likely no longer be relevant. Expect a big release soon with all of the cool sampling features.

Or

B) There isn’t going to be a major GarageBand release until at least 6-8 months from now, giving them time to implement Redmatica’s software. Expect a big release in 8-12 months.

Either way, this acquisition tells me that Apple is serious about improving the state of affairs on Mac GarageBand, which is a good thing for everyone – if Apple is trying to improve their audio products, the OS is going to stay ahead of the game as well.