Balanced stones at the lake side with a view of the castle of Nyon

Digital Minimalism and Apple

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The problem with tech is that mobile phones, computers and more have reached a plateau. This plateau implies that the desire and need to get the latest and best new devices is gone. I am writing this blog post on a Raspberry Pi 5 with 8 gigs of ram, that cost about 100 CHF compared to my 2016 mac book pro that cost 1600 CHF.

[The Ad](

Apple came out with new mediocre devices that are thinner and with AI focused hardwware. AI is a niche but it’s a niche that forces us to buy premium hardware, rather than cheaper devices. The new Apple Final Cut Camera app forces us to buy higher end phones rather than living with the devices that we want to use.

Apple has offended people, including me. I’m offended that in their presentation of devices they are trying to lock us into their ecosystem completely. From vision mixing, to video editing, to music creation and more.

“But the last time Apple used this shtick, writers and actors in Hollywood hadn’t spent half a year campaigning to protect their jobs from AI. Game studios hadn’t laid off thousands. AI musicians hadn’t proliferated on YouTube and TikTok to the fury of the record labels and artists, and the Tupac Shakur estate hadn’t issued its first AI rap beef cease and desist order. The last time Apple did this, people weren’t talking quite as urgently about AI automation snapping up all the jobs humans once held.”


## The Broadcast Show

Many years ago I went to the Montreux broadcast show and the first time it was fun because of all the machines that did specific things. The year after this I went back and everything had been digitised so you had computers, and cameras, and that was it. The show suddenly became less interesting because rather than tangible devices, you saw server racks with programs that did things.

## Apple Digital Minimalism

When I learned to edit I had to do it mentally. I had to think of a shot list, and practice the art mentally. Eventually I had a tape deck and the camera. I would use the DHR-1000 to mark in and out points from the camera, and record to a tape in the DHR-1000. I became fast, and I enjoyed using the job shuttle, marking ten shots, and then assembling the footage to tape.

After this I used Adobe Premiere with the Miro DC30+. I spent a weekend learning how to edit with this system.

A few years later I got permission to use an AVID suite so I sat there, for half a day trying to figure out how to mark an in and out point. Once I learned I could do what I wanted. I had to learn the philosophy of the editing system.

## The iBook

When I was in Uni for the second time from 2004-2007 I chose to get a mac, with no intention of using it for editing. When I saw how well it worked I did almost all of my uni projects on my small laptop and it felt fine. I was so happy with this that I bought two more Mac Book Pros, to use as an editing system.

## Losing Ports

My love affair with Apple for editing started after my high spec video editing laptop was stolen. Usually I would have thought “fantastic, this is a great excuse to get a new laptop”, except that I didn’t feel that way.

Apple went from having USB-A and B ports to having USB-C ports. It went from having thunderbolt and Firewire ports to having USB-C ports. In effect we went from having one set of cables to a second to a third. Eventually we needed to have a dongle for each USB-C port.

## An Awful form Factor

Before the Rubbish Bin/Wine cooler mac pro we could add RAM, change drives, Video cards and more and we had real flexibility to build the system as we wanted. With time everything has to be external, fed by USB-C. Some might think this is great, because you still have flexibility. It’s awful, because now instead of things being contained within the computer they are external and take more, rather than less space.

## The Prohibitive Cost

Although the iPad can replace every object we have for creative pursuits this comes at a price. The price is from 1000-2000 CHF per device, and if you drop that device it will cost several hundred francs to fix.

## The Tactile

By crushing a piano, a metronome, at least one guitar, several tubes and cans of paint, as well as turntables and more Apple is signalling the destruction of several industries. Dedicated hardware has an important role to play in the arts. Playing a harmonica compared to playing Harmonica sounds on a mobile phone is not the same.

Years ago when I went from the VX-1E to the VX-2000 one of the things that I ready disliked is the shift from a manual zoom to a servo driven zoom. When I could zoom by hand I had full control. With a servo you need to wait for it to react but it doesn’t react as smoothly as a physical control.

## Ownership

One of the greatest flaws of iOS, macOS and cloud based services is that we never own things. We pay to use them by subscription. An iPad pro costs from 1000 CHF to 2000 CHF but that’s without counting the cost of all the apps we will use with it. Most apps are from 28 CHF per year to several hundred francs per year. We’re paying as much for a virtual thing as we would for the real thing, eventually. An iPad costs a lot to buy, and then all the apps that we want to use, to emulate real things have a monthly or yearly fee.

## Adobe as Part of the Problem

We can buy an iPad, and we can pay a huge amount per year for the creative suite, but recently the creative suite adverts have been about AI generated images, and adding colour to black and white photographs. I call this enkitschification. Adobe owes its existence to creative people, such as camera operators, photographers and more, but encourages people to use AI. The result is that Apple and Adobe are destroying the creative process by replacing human creativity with computer creativity.

Adobe and Apple should enhance the process, rather than undermine it.

## And Finally

We are currently in a dark age for creative professions. Television is being replaced by YouTube. Photographers and writers are being replaced by AI generated crap and spammers are more active than ever. For a year or more actors have fought against being replaced by AI renditions of themselves.

Eyeem, Facebook, Google and WordPress have said “We will use your content on our platforms to feed AI models unless you delete your content”. In these circumstances the backlash against Apple’s advert makes a lot of sense. Adobe is also tone deaf to its own users with the current AI campaign.

To conclude, for a long time technology was helping to lower the barriers of entry for video and photography, but with the emergence of AI in the last year or two the barriers to entry have started to rise again. If AI can do something for “free” then why hire a human being? That’s why the Apple ad is so badly received.





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