What’s good for post production is good for the rest of Apple

When industry analysts try and come up with things Apple can do with their money, some suggest they buy  companies like Disney, Spotify or Tesla.

In practice Apple buys companies for their underlying technology.

Reuters reports that Apple are buying up companies to support their efforts to make iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Apple Watches and Macs smarter:

“In the past, Apple has not been at the vanguard of machine learning and cutting edge artificial intelligence work, but that is rapidly changing,” he said. “They are after the best and the brightest, just like everybody else.”

Acquisitions of startups such as podcasting app Swell, social media analytics firm Topsy and personal assistant app Cue have also expanded Apple’s pool of experts in the field.

ProApps users have benefitted from Apple shopping sprees recently. Logic Pro X 10.2 now includes software acquired with Alchemy. Final Cut Pro X can now deliver TV programmes to UK broadcasters because Apple acquired MXF export software from Hamburg Pro Media.

If post production needs can be met by software and patents that would benefit other Apple products and services, so much the better.

Two candidates

While we wait for a professional audio application designed at its core for post production – which could be named ‘Soundtrack Pro X’ – Final Cut users have been raving about some specialised plugins from iZotope. Their Advanced Post Production bundle is able to fix audio problems previously thought impossible to solve, and also can create standards-compliant audio for use by broadcasters and distributors.

Imagine if Apple bought the services of their people and their algorithms, patents and products. As well as working well in Final Cut, Logic and iMovie productions, deep knowledge of being able to remove reverb, echos and distracting noise from records would be very useful for parts of iOS and OS X that interpret audio instructions and environments.

It almost seems as if iZotope have re-organised themselves so as to prepare for an offer from Apple. From their August 18th press release:

iZotope, Inc., a leading audio technology company, today announced its strategic decision to divide the current iZotope product line into two distinct families of products, one focused on Music Production and the other on Audio Post Production.

Another useful ability for post production software and for operating systems would be the ability to analyze large amounts of audio. Step up Nexidia.

They have products that can search for specific phrases phrases from hours of media, do quality control on captions, video description channels, languages and a tool that can automatically align captions to specific speakers.

Nexidia’s Dialogue Search enables content producers, owners, and consumers to type any combination of words or phrases, and in only seconds, find and preview any media clip where those words or phrases are spoken—independent of any captions, transcript, or metadata.

As well as supporting productions with terabytes of data to search through for creative reasons, Nexidia software could be used by Apple to interpret petabytes of video stored on iCloud – anonymised of course. The more advanced tools Apple has to understand audio, the better.

Which companies, products or services do you think you could persuade Apple to buy?

4th September 2015

Final Cut Pro X 10.2.2 Update: Codecs and workflow

8th September 2015

Final Cut Pro X dynamic range and colour gamut: Watch out for clipping