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Why We Won’t See The Next-Gen Logic For A While

Apple Logic Studio

Logic’s release cycle is becoming something of a joke. Apple have maintained the same iteration of its premium music-editing software- Logic 9 – for years. Despite making moves to integrate Aperture with iPhoto and Final Cut with iMovie, little effort has been made to minimise the step up from GarageBand to its bigger brother. And I don’t think we’ll see one any time soon, either. Here’s why.

Garageband And Logic Are Worlds Apart

Aperture will suffice for the amateur photographer, but the professionals probably use Photoshop. Final Cut X will do just fine for most semi-pro film editor, but to be the real deal you need to shell out for Final Cut 9 (or one of its many contemporaries). On the other hand, Logic is professional-grade only. Amateur music-makers would do well to stick to the intuitive tools behind Garageband.

The difference lies in more than just their User Interfaces (UIs). Many of the concepts that are fundamental to using Aperture are addressed in iPhoto – metadata, exposure settings and so on. Many of the underlying elements of Final Cut 9 are introduced through iMovie – the timeline, timed editing and so on. Not so for Logic.

Music being one of the most immediate sources of aesthetic pleasure or discomfort, Garageband is focussed on getting your recording down and passable as quickly as possible. To do that, you don’t really need to know what a mixer is. You can probably get away without really knowing what a ‘track’ is. You need not know the difference between software instruments and real instruments, and you never need to step near a waveform. On the other hand, these are all really, really basic and fundamental ideas in Logic. The step-up from GarageBand is huge as a result. It’s not just getting to grip with your surroundings in a more complex environment – there’s a whole conceptual leap between the two products.

This makes any newer iteration of Logic problematic to implement. Apple can’t really go down the same routes as it did for Aperture and Final Cut – the conceptual gap between products just doesn’t lend itself to that kind of explanation.

Apple Got Its Fingers Burned With Final Cut X

The release of Final Cut X caused uproar among the professional video editing community. Not only was the UI radically altered – so as to make it more intuitive – but seemingly critical features had just been totally omitted. What was worse, the new version of FC wasn’t compatible with the older filetype from FC9.

Apple’s reasons for making FCX as they did were plain to see: pro output shouldn’t require pro software expertise. Building on what is arguably the most advanced member of iLife, iMovie, made sense. But the result was decidedly middle-of-the-road. There were conceptual elements (fewer than the GarageBand-Logic leap, but still numerous) to Final Cut 9 that couldn’t simply evolve through using iMovie, they had to be separately learned. I get the feeling that Apple are going to sit back, recalculate, and probably make a go of another pro app through Aperture (possibly doing away with the brand altogether, and just leaving ‘iPhoto’). Logic is unlikely to be next on the list – so soon after the FCX fiasco, it’s a big risk.

While Apple’s core software team may be more preoccupied with helping the latest range of wireless printers play nice with OS X Mountain Lion, their pro app dev team is undoubtedly cooking up something masterful. But I’ve explained why I don’t think that will be a ‘Logic X’. Some users complain that the older interface looks dated; but that’s not Apple’s bag. To them, design is about getting the whole thing right – and Logic just isn’t on the list right now.

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