Technology Predictions of 2017
Independent editor, colorist, post production supervisor and consulant, Oliver Peters wrote an insightful piece regarding his thoughts on the future of technology for 2017 for digitalfilms.

2017 Technology Predictions

2017

The next year will certainly be an interesting one. Not only because of the forces of innovation, but also those of politics. With the new President vowing to use the bully pulpit to entice, encourage or cajole US corporations to bring their offshore manufacturing back to the states, it seems pretty clear that companies in the media industries will be affected. The likely targets will be storage, camera and computer manufacturers. I presume that Apple will become the most visible and possibly vocal of these, but that awaits to be seen. At present, Apple is more of an engineering design and services company than a manufacturer. The exception being the Mac Pro. Given their volume and the expertise of suppliers like Foxconn, it’s hard to see how moving iPhone production to the US would be possible or at least cost-effective. However, low volume products, like the 2013 Mac Pro model are a better fit, which is why that product is assembled in Austin. But of course, there’s plenty of speculation that the “trash can” Mac isn’t long for this world. It’s sorely in need of a refresh and has been largely overshadowed by the new MacBook Pro models. Although I think from a business perspective Apple would just as soon drop it, the Mac Pro does have the advantage of servicing a market segment that Apple likes to be associated with – creative media professionals. If you add in the political climate, it’s a good counterpoint to say that Apple’s highest end product is made here. Factoring all that in, I predict that we’ll see at least one more iteration of the Mac Pro. I don’t expect a form factor change, but I would expect newer Xeon chips, when available, and a shift to the Thunderbolt 3 protocol, using the USB-C plugs. This way it will be compatible with the same peripherals as can be used by the new MacBook Pros. The same will be true of the next iMacs. I also expect to see at least one more version of the Mac Mini, as this provides a small package that many can used as a server machine. It will sport new Xeon or new Core i7 chips and Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. However, once these new machines hit the market, there are plenty of signs to predict that those products will be the last of their kind, leaving Apple to only make iMac and laptop form factors for their macOS products. That’s a couple of years out. If tariffs and a change in trade agreements become public policy, then imported products will become more expensive than they have been. I see this having the greatest impact with cameras, as so many (nearly all) are produced by foreign companies, such as Sony, Canon and ARRI. This may well be a very positive development for a company like RED. If all of a sudden ALEXAs become a lot more expensive as compared with RED Epics, Weapons, etc., well then you just might see a shift in the sales numbers. Of course, a lot of this is just reading the tea leaves, but if politics were ever a driver, this would be the year that we’ll see it. Read the full piece here.
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