Apple Prepares for the Future By Eliminating Legacy Media Support

Change is inevitable, and no company knows that more than Apple, which  prunes the feature set of their software in order to keep it moving towards their future plans. That includes not only its operating systems, to its major software like Final Cut Pro X. And with a new update to content creators, Cupertino is warning that legacy media codecs are going to be left behind.

In Final Cut Pro, you might see an alert that legacy media files won’t be compatible with future macOS releases. Legacy media files are compatible with macOS Mojave, but they won’t be with future macOS releases. – “About Legacy Media in Final Cut Pro X,” HT209000

Apple doesn’t really explain just what their plans are, or when leaving behind the legacy media support will happen, but it does single out several cameras including Sony’s HDCam-SR and GoPro cameras using the Cineform codec. Avid’s DNxHD and DNxHR formats are also mentioned, along with a general warning of footage shot on “older cameras” or files modified with older software.

This leads us to believe that Apple is focusing mainly on 32 bit applications, which may be abandoned in future versions of macOS. That means DNxHD will be left behind, but what about DNxHR, it uses 64 bit encoding? Additionally, a great many of compatible codecs listed in Apple’s Codec support list are 32 bit. If they’re abandoning 32 bit codecs, that will mean the list of supported codecs will dwindle down to a handful.

On top of that, we know that Apple is now designing their own chips, with the eye towards abandoning the Intel platform completely by 2020. The new iPad Pro has a 7 nanometer architecture, smaller than even Intel has managed to accomplish, and it’s more powerful than 90% of the laptops out there.

So if Apple is going to pull the trigger and move towards an ARM based processor for their computer lineup, and that seems likely, it would make sense that the long list of codecs would have to be pruned back to give that new design the best chance to succeed in high performance applications like 4K and 8K workflows.

With iOS12 and macOS Mojave, both operating systems are moving closer towards merging, and as such, a future version of macOS could actually be iOS13 or 14. But only if Apple unleashes it to be all it can be. It’s pretty clear in iOS 12 that the iPad Pro isn’t nearly as high performance as it can be, simply because iOS 12 is holding it back. But that can change should apple converge the two operating systems. But in my mind, that puts us closer to the post PC universe that Apple has been talking about ever since they created the commercial with a kid using an iPad and asking “what’s a computer?

Many users may start in Final Cut Pro, but then finish on another app, and if Apple abandons many of these codecs, that’s not going to work for most professionals, who will have to move on, yet again, towards a more viable alternative like Adobe Creative Cloud. But even then, it gets murky as Adobe is moving towards complete support of iOS in some of their mainstream Creative Cloud apps

Whatever the future may hold, Apple is warning users now to start backing up their legacy Final Cut Pro projects and libraries. Then they suggest finishing up any existing projects and then export them in the more future friends ProRes 422 format.  More details can be found here.

It’s becoming more obvious that when Tim Cook said Apple hasn’t abandoned the professional content creator, he may not have been offering lip service, so much as dragging the community kicking and screaming towards a new workflow that he thinks they should be using. And it kinda makes me wonder if we’ll ever see that Modular Mac, and if we do, will it be the last Apple computer?

Hat Tip – RSN

About James DeRuvo 599 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

2 Comments

  1. Time to transcode / convert all of that old media. It’s not like this is a surprise and Larry Jordan and others have been discussing this for years.

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