When audio software maker Camel Audio announced they were ceasing operations and making their product line unavailable, we considered two possibilities: either they had simply closed shop, or they were bought.
Well, they were bought. That is, we can’t confirm the plug-in vendor has been purchased by Apple. Here, let’s line up two scenarios again. Either:
1. Camel Audio spontaneously moved their UK business registration to Apple’s London address and named Apple lawyer Heather Joy Morrison as their sole Director. (Upside: awesome prank. Downside: um, maybe you get thrown in the Tower of London, or whatever England does these days.) OR —
2. Apple bought them.
MacRumors breaks the story, but this is no “rumor.” Because the UK corporate registry records are public, they have the PDF of the filing. (See below.) And Heather Morrison is listed on LinkedIn as Apple’s iTunes Senior Counsel, Europe. (My guess is this has nothing to do with the App Store or iTunes, but just that Ms. Morrison is the most convenient senior legal representative for Apple in the UK.)
Okay, so now we know Apple bought Camel. What does it mean for Camel’s products, like CamelSpace or CamelPhat?
I’m surprised to see wide speculation on social media that this means Camel Audio’s product line is “saved,” and will be reissued as Apple products. I suppose I could encourage this notion. Sure, you’ll see Apple Alchemy 2 soon, available as AU, AAX, and VST for OS X and Windows. Oh, yes, and we took Bruiser the dog to a farm upstate. He’s loving all that free space to run around.*
No, the most apt comparison would seem to be Redmatica. That vendor of automatic sample import products was bought way back in 2012, and only at the beginning of this year did the acquisition bear any fruits – in the form of a far more limited implementation of the same functionality inside MainStage. The rest of the Redmatica acquisition fits the pattern, too: the developer simply closed up shop with no explanation and ceased making the products.
Apple’s smaller developer acquisition targets seem to be more about adding talent, presumably both on OS X and iOS. It certainly indicates the company’s ongoing commitment to its music creation line, GarageBand and Logic Pro. Camel has competencies in signal processing and software instruments, on both desktop and mobile. Now, it’s possible that Alchemy 2, at least, which commenters have already observed was well underway, would surface as a new instrument from Apple. It’s even possible that Camel was already doing contract development work for Apple – note the appearance of new compressor models in Logic Pro X 10.1. (I think that more likely that was done by engineers already in-house, but it’s within the realm of possibility.)
But I suspect Camel Audio fans will mostly have to comfort themselves by knowing the talent, experience, and assets of Camel will become part of Apple’s existing software efforts over time. That will lead to something, but more likely a form fitting Apple’s product lineup and plans. Anyone with any hope of seeing Camel’s current product lineup on the Mac in anything resembling its present form is more optimistic than I am. (And anyone ever expecting anything for Windows again has actually left our reality.)
Apple might want more talent, too. They’ve got both OS X and iOS to cover, and development has been handled in no small part by veterans of former Emagic. If there has been any attrition of those Emagic veterans (either in Hamburg or relocated to California), Apple would need to pick up the slack, and hiring music developers is a specialized field. Talent is actually hard to find, at least from what I’ve heard in (off-the-record, informal) chats with human resources at every music developer I’ve ever spoken to.
One other wrinkle: we don’t know what’s on Apple’s future product road map. Remember those mobile competencies? Rumor sites have been predicting new, more pro-focused tablet hardware. The joy of not knowing is, you’re free to speculate.
But yes, bottom line, as MacRumors writes:
It is not known what Apple plans to do with Camel Audio, but it’s possible the company’s technology could be incorporated into a future version of Logic Pro X, Apple’s software designed for professional musicians, or GarageBand.
Well, yes, those, simply substituting the word “possible” with the words “incredibly likely.”
In the meantime, I will send good wishes to the Camel Audio team on the acquisition. There was an outpouring of support from readers for the work you did. It was clearly widely appreciated. I hope the Apple acquisition does lead to good things personally and professionally, and I look forward to using the tools you make with them – whatever form it may take.
And with the scoop:
Apple Acquires Popular Instrument and Effect Plug-In Maker Camel Audio [Juli Clover for MacRumors]
Here’s Camel Audio’s Alchemy running on the iPad – and likely part of why Apple found them interesting.
And yes, while commenters went on a long tirade about piracy, it’s possible that Alchemy’s free-to-buy, in-app-purchasing for everything else model didn’t pan out, either.
Addendum: I also want to congratulate Chris Breen on his move to Apple. The former Macworld editor was my start in this business, connecting me both with my first assignment for that magazine and (indirectly) with Keyboard, as well. I literally wouldn’t be here in Berlin writing CDM if not for him. The timing here could also be relevant: Chris’ music knowledge might be applied to added documentation of some kind there. (Chris and I were, over the years, alternatively reviewing Apple Logic.)
We speculate on all of these things, but at the end of the day, what matters the most to me personally is that the talented people working in this industry have fulfilling careers. And so I do hope Apple means good things for them. I’m only sorry not to get to continue to read Chris’ work at Macworld.