From where I stand the new Final Cut Pro X looks great. It can undoubtedly do more with video than I would ever need. But, I’m not a professional. Those people who make their living from handling raw video with tools they’ve purchased from Apple are pissed, and from the stories we’ve been hearing, rightfully […]
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My Thoughts On Apple’s Handling of the Final Cut Pro X Roll Out

Screen shot 2011-06-28 at 12.37.42 PM.pngFrom where I stand the new Final Cut Pro X looks great. It can undoubtedly do more with video than I would ever need. But, I’m not a professional. Those people who make their living from handling raw video with tools they’ve purchased from Apple are pissed, and from the stories we’ve been hearing, rightfully so.

It seems that Apple, in an attempt to move the video editing industry forward, lost sight of who they were actually making Final Cut Pro X for. As it stands at the moment, Final Cut Pro X is a terrific replacement for Final Cut Express, which Apple killed when they rolled out Final Cut Pro X.

See, Final Cut Express filled a nice gap (albeit an artificial one) between iMovie and Final Cut Pro. It did more, and was targeted at a market that needed more than iMovie, but couldn’t afford Final Cut Pro. Now, Apple has lowered the price of Final Cut Pro from its former $1000+ to a Mac App Store purchase of $299, lowering the barrier to entry.

But I think that is where professionals are getting hung up on this whole ordeal. They believe that Apple has abandoned them and has reshaped Final Cut Pro to be a new “prosumer” product that Final Cut Express used to be. I see it a little differently.

Apple cared enough about professional video editing to rewrite their pro tools from the ground up. Apple is also trying to reshape the way professionals edit video, which in Apple’s view, is for the better. I sincerely believe that Apple has the best of intentions here. But as someone who has no skin in the game, I see this as a very similar move to when Apple removed the floppy drive from their computers starting with the original iMac in 1998. No one liked it, but Apple did what it thought was best for its users and the industry. By making radical changes, Apple pushes the industry forward. Or at least they try.

Now that is not to say Apple could not have done a better job preparing professionals for the radical change. Apple also could have waited a little longer to release Final Cut Pro X and added more of the features expected by professionals. In a perfect world, Apple should have added in more features, and better warned existing Final Cut Pro users that a radical change was coming, and that the 1.0 of FCPX was going to lack some of those features until Apple could later add them in incremental updates.

A far more cynical view is that if Apple were to lose the professional market due to this PR blunder, it does little to hurt Apple’s bottom line. Whereas if Adobe or Avid lose their share of the professional market, they stand to lose a lot of their business. In other words, Apple may not care if they piss off the professional video editors in an attempt to gain market share with the prosumers amongst us. That’s what this whole hubbub is about, and I do not share that view.

In summary, I do not believe that Apple is trying to piss off the professional market. But, if that’s a side effect of of exacting change, so be it. It does not hurt Apple either way. From where I am standing this is Apple playing a long game, but that is not to say they did not make a blunder in the short term.

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