Is Final Cut Dying… AGAIN?

Posted on by Larry

Well, Apple Insider felt there wasn’t enough stress in our lives so they published a long blog written by Prince McLean titled: “Apple Scaling Final Cut Studio to fit prosumers.”

(You can read the entire article here.)

Naturally, the entire blogosphere went ballistic.

Philip Hodgetts wrote an excellent point-by-point rebuttal of many of the key points in this article, which you can read here.

While I agree with much of Philip’s point of view – I want to provide some additional points of view.

First, it make NO sense to me that Apple would make Final Cut Pro into iMovie. They already HAVE iMovie – why create it again?

Second, Apple has long been infatuated with Hollywood. For them to burn their bridges into a market they worked YEARS to develop makes no sense.

Third, in my conversations with Apple, the ProAps group is one of the key R&D Centers for audio and video at Apple. Many of the technologies we use everyday on our iPad, iPod, and iPhone first saw the light of day in the ProAps group. These products are very valuable to Apple both for revenue and for research.

Fourth, what Apple is thinking of doing, or not doing, has absolutely no impact on my life today. Apple could be working on cold fusion with free energy for everyone but until they announce it, coupled with a ship date, there’s nothing for me to react to.

If I spend all my time reacting to rumors, I’d never get any work done.

For me, this is the key point — as editors our job is to tell stories visually. The tools we have today do a really great job of helping us put food on the table and pay the rent.

Worrying about rumors in an exercise in driving yourself nuts.

Rumor: Adobe is Buying Avid and giving Media Composer away FREE!

Rumor: New lab discovery shows dental floss to be the ideal tapeless recording medium.

Rumor: Final Cut Studio is being ported to Windows Vista and being renamed “yourMOVIE”.

What does any of this have to do with us? You can’t plan on rumors. Apple has proved this time and time and time again.

Wait for Apple to announce something — THEN panic … or celebrate .. or whatever.

For now, though, I’m going back to work.


UPDATE #1 – May 18

I got an email from a friend with some inside knowledge of Apple. I wanted to share that person’s thoughts:

1) What happened to Final Cut Express?

November 2007 was the release date of the current FCE 4 Express. For Apple retail stores this was always where they would point people that wanted more out of iMovie, but weren’t ready for a $1000 buy in. It would only make sense to me that they would focus on engineering the interface of FCE to be slightly more user friendly, but not “scale back” the program.

2) The job postings were for interface design.

Why would you hire in an area you are looking to downsize or even delete? As you and I have both seen, the FCP/FCE interface is the one that looks the least “Apple” (whatever that means!). I can imagine they are looking to tweak that look and feel. I can’t imagine after putting out the videos of the Coen brothers, and Francis Ford Coppola, Apple would just want to say, “Screw you guys!” 9/10 of the Oscar-nominated documentaries were made with FCS! That was a huge win for Apple!

3) Steve Jobs

I don’t know if you remember this: Steve Jobs in response to someone expressing concern about Pro Video. “Give us a sign you still care about pro video, and not just the iPad.”

Steve wrote: “We certainly do. Folks who left were in support, not engineering. Next release will be awesome.”

I would rather take Steve at his word, than some blogger. Steve has been known to be discreet about new products, and say that they aren’t interested in something when they are (namely eReaders, and phones), however he wouldn’t say they ARE interested when they aren’t.

Larry adds: Thanks for these thoughts. There will, I’m sure, be lots more to add as time moves forward. For now, though, ask yourself: “just how reasonable do these rumors seem?”

UPDATE #2 – May 19

In an unusual move, Apple today released a denial to CNET of the initial report in Apple Insider, saying they were fully committed to Final Cut Studio.

You can read the full report here.


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