Fuel for the Fire

People keep writing about Final Cut Pro X, and the constant refrain seems to be the same one I wondered in my last article: Is Apple done with the pros?

Sachin Agarwal, who worked on the original Final Cut Pro, and then founded Posterous, flat out says yes:

"The pro market is too small for Apple to care about it. Instead of trying to get hundreds or even thousands of video professionals to buy new Macs, they can nail the pro-sumer market and sell to hundreds of thousands of hobbyists like me."

Gruber tends to agree, but seems to think that eventually Final Cut Pro X will meet the needs of professionals:

"I think Apple plans for Final Cut Pro X to grow from where it is today to eventually meet the needs of high-end pros. What this release shows is not that Apple doesn’t care about the pro market at all, but rather that they don’t care enough to prevent Apple from releasing a version that pros can’t yet use."

Ken Segall says Apple isn't abandoning Pros, they're just redefining the meaning of the term Pro:

"Because Apple isn’t actually abandoning the Pros. They’re simply redefining what the word Pro means. FCPX is only the most recent indicator."

Of course, what he really means is that Apple is redefining what the term Pro means in their marketing materials. Pros themselves haven't changed, can't be redefined by Apple and continue to have certain needs that Apple is less and less willing to meet. By redefining Pro for themselves, Apple is effectively abandoning actual creative professionals.

Which neatly explains why non-professional editors like Agarwal like Final Cut Pro X, but Pros still don't. Or more accurately, it neatly explains why Apple had the balls to keep Pro in the name:

"In the world of Apple, a Pro product used to mean 'designed for high-end professionals with needs far beyond those of mortal men.' Now it simply means 'the high-performance model.'"

So don't let the name deceive you. Final Cut Pro X is not built for professionals.


Matthew Levie, professional film and video editor, is doing a whole series of posts for TUAW breaking down what it's like to actually use FCPX. It's quite good and a very illuminating look into both the good and bad aspect of the software from a pro's point of view. And I like that it spans multiple days and attempts to use the software, because I think that is what learning software is really like. It's also mercifully brief and to the point.