The tech world loves to predict and discuss new products from Apple. The flip side of that affection is that it also loves to pile on when Apple makes a misstep.
“Misstep” is one of the kinder things that some are saying about the newly released Final Cut Pro X. While the application has been praised for delivering background rendering and selling at a much lower price ($299), what it lacks has been a hotter topic of conversation. (Read Jan Ozer’s review, “Apple Final Cut Pro X Reviewed: Not Ready for Professionals.”)
To quell the storm, Apple just posted a list of questions and answers about Final Cut Pro X. “The application has impressed many pro editors, and it has also generated a lot of discussion in the pro video community,” the page says, with some understatement.
One of the most damaging facts about the new Final Cut is that it can’t work with projects created in the previous Final Cut Pro 7. The FAQs page explains that FCPX uses a new architecture:
“Because of these changes, there is no way to ‘translate’ or bring in old projects without changing or losing data,” the page explains, before suggesting that editors run both versions of Final Cut. We can’t see that answer satisfying many professionals.
The page also promises that a few missing features – multicam editing and XML export – will be added “in the next major release.” No dates are given, but Apple says, “We will release a set of APIs in the next few weeks so that third-party developers can access the next-generation XML in Final Cut Pro X.”
The errors on Apple’s part perfectly echo the radical move from iMovie HD to iMovie ’08. In both cases, Apple was criticized not for the redesign of the editor, but for removing important features.
Adding important features over time is a habit with Apple (look to the iPhone’s history), but it’s more of a problem when people rely on a tool fro their livelihoods. Perhaps Apple should have spent more time testing the software with experienced editors and building in essentials before taking Final Cut Pro X to market.