Dylan Reeve: Apple Has Abandoned Pros

Edit Geek by Dylan Reeve

It’s been a week since FCP X arrived and started a fire storm of criticism from so many of the users who’d supported Apple’s flagship video editing software for so long. It now seems to have become apparent that Apple has simply abandoned this small, demanding and high-profile market in favour of a much broader and more valuable consumer market.

Before I go any further I need to define what I mean by Pros in the headline (and from here on) – I am referring, mainly, to editors who work predominantly in broadcast television and feature films. Obviously there are many more people earning money editing video, but it’s these editors who are the most demanding, and for whom the uncertainty of FCP X is such a problem.

Has Apple abandoned this market? I think to all intents and purposes they have. They will continue to claim that their product is a professional product and a continuation of the Final Cut Pro legacy, but in reality it really appears they are absolutely willing to lose that market if they need to.

And why wouldn’t they? Apple’s estimate of FCP install numbers was “two million” a while ago – it wasn’t clear how that was measured, but many speculated that it was all sales since 1.0 or some similar aggregate number. Regardless, it was clear that within the larger world of FCP users it was a minority that were utilising it in the demanding broadcast television and film market. The vast majority are probably doing all their work within the one suite – capturing a tape or importing a file, editing, basic audio mix in FCP or Soundtrack Pro, export a file for DVD or web upload. And then another large segment are likely to be “aspirational” editors – people who don’t get paid to make videos, but have installed FCP because they would like to one day and it’s the accessible “pro” tool.

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