Why Apple built Final Cut Pro X

“I worked on Final Cut Pro [at Apple] from 2002 to 2008. It was an amazing experience. The Final Cut Pro X project was just getting started when I left Apple. It was an ambitious and controversial move, but it made sense for Apple,” Sachin Agarwal writes for Sachin’s Posterous.

MacDailyNews Note: Agarwal worked at Apple for six years before getting the startup itch. He is the founder and CEO of Posterous.

“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,” Agarwal writes. “Millions of people are buying phones and cameras that can shoot HD video, and many of them are looking for ways to edit. I know how to use Final Cut Pro because I worked on it for 6 years, but for most people it’s just too complex.”

After redefining the non-linear editing market, competitors began to compete on Apple’s terms. “It was time to reinvent the video editor. And Final Cut Pro X really delivers there. FCPX isn’t defined by a feature chart,” Agarwal writes. “It’s not trying to do more than its competitors, it’s doing it better. And once again, Final Cut Pro stands on its own. And once again, Final Cut Pro will expand the market of video editors out there, and I’ll be one of them.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
PC Magazine: Apple’s Final Cut Pro X makes serious leaps and bounds past its predecessor – June 30, 2011
Shake product designer explains Apple and Final Cut Pro X – June 29, 2011
Apple answers Final Cut Pro X questions; promises multicam editing and more – June 29, 2011
Change.org petition demands that Apple not change Final Cut Pro – June 27, 2011
Final Cut Pro X ‘backlash’ coming from competitors scared to death over Apple’s $299 price tag? – June 24, 2011
Conan blasts Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X (with video) – June 24, 2011
Answers to the unanswered questions about Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X – June 23, 2011
‘Professional’ video editors freak out over Final Cut Pro X – June 23, 2011
Apple revolutionizes video editing with Final Cut Pro X – June 21, 2011


  1. i agree, I’ve tried to use final cut pro 7 before…. I gave up quickly after opening it. When final cut C came out I was able to start using it almost immediately. It’s easy to use and powerful. I know the professionals are angry and rightfully so. Apple could have upgraded final cut pro 7 to FCP8 and created FCPX for everyone else. But apple will do what they’ve always done. Not be afraid of change.

  2. a more appropriate metaphor here would be passing the puck to themselves vs. skating to where the puck will be. apple is initiating the market movement again. not trying to mount the moving train. they are defining where the train will go.

      1. As in not visionary. Purely a function of numbers and sales. It would be nice if it really were a very functional reimagining of a PRO editor and the industry followed the move.

        1. Yes, it’s totally non-visionary for a charitable organization like Apple Inc. to focus on profits! I propose we suspend their tax-exempt status!

        1. And Apple de-mangle the mangled puck by passing it to where they are going to skate after the puck passes the other mangling skaters to thAAAAARRRRRGGGHHH!!!

  3. The problem is NOT with FCX, the problem is with Apple’s big FU to professionals by killing FC7.

    While FC7 will work on the upcoming Lion OS, there will be a day, too soon I fear, that FC7 will no longer work on a new MAC OS.

    In the past when new OS’s required new applications, those apps opened old files. Not so with FCX

    That leaves professional with two choices:
    1. keep legacy hardware (and OS) and hope it can be fixed when it breaks.
    2. move to Adobe Premier since it will import FC projects.

    Apple can no longer to trusted in the professional market

      1. Agree, I talked to some of the more level headed editors I know and they all basically said the same thing, FCP7 still has about 2 years left in it and by that time they expect to see FCPX mature enough to take it’s place.

    1. A few articles back there were a couple professionals editors saying that real pro’s use Avid’s.

      So I don’t understand the uproar if they are not using it anyway, right?

      1. The reason being, big companies are VERY slow to move to something new. They don’t want to dump the millions they’ve spent on Avid systems. I do network VO and NBC was still primarily tape as recently as 2004.

        1. Yeah, that “old school” equipment that no one wants now days because the new stuff is small, cheap and doesn’t have moving parts. Crap! I still have a 35mm Nikon camera but you can’t buy film for any longer. Augh! Anyone want to buy it, I’ll sell it cheap.

          1. Can’t buy film? Where do you live? And smaller isn’t always better. Otherwise you’d still be shooting SD instead of HD. Abd cheap? That’s right. And the results speak for themselves…

  4. This makes simple sense. It still prett sh_tty of Apple to wait 10 years for a long over due remake of FC, but the deed is done. As I now watch all of my fellow Pros get ready to jump to Premiere, (and no doubt Adobe is gloating by now), I have to wonder if what Apple did will be the trend for this market over the next 24 months. After all, the original FC was essentially doing the same thing – watering down high-end turn-key sysytems like Avid so that hobbyists and Pros alike would have access to non-linear post production tools that turned a professional looking end result.

    I guess well see what we see…

    1. I don’t think Final Cut Pro was EVER meant for hobbyists. Do hobbyists need to edit a three-camera sitcom? Or output to tape? Or most of the other features left out (at least for now) from FCPX? No, no, and no.

      The only area I agree with the critics: they should have changed the damn name (First Cut? iEdit? iMoviePro?), and continued to “support” FCP7 for a few more years.

  5. This is what I always suspected, that they were going strip FCP down to iMovie pro and then still try to sell it as FCPx. Apple can do whatever they want, but they should be honest in their position, ‘were no longer supporting the pro market, FC is being discontinued like shake & color’ and they should have named the software anything other FCPx, because Final Cut it’s not.

    1. What? And avoid all the thunder and fury which must have done a world of good when it comes to FCP X sales? I for one would have not picked up FCP X if all this controversy hadn’t erupted. It piqued my curiosity. Now, I’m having fun shooting video and using this nifty new and very powerful (for a “non-pro” like myself) piece of editing software to put together “movies” that people “ooh” and “aah” about.

    1. @Ross,

      You are absolutely correct, Apple are constantly changing. Without warning they just completely change things.

      Which is why the enterprise market has avoided Apple like the plague…unfortunately.

  6. This is just my experience, so I’m not trying to tell anyone what’s right or wrong, or how Apple should treat the pros;

    I had used Adobe Premiere, but when I switched to Apple, I started on Final Cut Pro 2.
    FCP was an okay editing system, a little more than I needed, and to be truthful, I found it had quite a kludgy interface. But I could edit fairly well and it took me through many wedding videos and art projects, and even one feature length movie.

    But I always felt that Final Cut could be much, much better, to the point where I felt FCP was not a typical Apple program, because it wasn’t really good, like most Apple programs I was using.
    I also found that FCP was way too slow a tool to use for editing, with too many steps to do simple things – no wonder keyboard short cuts are so important! Editing simply took too long.

    I bought FCP Studio, hoping for a faster, more intuitive editing system, but instead I was flabbergasted by the difficulty of Motion and Compressor, and even Color. FCP remained just too difficult and unintuitive.

    I began to do all my editing on iMovie (06)HD, and then FCE. These served my purposes, although FCE maintained Final Cut’s legacy of kludginess, and iMovie was good for only the most basic projects.

    Then, iMovie 9 came out, which I still find unusable, and I also eventually stopped using FCE.

    Despite job offers (I declined), I haven’t edited with Apple video software in a couple of years.

    The point of this lengthy ramble?
    I haven’t put my hands on FCP X yet, but from what I’ve seen, FCP X may be exactly what I’ve always expected and have been waiting for, from Apple.

    Am I the target market of Apple, and with updates and additions, will Apple bring the pros back too?

    Or will this be remembered as Apple’s Vista version of FCP?

  7. In the Big Scheme Of Things, it’s possible that Apple is just done with making tools for content creation, and that includes making computers that make content creation(at least on a professional basis) possible.

    Yeah Garage Band no doubt has been used to produced some hits, but I doubt you’ll find a major motion picture that has been mixed in Garage Band. Probably not a classical recording done entirely in Garage Band, tho no doubt it would be possible as well. Even iMovie has been used to produce some pretty cool videos… but a major motion 3-D picture??? probably not even close.

    I use Pro-Tools, and have used it on a Mac for over 15 years now. Should Apple no longer make a computer capable of running the professional version of Pro-Tools, it would be a sad day for me indeed…. but I must confess…. the handwriting is clearly on the wall.. more iDevices and no more MacPro’s.

    Maybe not now, maybe not even soon, but if/when this does comes to past, I won’t be surprised.

    1. are you aware that Apple makes not only Garageband, but also Logic Pro, which is the de-facto standard for professional music creation? Probably not.

      BTW, final cut pro X, as a former FCP studio user, is a Godsend, exactly what I was hoping.

      1. Logic Pro is not the standard. It is popular, it is powerful but is not used in nearly as many pro level environments as Pro Tools. Most major recordings made since the late 90s were made with the latter.

        1. Well I only know about classical music recording/editing, and there Logic isn’t the standard, actually it isn’t even an option. The pro apps for that kind of music are mostly windows only 🙁
          The market for classical music pros is even smaller than for popular music pros. I would never expect Apple to write software for that niche. There are tiny companies with very capable people serving the pros, so small that it’s nearly custom made. Those apps aren’t shiny at all, but they do the job.
          I also work in music publishing, and there it’s the same: custom made, ugly software. For the prosumers you have apps like Finale or Sibelius, but for professional work those are just not spezialised enough. And there won’t be any new software in that niche, the last step was from command line to GUI, and that was in the mid ’90, back then it was windows all over the place. We still use those apps, as they do the job and new development is expensive.
          So for me it’s like this: for work I have to use windows, for my hobbies I have the mac.
          I would love it could be the other way ’round.

  8. I can’t see Apple generating the kind of sales they need at $299. Consumers expect consumer prices – ie. like for Pages or Keynote.

    Expect to see FCP X at $49 for its next release.

    Apple have ceded the pro market, but they won’t collect the casual enthusiast at the current price point.

    1. I respectfully disagree. Granted at $299.00 they aren’t going to attract the most casual e-mail user, which are totally uninterested in video production at any price. BUT at that $299.00 price point they are going to attract relatively huge numbers of adopters compared to the previous version with its much higher price-point. They will make far more $$ from this product and are undoubtedly going after the burgeoning market of DSLR owners who now have 1080p HD video capabilities in their cameras because they have the money and desire for this product.

      It’s brilliant from my point of view. Folks get their feet wet with iMovie then it’s an easy jump up to FCP X. Think about it. Every wannabe Spielberg in the world will be training on it first because of its price. When they add the few necessary features it will be the new industry standard. It is professional editing brought to the masses.

  9. “Abandoning the pro market”? Like the stubborn IT sysadmins stuck in Windows world that MDN always jokes about, I’ve run into plenty of people who thumb their noses at any suggestion that Apple products could be used for professional work. One guy I worked with was constantly stoking Avid as being so much more “professional,” yet every time I saw him sit down at one of the editing stations, it was FCP he had open. I also watched many students banging their heads on Avid and whining that they wanted to use FCP, which they found intuitive. (But they had to use Avid for certain projects because the prof wanted the project files.)

    Lots of people like to armchair quarterback Apple any time something contentious comes up, which is almost everything they do. Since they’re the number one tech company in the world, they must have been screwing up at every turn, right?

  10. What those who poo-poo the complaints of pros are missing is that once FC no longer works on a new OS, millions of projects that pros have done and need access to, won’t be able to be accessed any longer unless they keep legacy hardware around and pray that it can be fixed when it breaks.

  11. People who are complaining about Final Cut Pro X are short-sighted. More and more people are editing videos today. To them, Final Cut Pro X is no more intimidating than any other video editing software and it is also more affordable. Features like EDL lists and XML may be useful to a few pro-editors but they might as well not be there for anyone who wants to edit vision and sound on the same application, like a lot of editors do already. What is more important is that slick videos can be produced by people who are new to shooting and editing video, without having to rely on external programs and talent to do so. A changing of the guard, if you will. At some point we might even see relatively inexperienced people receive awards for their work using Final Cut Pro X.

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