It has been a long six years from that day in June 2011 when everybody opened up FCPX for the first time. Many updates, over 2,000,000 seats sold and a growing ecosystem later, things have changed. A lot.
A few things we can take as read. Final Cut Pro X was feature lacking and released too early, it could have really done with more time in development.
And then there was that suicidal launch, killing FCP7 dead lost Apple over a million users overnight. It also created bad feeling that to this day is the reason why some editors won’t even think of going back to FCP, such is the hurt.
But things have changed - as has the industry.
Apple has had a good Mac year. It has started to address the critics who have been saying they have abandoned the ‘creative pro’. Yes, the Apple haters have had a field day accusing the ‘phone company’ of neglecting us editors, designers and musicians. However, the last 12 months has resulted in future product announcements from what’s normally a very secretive company.
For FCPX, Apple has been pushing out releases on a regular basis. The 10.3 update last October reengineered the Timeline, simplified the GUI and gave Roles more functionality.
At the same time we got to see the new MacBook Pros at the FCPX Creative Summit. At first they were criticised for having USB-C ports. Now, as the industry seems to be adopting these as standard, it was the correct move by Apple. Not that you’ll see bloggers adding footnotes to their reviews confessing they were wrong. Yep, iMacs and floppy disks all over again.
On the 4th of April. Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and John Ternus from Apple hosted a meeting in Cupertino where they talked about a new Mac Pro.
It will be ‘completely rethought’ with a modular design. We also learnt that there will be new displays and (maybe missed this relevance at the time) ‘configurations of iMac specifically with the pro customer in mind.’
The bad news was that the new Mac Pro and displays won’t be available until 2018. Just remember that Apple released the ‘trashcan’ Mac Pro only a few days before Christmas.
Then we had the staff ‘acquisitions’ On the 8th of February we found out that Wes Plate from Automatic Duck had joined the Pro Apps team to hopefully incorporate his Send to Motion expertise and more into FCPX.
On the 23rd of April, our friend and plugin writer Tim Dashwood joined Apple to bring his 360 VR know-how to the NLE. (It also shows our bad Photoshop skills and laziness!)
But what blew us away was WWDC.
Traditionally in the past the WWDC Keynote was where new Mac hardware had been introduced. The last three or four have concentrated on the iPhone, iPad and Watch leaving the average Mac user rather disappointed.
Not this WWDC. There were Kaby Lake processor updates across the board (apart from the air). There was also the announcement of external GPU support with High Sierra. They even specifically mentioned that Final Cut Pro X will be able to ‘edit within a spherical environment’
What stole the show was the iMac Pro. If ever there was a firm rebuttal to the critics, this was it. Too little too late? No, a lot and yes it could have been earlier. If you think it’s too expensive, then the machine isn’t aimed at you.
As we said in the WWDC article, it has also set the bar the new Mac Pro has to jump over.
And for a final note, we now know that our dear old light grey friend FCP7 won’t run on the macOS after High Sierra.
So to sum up, a lot has happened since FCPX’s 5th birthday, but we think that the next year just might be the most interesting yet.
Peter Wiggins is a broadcast freelance editor based in the UK although his work takes him around the world. An early adopter of FCP setting up pioneering broadcasts workflows, his weapon of choice is now Final Cut Pro X.
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