Recent rumors and obscure web chatter revealed that Final Cut Pro, or more directly, Apple’s Pro App division had a price tag on it. While these rumors were week, this sale would not be completely out of the ordinary. Filemaker is a perfect example of how Apple has acted in the past. There is no telling who would be interested in such a purchase, but the fact that Apple has these pro applications only supports their high end Mac sales.
It now seams that these rumors can now be laid to rest thanks to an article from TBV Europe.
According to Apple itself, NAB rumours that it wants to unload Final Cut Pro and other post products are wide of the mark, writes Dick Hobbs.
“I can categorically state, on the record, that is not the case,” said Richard Townhill, Apple’s director of marketing for professional video applications, going on to reveal that recently Apple hit the milestone of one million paid licences for Final Cut Pro. According to research specialist SCRI, in 2007 Apple took 49% of the US professional editing marketing with Avid trailing on just 22%.
The latest addition to the family is Final Cut Server, a software package that adds asset management and workflow control. As might be expected from Apple, the user interface is simple and clear; it catalogues any file associated with a project, so it can be used to keep track of versions of the script or budget just as easily as edits and graphics.
While the server software is OS X Leopard only and is best hosted on an XServe, the client is a 6MB Java application so can run on any computer, giving at least access to browse the content from anywhere, and review and approve tools are included.
Pressed on why Apple was only now entering the asset management marketplace, some time after Final Cut became a mainstream professional editor, Townhill said: “The reason we took the extra time to develop it was because we wanted it to work without an IT department to support it.” Certainly if you just want to link multiple users of Apple tools that is true, although in the real world facilities are going to want to integrate other manufacturers’ systems which is likely to involve some systems integration and file flipping.
The other surprising issue is the price of Final Cut Server: a licence for 10 concurrent clients is just EUR899 or EUR1799 for unlimited clients. Clearly Apple sees this as another mass market product: “There are a million Final Cut Pro users out there who need good asset management,” said Townhill.
Only time will tell what Apple will do for sure. But I think it’s safe to say the the Pro Apps are safe for now.