Apple Offers Final Cut Pro X, Revamped Editing Platform

Apple's new Final Cut Pro X is a totally reworked version of the company's video-editing software, rebuilt from the ground up.

Apple's new Final Cut Pro X is a totally reworked version of the company's video-editing software, one the company claims has been "completely rebuilt from the ground up" and leverages 64-bit architecture to speed up the edit process.

Final Cut Pro X is available for download via Apple's Mac App Store for $299. New top-line features include Magnetic Timeline, which facilitates the arranging of clips within a project, and Auditions, a streamlined way to compare alternate takes.

The software will tag clips and organize them into what Apple calls Smart Collections, based on categories such as the number of people within a particular shot. That's in addition to tools for audio editing, color correction and the like. Apple is also offering two companion apps, Motion 5 for professional motion graphics and Compressor 4 for advanced media encoding (also available via the Mac App Store, for $49.99 each).

"Final Cut Pro X is the biggest advance in Pro video editing since the original Final Cut Pro," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, wrote in a June 21 statement.

Long before the iPhone and iPod helped spark Apple's marketplace revival, the company angled itself as a maker of ideal computing platforms for designers and other creative types. Final Cut Pro has been embraced by amateurs and professional filmmakers alike, and has been used to edit movies such as David Fincher's "The Social Network."

The question is whether the ability to tag clips, Magnetic Timeline and adjusted user interface (reminiscent in many ways of iMovie, Apple's lightweight video-editing suite) will represent a too-radical departure for those used to previous editions of the Final Cut franchise. But Apple seems to have relatively few qualms in radically adjusting its products to meet what it sees as the demands of technology and the market. Mac OS X "Lion," the latest version of the company's operating system, features some radically rejiggered user-interface elements, including scroll bars that remain visible only when in use and trackpads with an increased range of gesture control.

Apple is also focusing more on selling software via the Mac App Store, the spiritual descendent of the App Store long available for iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad. Even Lion itself will retail for $29 through this online portal.

At least part of Apple's rapid evolution is driven by competition, particularly in the mobile space, where rivals such as Samsung have made an industry out of producing increasingly high-powered Android devices such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.