The news spread quickly over the web yesterday: Apple has gone back to selling Final Cut Studio. Now, facilities that have built their business around the NLE software can at least buy extra copies as needed. That is until Apple has cleared out its stock of the old software.
There’s another caveat: You can only buy the software via Apple’s phone sales line (800-MY-APPLE)–not its online or retail stores. Don’t expect a discount either. Just as before the advent of FCP X, Final Cut Studio 3 (which includes Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Soundtrack Pro 3, DVD Studio Pro 4, Color 1.5 and Compressor 3.5) will be sold for its full $999 price. Educational pricing knocks $100 off that tab.
Although Apple has said it is simply clearing stock, some see the announcement as a sign that the company is finally responding to the extensive criticism from many in the professional world. Final Cut Pro X, introduced this past June, took a radical turn that upended many carefully crafted post workflows while proving incompatible with previous versions of the app.
However, according to posts on The Loop and CNET, an Apple spokesperson claimed that that the software was still retired and that the company has made similar efforts with other software products at the end of their product cycle.
If this is a typical way that Apple sells such defunct software, then the blog site AppleInsider came up with some curious responses by company representatives–internal disagreement over issues such as the availability of educational discounts and even if the software really was available for sale in the first place. While Apple seems at first the only one to sell the earlier version, web seller site Videoguys noted that they did have copies of Final Cut Studio to sell, although it was in limited Supply.
With the announcement just this past week that Steve Jobs was relinquishing the CEO position, it’s tempting to think that the new regime headed by Tim Cook was choosing to be more responsive to the considerable unhappiness voiced by the FCP community these past few months. In reality, that’s probably just wishful thinking. Pro editing can’t rate all that highly in Apple’s future plans.
The numbers of people who see themselves as professional editors is relatively minute compared to the numbers who buy MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones. (The Labor Department recently provided figures that noted that some 25,000 folks across the nation defined themselves as making their money principally through editing.)
With Jobs’ influence now set to decline as the guiding light behind the Cupertino-based company, some are instead wondering whether there is even a strong place for the creative arts at the Apple anymore. In his blog posting on Wired, reporter Tim Carmody starts by asking “Without Jobs as CEO, Who Speaks for the Arts at Apple?” Carmody declares Apple as a unique mix “built on the synthesis of technology and the liberal arts” that Jobs insisted on.
The reporter goes further, calling this time of CEO changeover “an awkward place for a technology company with deep roots in media to find itself.” Carmody thinks that Apple has slipped in its support for video professionals, book readers, or just those who want to use a computer to watch TV in the living room. His bleak assessment is that Apples’ “strategies for media, education and the creative industries — its ticket back to relevance after 1997 — have largely stagnated.”
Meanwhile, the NLE’s two traditional competitors–Adobe and Avid–continue to push for as many of those disconcerted FCP users as they can scoop up.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Future Media Concepts (FMC) one of the nation’s largest digital media training companies, announced that it has “teamed up with Adobe to offer training and discussion events for users of Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium software.” FMC will be holding free user group events in six U.S. locations that will include presentations and Q&A sessions with an Adobe-certified instructor.
It’s not too hard to see Adobe’s strategy here: push hard to show that their NLE software can take the place of FCP with a familiar look and feel while working seamlessly with the rest of the post ecosystem.
“The Adobe Premiere Pro user group events with FMC help our customers stay ahead of the learning curve — whether they are current Adobe Premiere Pro users, or they’re moving over from another non-linear editor,” Anita Engelman, senior marketing manager for Premiere Pro at Adobe, said in a press statement.
This first set of meetings will address the latest version changes, hardware, plug-ins, techniques, and more. In time–each month for the remainder of the year–the events will feature guest lecturers in many other areas of expertise.
The Adobe Premiere Pro user groups will be held throughout the U.S. in Boston, Chicago, New York, Orlando, Fla., Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. For more information, to register for the Premiere Pro user groups, and to view the current roster of the user group events to be held at FMC, visit www.fmctraining.com.
Even though Avid reported a loss this past quarter, that number came in as less than a year ago. Many think that the Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based company is well positioned to keep and strengthen its hold on the upper reaches of the editing world. Company CEO Gary Greenfield was recently interviewed on CNBC as to technology in general and the company’s prospects in particular.
According to MacRumors, both Adobe and Avid are continuing their programs of heavily discounting versions of their suites and NLE appls through the end of September.