By now you will have heard of, or read, either the Final Cut Pro rumor at Techcrunch, or over at Larry Jordan’s Blog. Techcruch generally has good information, and I seriously doubt that Larry’s post would have been done without a specific OK from Apple – that’s just his style. Both say in one way or another:
“The biggest overhaul to Final Cut Pro since the original version was created over 10 years ago”
“Dramatic and Ambitious”
“a jaw dropper”
Techcrunch (and less formal rumors) do say 64 bit, which would be great. It would also mean my predictions about the timing of replacing QuickTime with AV Foundation in OS X 10.7 are way off.
Since I’ve done a lot of thinking and writing about FCP’s path forward, I can’t help but comment.
Standard disclaimer: While anyone at the meeting cannot reveal who else was at the meeting, I can reveal that I was not at the meeting and have NOT seen the new Final Cut Pro.
One source described the new release as encompassing everything from low level architectural changes to a complete redesign of the user interface. In other words, pretty much a new application designed for the modern world. (I can have my dreams can’t I?)
I’ve already had to reinterpret some earlier rumors of a “dumbing down” of Final Cut Pro to make it more like iMovie. My interpretation (from last May’s article):
Let me go out on a limb and say that it much more likely means that Final Cut Pro is getting a very thorough rewrite. Not just a 64 bit/Cocoa rewrite (and hopefully take advantage of modern OS X features) but a complete rethink.
While the interface may well look like iMovie 09/11, that application is built on QTKit, which has enough features for iMovie, but not enough for Final Cut Pro, as I’ve written. So Final Cut Pro 8 (if that’s what they’ll call it) can’t be built on QTKit, and by extension is not built on the same foundation as iMovie.
My biggest doubt was the timing. I believed a rewritten 64 bit Final Cut Pro would require a rewritten 64 bit QuickTime before it can be developed and clearly that wasn’t a valid assumption. Speculating wildly – to pull off a fully rewritten, 64 bit pure Cocoa Final Cut Pro – would require building on AV Foundation (the basis of iMovie for iPhone), which is coming to OS X in 10.7 Lion.
One of my Twitter friends asked if it were possible that the Pro Apps team had advanced access to AV Foundation and could bundle it with the app. That has always been theoretically possible, but I thought a) it would require too much openness within the company, not something they’ve done before, and b) that’s a lot of engineering work for the Final Cut Pro team that would come to them “for free” in Lion.
My assumption that AV Foundation – on the iOS – was coming back to OS X with the 10.7 release relied on an assumption that Apple did not communicate advance technologies to other departments in the company. I didn’t believe that the Final Cut Pro team would have sufficiently advanced versions – on a different platform – of AV Foundation early enough to get 64 bit native Cocoa into this version.
I would be overjoyed to be wrong. If Apple have really pulled off a true 64 bit rewrite then they have to be using AV Foundation (or there has to be a completely independent rewrite of QTKit that has seen no published precedents, so that’s less likely). It means the barriers in the company are broken down. Perhaps this has been the most valuable role of the Chief Video Architect – Randy Ubilos.
I’ve covered what “everyone” thinks “must” be in the next version of Final Cut Pro and the things I think Apple should probably think about doing. I wonder what the scorecard will be like when we see the app?
I even controversially suggested that, as part of a rewrite/rethink, Log and Capture could be dropped from Final Cut Pro although I was persuaded by the feedback that it would be premature.
We’ll have to wait and see.