Apple to unveil new Final Cut Pro at NAB event?

A new rumor claims Apple is unveiling the next major version of its professional video editing software at a side event that's a part of the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
3 min read
The current version of Final Cut Pro.
The current version of Final Cut Pro. Apple

It's been awhile since a new version of Apple's Final Cut Pro video editing software was released, but that may change at next week's annual National Association of Broadcasters show. A new report from ProVideoCoalition says Apple plans on "taking over" the 10th annual SuperMeet event taking place on April 12 to announce a new version of the software.

The proof there is that some SuperMeet sponsors, including Canon, were purportedly told by event organizers that Apple had chosen SuperMeet as its venue to make the announcement and blocked out all stage time for its introduction. In Canon's case, ProVideoCoalition says that resulted in the camera maker canceling its appearance. The report had also claimed that Avid had its sponsorship cancelled by the event's organizers.

That does not appear immediately appear to be the case though. An Avid representative told CNET that it had nothing to announce with its sponsorship of the event but noted that actor and filmmaker Kevin Smith was no longer slated to speak at the event and will instead be speaking at the company's NAB booth. Blackmagic, which is also slated as a sponsor of the event aimed at video editors on Final Cut Pro and other editing platforms, told CNET that it was still participating and had its "usual booth there and are very excited about the event, as always." The same went for Autodesk, which said that it did not plan to present on the main stage but would be participating in the SuperMeet Digital Showcase.

Canon, AJA, Apple, and the SuperMeet event organizers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Apple's Final Cut Pro made its debut at NAB in 1998 before being released as a product the following year. The software has a history of April releases, though its last major version came in July 2009. The software itself hasn't been a standalone product for quite a bit longer though, instead being wrapped up as part of Apple's Final Cut Studio suite, which bundles together Final Cut Pro with Motion, DVD Studio, and Soundtrack Pro, as well as the Color and Compressor applications. Apple also offers a standalone, though less feature-filled version of the software called Final Cut Express, which sits between Final Cut Pro and the iMovie software that's included as part of Apple's iLife suite.

Reports began circulating in late February that Apple was nearing completion on a complete overhaul of the software that would bring Final Cut Pro into the 64-bit era and more importantly a release this spring. That report from TechCrunch, which cited anonymous sources, said that the design was both under the hood and sporting a new user interface.

Final Cut Pro is of special interest given the direction Apple's iMovie application has taken over the past few iterations. When first offered, iMovie managed to get some trickle-down features from its more advanced siblings. But Apple has taken iMovie in new directions by offering an alternative to traditional, multi-track video timelines and the visual editing tools that surround them. While that's managed to play well to devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad where iMovie can now be had as a touchscreen application, questions remain about whether such an editing style would work its way up into a pro version of the software.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. PT with comment from Avid.

Update at 9:00 a.m. PT on 4/6: The previous agenda of the event has been scrapped. The page now reads:

The Final Cut Pro User Group Network is excited to have a very special guest presentation at the 10th Annual Las Vegas FCPUG SuperMeet. Come to see a surprise sneak peek at something very special - you really do not want to miss this one!