Major Final Cut Rumors Emerge

Several Mac rumor sites are circulating rumors about the next generation of Final Cut Pro and the alleged Final Cut Extreme. Although it doesn’t take an expert to realize that Apple will, at the very least, update Final Cut Pro at NAB. It is also common knowledge that Shake is dead, and Apple is working on a new product, Phenomenon. So what are these sites predicting?

ThinkSecret, in a report for PC Magazine, claimed that FCP 6 was delayed because of Aperture.

Apple originally planned to ship Final Cut Pro 6 at NAB last year but ran into delays when the company was forced to move members from that software’s development to the Aperture development team.

While I am no authority on this, it was my understanding that this rumor was discredited long ago. Personally, I believe that we did not see a new version of Final Cut Pro because of the universal binary requirements. However, ThinkSecret went on to mention what they think will be the up to 30k Final Cut Extreme.

Most notable among the additions planned for Final Cut Pro 6 will be the release of a new, hardware-accelerated version of the software dubbed Final Cut Extreme. Sources say Extreme is slated to ship later this year, likely in the summer, with a price range of $10,000 to $30,000, depending on configuration. With such a solution, Apple is gearing up to take on main rival Avid in the realm of high-end video editing systems.

Working in tandem with Apple’s Mac Pro system, Final Cut Extreme will enable customers to work with uncompressed 4K and 2540p video, suitable for working with Red Digital Cinema’s Red camera, which is also expected to be delivered at NAB, as well as the Panavision Genesis, Dalso Origin, Thompson Viper, Sony Cinealta, Phantom HD, and Arri D20 cameras.

Interestingly enough, FCP can already support 4k and even higher resolutions. While there may be not hardware to monitor this media currently, it is not like there are many systems that will anyway. It would be ridiculous for Apple to create such a system. There is not enough demand to make it worth while. While I am all for seeing FCP involved in the finishing step of post-production, it is just not practical. And if Apple is to announce such a product, most of the high end facilities are already so heavily invested in the Avid or Autodesk solutions, that it would make no sense to by and new system and have to re train the 100k a year plus employees.

Sources also say that Final Cut Pro 6 will require a 64-bit processor—PowerPC G5 or Intel Core 2 Duo or Xeon—and that it will require Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, as the software will make extensive use of Leopard’s new Core Animation technology. Those high-end requirements will also allow the new Final Cut Studio to support resolution independence, a new feature of Leopard that allows an application’s interface to scale with the display’s resolution, ideal for users working with high resolution displays with a high number of pixels packed into each square inch.

Whatever! are these guys thinking? The benefit of FCP is that you can use it on a laptop. Avid just recently updated Media Composer, so it could do this to. It had to, it was the only way for it to keep up with FCP. Apple would not just cut off 90% of its users.

MacRumors is following along the same lines as ThinkSecret predictions, however, they are adding their own spin to Final Cut Extreme.

To add to this report, MacRumors has received unconfirmed information regarding the hardware of the system. The Core card is said to utilize 4 Cell BE chips (as used in the Sony Playstation 3), with two additional “accelerator” cards being available, each containing 6 Cell chips. According to our source, the Core card will have 4 HD-SDI inputs, and a connector for a breakout box, as only 2 cards will be able to work in the Mac Pro (the only machine said to be compatible with the high-end system).

While this report seams a bit far fetched, it is hard to actually predict what Apple will actually do. But sometimes history is the best way to judge Apple, and a product like this would be a first.