Think Secret: Final Cut Pro 6 set for NAB release, again

Think Secret:
Apple is currently on track to deliver the long-awaited new version of Final Cut Pro at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show, sources report. NAB takes place April 14-19, although Apple generally makes its show-related announcements on the Sunday prior to the opening of the exhibit floor, which falls on April 15 this year.

Originally scheduled for release at last year’s NAB, Final Cut Pro 6’s one-year delay has enabled developers to expand the software’s original feature set, including the incorporation of many Leopard-dependent technologies, sources say. For example, Leopard’s powerful Core Animation technology will be employed to power Final Cut Pro 6’s real-time video editing engine.

It is unclear at this point whether the new Final Cut Pro Studio suite will include technologies Apple recently acquired from other firms, including Proximity Corporation’s artbox video asset management solution.

Sources also report that an expanded version of Final Cut Pro 6, dubbed Final Cut Pro Extreme, remains on the table. Final Cut Pro Extreme calls for a tandem hardware/software solution that will include a card built specifically for Apple’s Mac Pro hardware that will handle all the heavy lifting, making support for 4K media possible.

Think Secret was first to report word of that product more than a year ago; at that time, sources said price targets for Extreme were hovering around $10,000 a seat, putting Apple into Avid territory. Sources have been unable to glean additional pricing information since then, however.

Final Cut Pro 6’s delay was caused primarily by Apple’s need to shift developers from the Final Cut Pro team to the Aperture team to bolster that product’s code, which saw dramatic improvements with last year’s Aperture 1.5 update.

Most of those developers have since returned to Final Cut Pro development duties, while others have been working on the next version of Apple’s digital composition software Shake, code-named Phenomenon, which is being re-written from the ground up. Phenomenon is currently scheduled for a 2008 release and will likely require an Intel-based system, according to sources.