According to AppleInsider, Apple is giving Final Cut Studio a "significant makeover" to target the suite at prosumers rather than the current "high-end creative niche." Combined with recent reports that Apple laid off 40 Final Cut employees, this news is potentially disturbing for anyone interested in the "Pro" part of "Final Cut Pro." So: unsubstantiated rumor or legitimate source of worry?
Similarly to how Apple (controversially) remade iMovie '08 into a less feature-rich iMovie '09, AppleInsider reports Apple is "improving Final Cut Studio and making it more appealing and useful to the needs of prosumers. Currently, Final Cut Pro is targeted at advanced professionals with a scaled down, less expensive Final Cut Express version sold to users who don't need all of its high end features. Because Apple now primarily sells the Express version, the company wants to rethink Final Cut Studio and scale its overall development to better fit the majority of its customers. "
It's not a stretch to say "Apple now primarily sells the Express version" -- on Amazon Final Cut Express ranks #12 in Software while the full Final Cut Studio is #182 -- but it is worth asking what the profit margins are for each sale -- how much does Apple take home of a $200 sale as opposed to a $1,000 one? And aren't Final Cut Express profits mostly a function of Pro R&D, given that Express is just a dumbed-down version of Pro?
Assuming this report isn't completely off-base, there are two possibilities here: one, Apple is indeed dumbing down Final Cut Studio in an attempt to target millions of hobbyists rather than thousands of professionals, or two, Apple is trying to make Final Cut Studio less confusing to home users while keeping its Pro feature set intact. One can only hope the latter is true, and it would seem foolish to assume otherwise.
Via Pro Video Coalition comes a response from Philip Hodgetts, who muses, "This actually makes me much more hopeful and positive for the next version of Final Cut Pro. It suggests that Apple are serious about rewriting and not just changing out the minimum possible. And if it looks a little like iMovie 09, that wouldn’t be all bad."