Apple's Final Cut Pro for iPad pricing is causing controversy. Is it worth it?

Final Cut Pro for iPad
(Image credit: Future/Apple)

Since its official launch on Tuesday, creatives have been getting to grips with Final Cut Pro for iPad, and the consensus seems pretty clear – this is no 'Lite' version of the video editing app. The tablet version is the real deal, and even packs some of its own exclusive features. But a couple of details are proving controversial. 

Final Cut Pro (along with the simultaneously released Logic Pro) is a first for Apple. At £49/$49 per year or £4.99/$4.99 per month, it's also Apple's first subscription app. But is it worth the cost? (For the ultimate Final Cut Pro experience, check out the best iPad Pro deals available now.) 

Final Cut Pro for iPad arrived on Tuesday (Image credit: Future/Apple)

While plenty of power users have found certain features missing, it's clear that the biggest drawback for most is the subscription itself. While there's doubt that this seems to be the way things are going now (hello, Adobe), the idea of a monthly payment is proving a turn-off for those who like to, you know, own their software.

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To put it into context, it would take 60 weeks (or 5 years) of paying the monthly subscription cost of the iPad version to hit $300, the price of the Mac software. The difference being, of course, that at the end of that time, you've got to keep paying to use it. For those on a budget, the monthly price could take the sting out of an upfront purchase, but there's no denying that in the longterm, subscription-based models can drain a lot more from creatives' wallets.

Final Cut Pro for iPad

The new jog wheel is impressive (Image credit: Future/Apple)

So is it worth it? We'd say it depends on your workflow, and whether you're more comfortable working in iPad ecosystem. For fans of touch-based interfaces, the iPad could be an absolute game-changer, particularly when paired with the Apple Pencil. With Pencil Hover, users can quickly skim and preview footage without ever touching the screen, which could have a profound effect on workflow speed, while a new jog wheel lets users scrub through footage or trim and nudge clips with incredible precision.

Another headline iPad-exclusive feature is Live Drawing, which lets users draw anything on top of a video clip, from shapes to text – and have the animation of the actual strokes play at any desired speed. From lyric music videos to cooking tutorials, there's a ton of use-cases where animated text could come into its own. 

Final Cut Pro for iPad

Live drawing is an iPad exclusive  (Image credit: Future/Apple)

But there are instances where the iPad version might not be for you. While it's admirable how much of the desktop version Apple has managed to cram into the iPad version alongside those new features, some notable omissions could be dealbreakers for those working across multiple devices. While Mac projects can be exported to iPad, it isn't so smooth the other way round. Final Cut for iPad projects can be exported to Final Cut for Mac, but then can no longer be opened on iPad. What's more, projects started on the Mac can't be opened on the iPad. It could be a pretty major hindrance for those working across multiple devices, and we hope to see Apple sort it out.

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So, for the most advanced users, a subscription to iPad Pro for iPad might not be the most worthwhile investment. But for many, including those who prefer working with touch and Apple Pencil, it could offer the most immediately intuitive and accessible version of Final Cut Pro yet. Stay tuned for our full review, in which we'll dive into the pros and cons in much more detail.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).