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.)
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.
I’m already in love with iPad Final Cut and Logic Pro, it just stinks that it’s a subscription and not something i’d pay for $300May 24, 2023
APPLE is SOOOO greedy to make you pay a MONTHLY subscription for the Final Cut on iPad Vs. 1 time payment. Like they wanna suck money out of u for the rest of ur life! Go to hell LMAOMay 20, 2023
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.
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.
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.
I designed this to explain who I think Final Cut Pro for the iPad is for. pic.twitter.com/XudittdchOMay 23, 2023
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.