Final Cut Studio Goes Universal

Last month Apple announced that the universal binary update to its professional line of products would be released before the end of March.  And with the month quickly drawing to a close, some were beginning to wonder if the update had fallen behind schedule.  But true to its word, yesterday Apple released the universal binary update to Final Cut Studio 5.1.

Earlier this year, Apple announced that it would no longer offer its professional applications as standalone products.  Instead it would sell Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, and Motion bundled as Final Cut Studio.  At the time Apple was selling Final Cut Pro for $999.  Following the announcement, the entire studio went on sale for $1299.

Current registered users of Final Cut Studio can upgrade to the universal binary release for $49.  Users of Final Cut Pro 5 will be able to upgrade to the universal version of the entire studio suite for $99.  Users of Final Cut Pro 1, 2, or 3 will be able to upgrade to Studio for $699.  And, of course, anyone who purchases Studio after today will simply be shipped the universal release.

Following the first release of the Intel based Macs in early January users began anticipating the release of all things universal binary.  iMovie and iDVD, as with all of the components of Apple’s iLife bundle, were native when the new hardware was released.  Performance benchmarks on the new systems have been nothing short of impressive and Mac fans everywhere began looking forward to the day when all of the applications would run natively.  At the same time, Apple announced that its professional video and audio applications would simply not run under Rosetta’s emulation.  This left audio and video professionals out in the cold until Apple released the update to its “Pro Apps.”

Though most users believe that Apple has made good on its promise, some point out two applications that have not yet been updated.  As of now, Final Cut Express HD and Aperture have yet to be updated to universal binary.  With a day and a half left before the end of the month, will there be more updates to follow?

With Apple’s pro applications now mostly updated, just a few major players remain as stragglers.  Microsoft has yet to announce a release date for Microsoft Office while Adobe’s last reported deadline was somewhere in the second quarter of 2007!  QuarkXpress 7 will mark its introduction as a universal application but no release date has been announced as of yet.

As we wait for the rest of our applications to be updated for use on Intel based hardware, one thing is now certain.  Apple’s commitment to the transition to Intel is solid.  Every day more and more apps make the transition.  And while some of the most powerful applications have yet to be updated, we can be sure that they will be worth the wait.  The performance of the new hardware is impressive and it provides room to grow in the future.  These types of transitions are never painless but so far Apple has done a great job of keeping things on schedule.


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