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Apple finally pro giving Pro iPads these Pro apps

Final Cut, Logic to land on fondleslabs – in subscription form

Apple has finally seen fit to bring Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro to its iPad range.

In a surprise announcement a month ahead of the iGiant's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple announced it was bringing those two Pro apps to its tablets, eight years and six generations after it launched the iPad Pro.

Both of the creative apps are scheduled to arrive in the App Store on May 23. But unlike their desktop contemporaries, they won't be available for a one-time charge. Apple plans to offer both apps as a $4.99/month subscription — more on that later.

It's not clear how full-featured the iPad editions will be at launch. What we do know is that Final Cut Pro will support multi-cam and HDR editing, at least on mini-LED equipped iPad Pros. Apple has also added some touch-specific features to both apps that take advantage of the iPad accessories, as well as an updated sound browser in Logic with plug-in support.

The introduction of these apps has been a long time coming and serves to differentiate an often confusing production lineup. While Logic will run on any iPad with an A12 or newer SoC, you'll need an M-series iPad for Final Cut. However, the sheer number of asterisks in Apple's press release make it clear, if you want to use these apps, you're going to want an iPad Pro. Though this appears to be a memory limitation more than anything. 

This requirement makes the iPad Pro one of the few Apple products to bear the "Pro" moniker that's actually made for professionals and not just priced that way, in your humble vulture's opinion.

What does it mean to be 'Pro'

Apple's iPads have generally led the tablet industry in hardware, software, and silicon, with recent generations taking this to an extreme verging on gratuitous overkill. Apple's $1,099 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a mini-LED display capable of 1600 nits peak brightness, 8-16GB of LPDDR5 memory, and a speedy Arm-compatible M2 system-on-chip with eight CPU and 10 GPU cores.

On paper, the iPad Pro should perform on par with Apple's MacBook Air. Yet for all the performance Apple has managed to cram into the Pro's 6.4mm-thick chassis, there's been precious little you could do with it that you couldn't also do with any other relatively modern iPad.

And this has been true of the iPad Pro since it was first introduced. Phenomenal, mind-bending performance and features, handicapped by a lack of apps and obtuse software limitations. Remember how just a few years ago Apple wouldn't even let you plug in an external drive?

However, ever since Apple started putting its laptop chips in the iPad back in 2021, things have steadily improved with regard to iPadOS. The introduction of Stage Manager in iPadOS 16, for instance, brought a more traditional windowed interface to the device, making it more practical to use with external displays, mice and keyboards.

Despite this, convincing developers to build pro apps for its pro iPads has been slow going, with most — Procreate being the obvious example — focusing on digital art and illustration. In this vein, Adobe brought Photoshop to the platform in 2018. So it's not like there weren't pro apps available, it's just that they were few and far between.

While Final Cut Pro will be a welcome addition for some, it's hardly the first non-linear editor on the iPad. LumaFusion brought a reasonably powerful non-linear video editor to the platform back in 2016.

And last October, following the launch of Apple's M2 iPads Black Magic — a company known for its color-grading software and cine cameras — announced it was bringing its Davinci Resolve NLE to the iPad. The release proved that Apple could port its pro apps to the iPad if it wanted to. A little over six months later, and Apple has done just that.

Subscription pricing coming to desktop apps?

Apple's decision to offer the iPad editions of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro on a subscription basis begs the question of whether we're about to see a similar shift on the Mac.

Since introducing Final Cut Pro X in 2011 and Logic Pro in 2013, Apple has offered the software as a fixed one-time fee of $299 and $199 respectively.

Such a shift to fees would no doubt draw the ire of professionals who've already paid for the app, but it wouldn't be surprising, let alone unusual. The world has changed a lot in the decade since Apple Launched Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro X. Much of the tech world — and Apple for that matter — has moved toward recurring revenue and software-as-a-service models.

Adobe  — Apple's primary competitor as far as Final Cut is concerned — was one of the first to go down this road back in 2012, wagering that folks would be more willing to spend $50 or $60 a month than $2,000-plus for a point release that could be outdated within a year or two.

Whether Apple will join Adobe and do away with the one-time charge for Final Cut and Logic, we'll have to wait and see. WWDC starts June 5. ®

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