It's been a long time coming and some of us had started to wonder if it would ever happen, but Apple says that Final Cut Pro is coming to the iPad. And it's coming soon, too.
The pro-level video editing app has long been a big player in the Mac world of video editing and creation but until recently there was little sign that the app would make the transition to Apple's tablet. That's now happening, but just how capable will the app be and when will you be able to try it out for yourself?
And just as importantly, how much will it all cost?
Final Cut Pro for iPad: Release Date
On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, Final Cut Pro for iPad will be released and will become available for download from the App Store.
It is important to note that the app is not available for pre-order and must be downloaded separately, even if you already have the Mac version installed already. It is not a universal binary, but there is a possibility that this may change in the future so never say never.
Final Cut Pro for iPad: Price
Final Cut Pro for iPad can be downloaded for free from the App Store, but there will still be costs associated with using it. However, these costs will not be required initially.
Apple confirmed that Final Cut Pro for iPad app will be offered with a free one-month trial the first time that it is installed, which is good news for people who just want to see what all the fuss is about before switching from their existing video editing app. After that month though, users will pay $4.99 per month or $49 per year to continue using the app.
The subscription model for Final Cut Pro has caused some controversy among potential users, but it does offer certain advantages — although that might depend on how long you use it for. The lower cost of entry means that more people can access the app, but long-term subscribers may end up paying more than the one-time cost of $299 for the Mac version of Final Cut Pro. It is possible that Apple may adopt a similar subscription model for the app in the future or combine the iPad and Mac apps under a single one. Time will tell.
Compatibility: Which iPads does Final Cut Pro work with?
Unfortunately, you're going to need a modern iPad to be able to use Final Cut Pro on it. The app is understandably one that requires a beefy chip, although it's disappointing that Apple couldn't make at least some A-series iPads work.
The result is that you need an M1 or M2 iPad to be able to install Final Cut Pro. That means that the compatible iPads include:
You might not need the very best iPad that Apple sells, but there could be a lot of people left with an upgrade decision to make.
Final Cut Pro: Controls and inputs
Final Cut Pro adds new methods for interacting with the app thanks to the iPad's touchscreen and Apple Pencil support.
A new jog wheel makes editing easier and offers up new ways for creatives to interact with their content. A new Magnetic Timeline makes frame-accurate edits easier and faster, while Apple Pencil Hover support allows for easy skimming of the preview timeline without ever touching the screen.
Keyboard support is also included, as you'd expect, giving pros a faster way to make great content.
Final Cut Pro for iPad: Camera mode and multi-cam editing
This is where things start to get a little bit complicated. Apple says that Final Cut Pro allows people to record video using the iPad's onboard cameras in either orientation, monitor audio, and more while also controlling things like focus and exposure.
However, anyone who wants to record in ProRes will need to be running an M2 iPad Pro, unfortunately.
Back on to the good news. "With multicam video editing, clips can automatically be synchronized and edited together, and users can even switch angles in a multicam clip with just the touch of a finger," Apple said when announcing the new app.
Final Cut Pro for iPad: Cutting with machine learning
Final Cut Pro for iPad will leverage Apple's machine learning chops for things like Scene Removal Mask. The feature gives creators the ability to remove and replace the background behind a subject without having to use a green screen, meaning it can be done after filming and without the planning needed to set up that screen.
Final Cut Pro for iPad: Graphics, effects, and audio
Final Cut Pro is about more than just cutting together video. Apple says that creators will be able to use a "vast library of professional graphics, effects, and audio to enhance their storytelling."
That apparently includes a bunch of HDR backgrounds as well as professional soundtracks that will automatically adjust themselves to match the length of the video being created.
Final Cut Pro for iPad: Importing and exporting content
Getting media into Final Cut Pro will be as simple as selecting and importing it from the Files or Photos apps, while projects can also be imported from iMovie on the iPhone.
Projects created on the iPad can also be exported to the Mac, Apple's announcement confirms.
Creating on the iPad — now better than ever
The iPad continues to become more of a creation device than it was in previous years. After launching as a media consumption machine back in 2010, the iPad is now more capable and more powerful than ever before. The arrival of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro just goes to prove that point.
Sure, the subscription situation might not be to everyone's liking. But if you'd previously balked at the $299 asking price for Logic Pro on the Mac, this might be your chance to see what the app can do — so long as you have an iPad capable of running it, that is.
The subscription payments will hopefully ensure that Apple continues to update Final Cut Pro for iPad regularly, bringing new features and capabilities more regularly. If that happens this could be the best version of Final Cut Pro available.
When is Final Cut Pro coming to the iPad?
Final Cut Pro for iPad will be released in the App Store on May 23, 2023 and will be a free download with an in-app purchase subscription.
Does Final Cut Pro for Mac include the iPad version?
No, Final Cut Pro for the iPad is a different app to the Mac one. That means you'll need to subscribe to the iPad version even if you already bought and paid for the Mac one, unfortunately.
Final Cut Pro for iPad costs $4.99 per month or $49 per year.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.