Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro come to iPad… as subscription apps

Final Cut Pro iPad
Well now, that’s an interesting, if not exactly unexpected step, for more than one reason.

Apple’s announced that Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro will be available for iPad users — more on that shortly — from 23 May as subscription apps.

If you’re not familiar with either, Final Cut Pro is Apple’s pro-grade video editing app — think iMovie on steroids, while Logic Pro performs much the same function for music editing. Then again, if you didn’t know that, they’re probably not the apps for you… or at least not yet.

According to Apple, both apps will get an iPadOS-specific UI upgrade, with touch tools and a jog wheel for Final Cut Pro for iPad, while Logic Pro gets multi-touch gestures to aid in the musical editing process. Which is as it should be, because simply dropping mouse and keyboard user interfaces into touchscreen systems is a recipe for frustration.

While their desktop counterparts are sold as one-time purchases, Apple’s instead opted to go down the subscription route for Final Cut Pro for iPad and Logic Pro for iPad.

How much does Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro for iPad cost in Australia?

Apple will offer a one-month free trial to new users, after which either will cost $7.99 per month or $59 per year to utilise on an iPad.

How does that compare to the desktop price?

The desktop equivalents of those apps sell for $299.99 (Logic Pro) and $499.99 (Final Cut Pro X) respectively.

So you could make the argument that the annual prices are at between 5 to 8 years worth of subscription fees if you pay at the annual rate. More thoughts on that below, though.

Alex’s Take

There’s a couple of details to pick up on here.

Clearly, some may recoil at the shift from outright purchase to ongoing subscription, and it’s not hard to see why.

Apple’s historically been in the hardware game, using software to help shift its hardware along, but in more recent times it’s been making serious coin out of subscription packages for music, video, games and more. With the rest of the world shifting to a rental model for just about everything, this is just another subscription on the pile.

Honestly, given the pro focus of these apps, that subscription price is very small beans in the grand scheme of things.

The obvious comparison is Adobe, and while that’s not a (cough) Apples for Apples comparison, you can spend this kind of money in a single month on an Adobe subscription. Many pro grade users will simply write this off as a business cost from day one.

There’s a big caveat here in saying that it’s available for “iPad”, though. Still rocking that OG-model iPad you bought back in the day?

I am.. and even after making this video a few years back, it’s still rolling along.

OK, you probably wouldn’t have expected that one to run Final Cut Pro. Still, there are some sharp limits to where you’ll be able to run these apps. Specifically, Logic Pro needs an iPad with an A12 Bionic processor or better, while Final Cut Pro needs an iPad with an M1 chip or better.

Your basic old iPad isn’t going to cut it. I wonder if Apple would give you a refund if you bought a subscription without knowing that? I’d hope it would block you at the purchase level, but then it’s not clear how many iPads you might be able to run from one subscription — and you might like jumping from one system to another.

Finally, the timing is interesting on this one, because Apple has its WWDC event for developers next month, and it could have held off on announcing this until then. Best guess in this scenario is that it’s so Tim Cook can say in his virtual keynote “We introduced Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for iPad last month… and now here’s the new iPad Pro models you can use it on…” or similar.

But clearly, that’s just a guess. Only Tim knows for sure, and he doesn’t return my emails.

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