Facing Widescale User Revolt, Apple Starts Issuing Final Cut Pro X Refunds

Facing Widescale User Revolt, Apple Starts Issuing Final Cut Pro X Refunds

Wow. Apple’s latest version of their professional video editing software Final Cut Pro X has proven to be such a PR mess for them that according to reports they are now backing down from their strict “all sales are final” policy for the App Store and issuing refunds.

The reversal of Apple’s official app return policy comes as Cupertino faces widescale revolt amongst the pro video editing community, many of whom are unhappy that Apple ditched so many of the features they counted upon in the latest iteration of Final Cut Pro.

In order not to lose these professional customers forever, Apple seems to be taking a more placating tack by refunding Final Cut Pro X’s $299 price to professionals who can’t fit Final Cut Pro X into their workflows.

One email from Apple to a disgruntled developer reads:

Moving forward, I understand that you are not satisfied with the app “Final Cut Pro”. I can certainly appreciate you would like a refund, and I would be more than happy to help you out with this today. In five to seven business days, a credit of £179.99 should be posted to the credit card that appears on the receipt for that purchase.

Please note that this is a one time exception because the iTunes Terms and Conditions state that all sales are final.

Smart. Apple knows that sooner or later, pros will probably adopt Final Cut Pro X anyway: the magnetic timeline is a killer feature, and Apple intend on beefing up the feature set of Final Cut Pro X over the coming months. In the meantime, though, they will issue a limited sense of refunds and quiet the shouting of their most offended customers before the protest over Final Cut Pro X reaches a keening pitch.

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  • dagamer34

    I’m pretty sure the lack of sales of Final Cut Studio 3 is still more damaging.

  • CharliK

    I really wonder exactly how many copies have sold, how many refunds have been requested etc. 

    Perhaps you should get those numbers before you say things like ‘revolt’ and ‘mess’ about anything. Otherwise this is just another media created issue like the iphone 4 antenna ‘design flaw’ and the whole ‘apple is tracking you’ non issue

  • CharliK

    I really wonder exactly how many copies have sold, how many refunds have been requested etc. 

    Perhaps you should get those numbers before you say things like ‘revolt’ and ‘mess’ about anything. Otherwise this is just another media created issue like the iphone 4 antenna ‘design flaw’ and the whole ‘apple is tracking you’ non issue

  • freerange

    The majority of the whining has come from those in the television industry, a dinosaur if ever there was one – they still use tape for most of their work for god’s sake! The new FCP is completely new, V1 software that has a steep learning curve, and yes, is lacking in some important features required by this audience. But seriously, they still have the same FCP suite of products they have been using successfully until the feature set is filled in on the new version, which will happen sooner rather than later. There are many revolutionary new features in this new product that they will eventually love, and significant increases in performance. They just need to take a deep breath and carry on doing what they’ve been doing while the elves are at work…

  • irked

    Companies have invested millions of dollars in infrastructure and Apple has given us a program we can’t use.  We NEED timelines, we need to be able to go out to tape and to export EDLs and OMFs and all the other things Apple has told us are obsolete.  And sorry, the “magnetic timeline” is overrated.  If you know what you’re doing as an editor you don’t need it.

  • Rachel

    The OMF thing was a deal-breaker for me.

  • annoyedDXeditor

    The level of ignorance in this comment is staggering. Look up “sound post” or “color grading” or “visual FX.” Seriously, you have no idea what you’re talking about. I make my living making theatrical films and TV shows. You may call movies and TV dinosaurs, but it’s still the apex predator of AV narrative content. What do you work on? YouTube videos? Yeah, get back to me when one of those sounds as good as Social Network or looks as good as True Grit, or has real VFX. Get back to me when you are doing professional work. By then, those of us actually making movies and TV shows will be back to Avid. How many Emmy’s do you have? My guess is ZERO.

  • David Rutan

    While I agree with a lot of your post, the concern a lot of editors are voicing is the fact that Apple removed the older version from the market entirely, and it’s not going to be supported.  So, imagine they add another Mac Pro, or MBPro to their editing suite and now they have no way to legitimately get a copy of the version of final cut that ties into all their current workflow and has all their required features. They are also afraid that 10.7 will come along and not allow them to work with the previous version.  You could say — don’t update to 10.7!  However you’d be forgetting that all newer systems will come preloaded with it, so there’s no avoiding this issue. The 10.7 upgrade fear may be mistaken if the previous Final Cut runs on it, however these are examples of what these editors are concerned with.

    One major workflow issue that is a show-stopper for editors at studios is the ability to share media and work on projects simultaneously with other editors, audio engineers, color correctors, etc — two reasons for this are the removal of support for Final Cut Server/Xsan, and the other is the export options for the timecode/etc using the EDL and OMF export options.Some or all these features may return in another year or two of updates, however, one major issue people are concerned about is what to do in the meantime with no official available method of purchasing the version that works for their needs.  One answer may be purchasing the previous version through Ebay, but as you know when the product is discontinued yet is necessary for a large group of people (See previous OS releases such as 10.5) then the cost becomes astronomical.

    We’ll see where Final Cut Pro ends up going in the next year or two.  I’m hopeful that Apple will continue focusing it’s developers on the Professional market in addition to it’s current Prosumer focus. Adding the major requests back in to the software would be the way to do that.

  • Jim Nelson

    Getting rid of Color and DVD Studio Pro were my deal killers, even before I heard about the export issues.

  • diamondprojects

    Ah yes, the ‘apex predator’. Welcome to the world of the khaki clad professional film and TV editor Freerange. To annoyedDX you are a weak little hobbyist. He’s going to hunt you down and kill you with his superior AV narrative content. Run and hide!

  • annoyedDXeditor

     LOL, I’m wearing camo cargo shorts, so I have a leg up when it comes to hiding.

    All kidding aside, it has really been a shock to me this week to see all of the people using the term “professional editor” in the aspirational sense.

  • StuckStuck

    The lack of the ability to transfer a project to another workstation was a deal-beaker for me. In addition to the lack of cinema tools, OMFs, XMLs, EDLs, and freaking audio tracks for that matter, are all equal deal killers. The fact that the FCP X team was willing to ship this simply makes me sad. Either call it something entirely different and sell it along side FCP7 or just wait to ship until it’s a worthy successor. 

  • freerange

    Take a deep breath. You can read can’t you? I clearly stated that the TV industry is the dinosaur, not movie industry. Further, my point is quite clear and accurate. The market still has FCP 7 and Studio to continue doing what we have all been doing without missing a beat. FCP X is a FIRST version, a complete re-write, and the fact that it doesn’t have 100% of all features and functions out of the gate is something that will change, and will change rapidly with updates and 3rd party add-ons. Granted, high-end professionals need the key functions missing to move to this completely new software but the sky is not falling. Patience.

  • The Ghost

    @free range: True, tv networks cling to older formats due to their familiarity, but mostly their cost effectiveness. Tapes are easy and cheap to store, so I don’t see them going anywhere as a delivery and backup format any time soon. Also, most of the reasons FCPX is incompatible with broadcast is because many broadcast post houses have central media servers, and fcpx is a long way from being able to work on a server, and with many bays sharing media and projects. The mass servers and dozens of linked bays of the place i work is cutting edge, hardly jurrassic. fcpx and apple need to catch up to us.

  • ohho

    It’s not the first time Apple pushing unfinished product to the shelf. Xcode 4 was another disaster. Those Apple engineers must be under a lot of pressure. Apple, you are already the #1. Keep it up, in a peaceful pace.  

  • annoyedDXeditor

    Freerange,

    Both the TV and film worlds have the same problem with the software. No EDL/OMF/XML means it’s useless for movies as well as TV. Honestly, I don’t have time to teach you all the stuff you don’t know about this.

    Let’s say I have a company that needs to add 20 seats of FCP7 next month, guess what, I can’t. They won’t sell it anymore. And I can’t use X for all of those reasons that you don’t understand. That means the product is dead. Full stop. Let’s say I want to cut a feature film starting in October, that means I build a cutting room, that means I won’t be using FCP7 or FCPX, because one doesn’t work, and the other I can’t buy, and it’s legacy, which means that by the time we hand the movie to Paramount, which may be a year later, the software may no longer be supported on the Mac. I know all this sounds alien to you, but trust me, that is everyday stuff in Hollywood. I need a platform I can trust to be there in four years, or I’m going to abandon it in favor of something better.

    NO EDL = No sound edit, no sound mix, no color correct, no VFX = NOT PRO. I really don’t need to be lectured about the future by people who aren’t doing serious work. I am tired of people who don’t know how to read an EDL or export an OMF telling me that I don’t need these mission citical functions. Apple told the NYT that EDL was NEVER coming to FCPX, if so FCPX is not a serious tool and never will be. Every movie uses EDL’s! Is every filmmaker supposed to ignore Apple’s own statements and cross their fingers? Why, because you think it’s cool? Get real. Of course the sky isn’t falling, we have options. But what has crashed and burned is Final Cut Pro for pro work. You’ll learn that sometime in the future when you start working on higher end projects. In the meantime you should learn something before you presume to tell people how to do their jobs. And I recommend you learn Avid too, if you ever want to understand what I’m talking about.

  • avidguy

    freerange is clearly an apple fanboy / employee.  bravo anoyedDXeditor for telling it like it is.  guys like freerange have no clue what we do day in, day out.  having been an avid guy for many years, i was never a fan of FCP and now its clear i never will.  its mind boggling how apple just flipped the PRO industry the bird and expect us to deal while they take their time putting things back.  really apple?!!!  guess the industry will hold their collective breaths and wait for FCPX version 2.  NOT!

  • WAldenIV

    Take off your fanboy goggles, why don’t you…

  • CharliK

    Using the brain the good lord gave me to question the details in vague statements etc is not fanboyism. It’s being intelligent. 

  • WAldenIV

    If you believe that there isn’t a design flaw with the iPhone 4 antennae, then you didn’t get a very good one, I’m afraid.

  • margamoo

    In 1994 I bought my first Avid.  Since then I have always loved their technology because its foundation was based on the best technology — 100 years of film editing theory and practice.  This is why we still use terms such as “Bins” and “Clips”.  These are all 100 year old film terms.  For Apple to now try and rewrite film history by removing professional features that industry professionals rely on, is just shocking if not insane.  Its the equivalent of trying to reinvent centuries of democracy by throwing out the right to vote.

    Still, I remain an Apple supporter.  I bought my first Mac the same year as my first Avid and I love them both.  To me the perfect combination is Avid on a Mac Pro.

    What all this shows is how the two companies have different priorities — Avid makes and sells editing tools and systems; Apple makes and sells computers and appliances.  Apple’s priority is to write software that they think will sell the most of their computers and hence why this version of FCP is targeted for the “Mom and Pops” who make videos for YOUTUBE and such.  There are far more “Mom and Pops” than there are pros cutting feature films.

    10 years ago when FCP first launched, a young student came and interviewed me for some student mag and asked me if I thought FCP would eventually takeover the whole market and put Avid out of business.  I told him NO, because of these very reasons — one makes editing tools and the other appliances.  The student (or Apple fan-boy in disguise) vowed that Avid would be dead in four years.  Freerange reminds me of that student.  10 years later Avid is still here and FCP X just gave them the pro market on a silver platter.

    There’s a saying — “You can’t teach an old dogs new tricks”.  What Freerange and Apple need to know is that “You can’t take an old game and suddenly add new rules and take out old rules and expect the fans not to get angry and leave the game”.

  • CharliK

    The numbers don’t support your version of the tale. 

    As for the who got a good one. The fact that so many folks never had any issues from this alleged ‘major design flaw’ just proves that we did get a very good one. With good carrier service to back it up. 

    Sorry you didn’t. Then again, ATT probably sucks so hard in your area that even two tin cans and a string would get shitty service. 

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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