Apple outs Final Cut Pro X on App Store only

Apple has fired another nail into the coffin of boxed software with the release of Final Cut Pro X.

The professional video editing app, which is available on the Mac App Store only, marks another chapter in Apple's move away from traditional box-based software retail and into the digital realm.

The company removed pretty much all of its boxed software packages from its retail stores a couple of months ago and announced that MobileMe would no longer be available as a boxed product at the same time, although it transpired that had more to do with the introduction of iCloud than the demise of packaging.

The release of Final Cut Pro X also seems to herald a new direction for Apple, that of selling pro-quality software at consumer-friendly prices. At a squeak under £180, the high-end video wrangling app is significantly cheaper than both the last offering from Apple and any of its competition.

In fact, the last iteration Final Cut Studio weighed in at a hefty £834 but included a number of other tools now sold sperately.

Even so, at thirty quid a pop, buying stand-alone transition, title and effects app Motion 5 and output-encoding software Compressor 4 still only brings the total bill up to £240, a significant saving over the previous incarnation.

Apple reckons this a revolutionary new version of the world's most popular video editing application which 'completely reinvents' the way things are done with a 'magnetic timeline' which lets you compose and edit clips on a flexible trackless canvas.

Apple is famous for re-inventing the wheel but it remains to be seen if this new approach gains traction with video pros who are used to a more linear way of working inherited from traditional film-editing skills.

Apple's marketing supremo Phil Schiller seems to think the company is on to a winner, however, remarking: “Final Cut Pro X is the biggest advance in Pro video editing since the original Final Cut Pro," adding, "We have shown it to many of the world’s best Pro editors, and their jaws have dropped.”

With other 'pro' video applications weighing in at many times the price of this offering from Apple, we wouldn't be surprised to see Final Cut Pro X going beyond its current popularity to virtual ubiquity, selling lots and lots of Mac hardware on its way.

There's much more information and a demo video that makes sense of the whole magnetic timeline thing here.