Finally, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro have arrived for the iPad Pro (and a few other models with M1 and A12 chips, but they’re clearly meant to be Pro apps). The timing is curious – less than a month before WWDC and some eight years after the iPad became Pro – but it’s a welcome announcement that finally puts the iPad Pro on par with the Mac when it comes to professional audio/video work .
But they won’t be cheap. For the first time, Apple is introducing a subscription model for Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, which will cost $4.99 per month or $49 per year each after a one-month free trial. You can’t just buy it, even if you wanted to, and it’s doubtful Apple will ever offer a “lite” version for a flat fee. As the Mandalorian would say, “This is the way.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Apple has offered a subscription to one of its products. It sells a variety of services (TV+, Music, iCloud+, etc.) as well as the Apple One bundles. But it has long been rumored that subscriptions are being explored to drive recurring sales. A Final Cut Pro subscription was referenced in a trademark filing years ago, and a hardware subscription service for the iPhone and other devices has reportedly been in the works for over a year.
While the Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro subscriptions make perfect sense on the iPad Pro, where people are less willing to spend hundreds of dollars upfront on a single app, it’s hard not to see the move as a sign of what’s to come. is coming.
And so, Mac?
For now, Apple says the Mac version will remain a one-time payment. As it stands, the Mac version of Final Cut Pro is still available for $299.99, while Logic Pro is $199.99, but those prices don’t seem likely to last long. The last major update to Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro came in October 2021, so they are due for updates, most likely to version 11 later this year or early next year.
Based on current pricing, a subscription plan for Final Cut Pro on the Mac is likely to cost $9.99/month or $99/year, while Logic Pro is likely to be slightly cheaper, perhaps $6.99/month/$69.99 per year. That may not sound like a terrible price, but consider that it’s been 10 years since Apple offered a paid update for both apps. Based on the above subscription terms, someone who started using Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro in 2011 would have now paid about $1,700 for the same software that actually cost $498.98 to buy.
Granted, those terms are still cheaper and friendlier than the comparable Adobe apps, Premiere Pro and Audition, each costing $31.49 per month with no strings attached, $20.99 per month on an annual basis (with cancellation fees equal to 50 percent of the Remaining Balance), or $239.88 per year. By comparison, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro look like bargains, costing about 15 cents a day to use, with the option to cancel at any time.
But who says Apple’s subscription model only applies to these apps? Apple also sells MainStage ($29.99), Motion ($49.99), Compressor ($49.99), and Remote Desktop ($79.99), and previously offered in-app purchases for GarageBand. Then there’s the iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote), iMovie, Clips, Shazam, and even macOS itself. It wasn’t that long ago that Apple charged for all those things. With low subscription rates, Apple could make us pay forever if we want to get the best out of our devices. Instead of $1,199 upfront, a future MacBook Air could cost $149.99 per month with Apple One and Final Cut Pro. Why else do you think Apple is getting into the financial services industry?
Let’s face it: Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro are trial balloons. If people dread the cost, it’s a relatively low-risk venture, especially since users have been going without these apps on their tablets for years. But if they subscribe en masse — and I’m pretty sure they will — it won’t be long before everything Apple sells, from the iPhone to the apps that run on it, will be a service.