Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for iPad, Apple relaunches on mobile creativity
For creatives who use the iPad as their primary tool for their business, the arrival of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro in tablet version it was a highly anticipated event: Apple's two professional video and audio editing applications have long been staples on the Mac, both with a long history of versions, updates and rewrites. In short, two very important apps in the Mac world, and which, however, despite the power of the latest chips with Apple Silicon that is M1 and M2already present on the iPad, did not yet have a tablet-specific version of Apple.
This situation has finally unblocked itself, and the two apps arrive in the iPad version while maintaining a family feeling and compatibility with Mac counterparts, even if (obviously) they are applications designed to get the most out of the iPad hardware. In short, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for iPad are real rewrites of the original programs, i.e. they are not pure simple Mac transpositions but completely redesigned and redesigned apps to work in a touch context and with the accessory use of the Pencil. smart for iPad, which becomes a real tool on the tablet privileged interaction with the interface of FCP and Logic. Without forgetting of course the extra possibilities that the keyboard and mouse pointer offer. We tested the two applications thoroughly, and knowing the Mac counterparts, we can say that in both cases it is actually a real leap forward because it uses the iPad for this type of activity and in many ways an important evolution .
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Logic Pro, a mobile music production studio
Starting from Logic, we are faced with one exponential growth of what GarageBand already is, which is an excellent application for writing and playing music, recording it and getting to the finished mix. In its iPad version, Logic Pro is a real audio workstation, perfectly usable in the studio and with a relevant quality of instrumentation and effects. The creative process - from song writing to finalization - is extremely fluid and intuitive and this is one of the key points for an app created for Pros and which, however, is easily scalable in its enormous potential even by non-professionals. Obviously, the use of external sound cards is foreseen on iPad Pro with Thunderbolt / Usb-C port, even if it is really possible work with minimal setup if not directly in the box using the iPad's microphones and a pair of headphones. In our opinion, it is relevant that very interesting new technologies are available in Logic Pro, especially as regards sound synthesis - such as the new one function Sound Alchemy which is in fact a very advanced sampling slicer based on the multiple touch of the fingers on the screen.
In short, with hundreds of sounds available to create and a mixer desk with insert effects to complete the song, there is little to say about Logic for iPad except that it seems to us the absolute best audio workstation for a mobile device, as well as an app of absolute excellence for creatives. In our opinion, it is very nice that in this iPad version, Logic remains a professional sequencer but at the same time it is a real musical instrument, with the enormous production potential it offers. Also important is the one-to-one compatibility with the Mac version, i.e. a session can be shared between iPad and Mac and worked without limits on both systems. Logic Pro for iPad works with iPads with A12 Bionic chip onwards, obviously the better the chip the more responsive the app will be. We have tried it on an iPad A12 and on an M2, and the real difference we have found is only in the management of particularly complex sessions with many tracks. On the less powerful iPad, we worked on 15 tracks with instruments and effects without any problems. Then the idea of inserting the Ableton Link function as a sort of evolution of Mainstage is excellent, to synchronize the two sequencers and bring the Logic session into a live context. Basically, there is nothing better on the iPad at the moment: for those who work with music, Logic Pro is simply the best mobile Daw ever seen (and heard) and the compatibility with even rather old chips makes iPads still undeprecated production tools high level.
Final Cut Pro for iPad, a creative tool rather than a video editor
The speech for Final Cut becomes more articulated. Final Cut Pro for iPad is not just a rewrite or adaptation of the Mac version, but a complex rethinking of the video editor (which we think will inevitably impact the Mac version as well but that's another story). This is because just like Logic, this Final Cut Pro has as its basic idea to render the iPad a complete tool, in this case not musical but to make videos from shooting to rendering completely and only with the iPad. And therefore alongside the peculiarities of Final Cut such as the magnetic timeline, which remains here and even evolves with a simpler management compared to the Mac, there arrive an interesting jog wheel that can be recalled at any time for editing up to the single frame and to define the points of insertion, cut and in-out of the clips. You can move it anywhere on the screen and it works much better on the iPad than the classic ones IO combo on the browser and in the FCP timeline on the Mac, and being able to fully control it with touch speeds up editing considerably.
Of course, there is also the possibility of shooting clips with the iPad and synchronizing shooting in Multicam from other devices and a whole series of white balance settings directly during shooting. Very interesting besides the native keying function for chroma on green and blue, a new machine learning-based feature to remove the background from behind the foreground subject. It works with an algorithm that takes the first or last frame as a reference, it is very intelligent because it is based on this to determine what is background and what is not and then operate through artificial intelligence. The result is there, if the background is not particularly complex and the lighting is good. It is very similar in functioning to the identification of the subject in photos on iPhone and in Clips, or for those who use FCP on Mac, to Keyper by Sheffield Softworks, a plugin of FxFactory, and even if we are at the very first version already works very well and does not flood the iPad when rendering. Probably thanks to its being native to the app and even more to an app written for Apple silicon.
We also liked the peculiar function of freehand drawing directly in the timeline. Just select the icon and you can write and draw on the video, an idea that for example can greatly simplify the creation of tutorials, speeding up time.
In short, Final Cut Pro for iPad is not an adaptation, not even a bit. It's not iMovie Pro nor a Mac FCP wannabe without being one. It's simply an app that uses the iPad and its tools like no other video editor does, and goes the way of redefining creative productivity on mobile. Yes, it's different from the Mac app: there are more things like a simplified and more intuitive creative process and less things like compound clips that help so much in the editing flow on classic FCP, but here it is precisely the architecture of the program that does not foresee their use - at least for the moment - and in any case the sessions are exportable to the Mac. Attention: contrary to what happens with Logic, once the session goes from the iPad to the Mac, it is no longer possible to import it back to the iPad. But obviously the FCP ecosystem on the Mac allows you to intervene with third-party effects and templates (which will arrive on the iPad in the future), structure the editing, possibly further elaborate sequences and titles in Motion, and then send everything to Compressor for rendering more challenging. By the way: on an iPad M2, the rendering times of a video with 4K/60 sourcechroma and background removal effects, animated backgrounds, dialogue track and self-adapting music track, drawing layers and sequences drawn with the Pencil, are just short of amazing: one minute and twenty seconds for three minutes of scaled fullHD video sure we're talking of the top configuration but in this sense for professionals, Final Cut Pro for iPad it's an enabler that simply wasn't on the marketand which already offers in this first version much more than DaVinci Resolve and Lumafusion - which however also work on iPads with A chips and not only with Apple silicon. There are some youthful errors in this Fcp, a couple of bugs in the management of the clip that are resolved by restarting the app (for example, sometimes the resizing guides disappear in the preview) and there is something to add, they come to us mind the workspace templates that would also be useful on the iPad, but here the UI is more or less fixed and the UX suffers a bit. Resolve is even more powerful as for color grading, but we are talking about a linear editor, excellent but decidedly more "classic" than FCP. In any case, the challenge has just begun, and Apple it clearly focuses more on the uniqueness of its non-linear editor than on the competition with DaVinci and Lumafusion, and the way in which the Pencil is used with this app is there to clearly indicate this.
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Prices and methods
Both apps don't are available for one-off purchases but they have two subscription models: monthly for 4.99 euros or yearly for 49.99. A solution that may not appeal to those who prefer to buy the software rather than rent it in the short or long term, and in any case different from the Mac versions which, at least for the moment, have a single purchase price. For the overall quality level that Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro for iPad already offer, cost is still a parameter that a Pro user can see as irrelevant: for the cost of Final Cut Pro on Mac (about 300 euros), you buy six years of the iPad version. Ultimately the issue of purchase models aside, we are faced with two apps that bring the iPad and iPadOS platform to a long-desired professional level. And being just early versions, the future of these two applications appears wide to us, and everything to be explored.