Why Final Cut Pro users should be excited about Apple silicone

Last week Apple unveiled the first three Macs powered by Apple silicon. The new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini are all powered by the same M1 system on a chip, meaning that we should expect similar performance from all three machines.

Although there are still a lot of questions about how these Macs will perform in real-world usage, it’s already fairly evident that these machines will be a boon for Final Cut Pro users and creative professionals in general. With the review embargo likely dropping Tuesday and customers scheduled to receive their new Mac hardware the same day, we should know much more tomorrow.

Apple’s M1-powered Mac hardware is still young, but anyone who dismisses these new Macs as mere toys needs to remember the trajectory of other Apple products like the iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch. These products started “slow” out of the gate, but they are all now best-in-class from a performance perspective.

Because of the foundation already laid, we aren’t going to have to wait several generations to see the immediate impact of Apple’s silicon prowess on the desktop. The November Mac event made it clear that, out of the gate, these Macs would feature head-turning performance. For creatives, these Macs have the potential to be special, even if the initial products possess inherent design limitations.

Video: Be excited about Final Cut Pro performance on Apple silicon

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The iPad Pro tried to tell us

For several years now, the iPad Pro — and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone — has possessed the sort of processing and graphics power that could rival some of Apple’s Intel-based Mac laptops. Reviewers have waxed about the sheer power of the iPad Pro for years but were often disappointed because there weren’t a lot of opportunities to put the wheels to the ground, so to speak.

Playback of 8K video in LumaFusion on the 2020 iPad Pro is much smoother than the Mac Pro

With the release of the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro and iPadOS 14, Apple has worked hard to give users more of an opportunity to take advantage of the hardware capabilities of the iPad Pro, and most people will agree that it made strides in this area.

But the iPad still lacks the sort of windowed-based workflow, I/O and peripheral interconnectivity, and professional software that would truly allow all of the horsepower possessed by the iPad Pro to be put to use. That’s not to say that the iPad will never get there, but it’s still behind the Mac as of now.

Vertical integration

What the iPad Pro got right — and what the Mac could never compete with up until now — was the complete top to bottom integration enjoyed by modern iOS devices.

With the iPad, for instance, Apple makes the hardware, designs the chips that power the hardware, including the CPU and GPU, and makes the operating system. In some cases, like with Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, it even makes the software it runs on top of the operating system. That type of vertical integration is something that the Mac didn’t have up until last week’s M1 launch.