A mere two months after it was previewed at NAB, Final Cut Pro X has been released to some excoriating reviews. I can’t remember ever seeing such a poorly received product release.

Two days after its release, the reviews for FCPX don't look good.The reviews speak for themselves (as of 23 June 2011). Many of the five star reviews seem to be from new users, or from people expecting that “features will be added” in forthcoming updates. Opinions are polarised, but the consensus is that this is an incomplete and deeply flawed product.

What’s strange is there seemed to be no great demand for a new version of FCP. Why rush out a product that is “not ready for professional use”? (Larry Jordan’s view, which he subsequently adjusted.)

Admittedly it was clearly time for a 64-bit version, but to rebuild it from scratch, and mess with the basic paradigm of FCP’s editing when it is already in a battle for credibility against Avid, seems reckless.

Walter Biscardi has written a comprehensive and accurate summary of the main omissions, which I won’t repeat here, but he concluded saying that’s he “done with this game” – meaning he’s done with Final Cut.

Premature? Perhaps. Future updates will certainly fix the widely reported bugs and glitches, but it seems unlikely they will restore these missing features.

It is clear, however, that Apple’s ill-judged release has alienated their FCP user base and done considerable damage to their Pro credentials. The $299 price point should have been warning enough.

At NAB, people joked that it looked like iMovie Pro. The joke, it seems, was on us.