Universal Final Cut Studio Now Shipping -- When Apple introduced the Intel-based Macs in January, I was frankly surprised to hear that the Final Cut Studio suite would be available in universal binary form as early as March. After all, Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Soundtrack Pro, and Motion are all heavy-duty professional applications that rely on processor performance (multiple Oscar winner Walter Murch edited Cold Mountain and Jarhead using Final Cut Pro, for example), and late last year Apple was pushing the idea that consumer hardware would be the first to include the Intel processors. True to their word, Apple is now shipping a universal binary version of Final Cut Studio, which is available as a $50 crossgrade. This is good news for owners of MacBook Pros who use Final Cut, since the existing studio applications wouldn't run on Intel machines at all.
Final Cut Studio 5.1 also contains some important bug fixes and changes (for example, some Final Cut Pro problems with the Media Manager are resolved, and you cannot open version 5.1 projects in earlier versions of the program), but the universal version appears to be the only upgrade; owners of PowerPC-based Macs don't have a downloadable upgrade option. Perhaps Apple will explain more at this month's big National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference, but for now the fixes are available only to those who pay the $50 crossgrade price. [JLC]