Apple’s Final Cut Pro has been the industry standard for video editing for some time now. Sure, there are plenty of other great editing suites, many used by professionals, but Final Cut Pro has been the clear leader in that space for years. But it’s price tag ($1000 or more) and deep tool set have made it a bit inaccessible to the masses. That all changes today, as Apple has released Final Cut Pro X.

Final Cut Pro X is an attempt to make the video editing software easier to use for amateurs. It’s also a lot cheaper, with a price tag of $299. It’s a pretty interesting strategy. Even as they court new users by simplifying the interface and tools (and lowering the price), they risk alienating the professional editors who have helped build Final Cut Pro into the powerhouse that it is.

Business Insider has compiled a list of some early reactions, and there appear to be a lot of negative opinions so far:

  • “I run my my business on FCP and my first impression of the new app is that it is horrible. This is an enhanced version of iMovie. It DOES NOT open your existing FCP files.”
  • “The interface is big and chunky, like iMovie…. the oversimplification of the interface makes me feel like I’ve somehow lost a lot of precision and control.”
  • “FCP X = Windows Vista… I can’t believe what Apple did with FCP X… this is no longer a professional application… this is just an upgrade of iMovie!!!”

Ouch… especially on that last one (no software deserves to be compared to the abomination that was Windows Vista… that’s just harsh).

I’m a little surprised they didn’t just release two versions–a high-end one for professionals and a cheaper version for newbies. But for all the negative reaction they’re getting from some long-time fans of the software, they’re making a smart choice here. Online video is erupting to the point where there are millions more amateur video editors than professionals. If they had to choose one audience to target, they chose the one that has more money-making potential.

Of course, if they really wanted it to be as accessible as possible, they’d put out a Windows-compatible version, but maybe that’s just me.

What do you think? Are you a Final Cut Pro user? Have you tried Final Cut Pro X or will you? Do you think Apple’s making a huge mistake here by changing the product so drastically?