Apple releases Final Cut Pro free trial, major update

On Tuesday Apple (s aapl) introduced a major update to Final Cut Pro X that restores many features users felt were missing in the original release, and also comes alongside a free 30-day trial version for people still a little gun-shy after Apple’s latest overhaul to its professional video editing suite.

Final Cut Pro X 10.0.1, available through the Mac App Store right now, brings Xsan integration for distributed remote collaborative editing; XML support, which will allow project and event info to be imported and exported to external programs; and simplified export of audio, video and graphics with a new “Roles” feature. Other new additions include GPU-accelerated exports and full-screen mode for OS X Lion users, among others.

Still missing are oft-requested features like multi-camera support, but many of those are coming in 2012, according to Apple Director of Pro Video Product Marketing Richard Townhill, who spoke to Macworld about the release. Apple is clearly intent on keeping its earlier promises to disgruntled Final Cut customers, many of whom found the changes in FCP X to be more of a backslide as opposed to forward progress.

In order to convince those customers to take a second look, Apple has also introduced a free 30-day trial version of FCP X. True to the company’s dictum that the Mac App Store shall contain no trial software, the demo is available directly from its website. The trial can live comfortably alongside an existing Final Cut Pro install, so pros who want to give it a shot don’t have to worry about being unable to go back once the 30 days are over.

Apple may have made some serious miscalculations about what its pro customers were looking for with the initial release of FCP X, but version 10.0.1 shows for a fact that it is highly motivated to make amends for that lack of foresight. XML support in particular really unlocks the app’s potential, opening up editing to integration with lots of third-party apps. We’ll see if this update is enough to convince more pro customers to upgrade, or if users wait to see what other changes Apple introduces down the road.

Note that at the time of this writing, the update wasn’t yet live in the Mac App Store, and the Final Cut Pro X trial download link redirects to the Aperture demo. We expect Apple to resolve both of these issues shortly.