My Overall Impressions
I love the organizational intelligence of FCP X and frankly it's long overdue. If you think about what a computer was born to do, it excels at chugging through and making sense of huge amounts of raw data. This is something a machine should be doing, otherwise it's something I have to do myself or pay someone else to do. I also like the smart analysis, background rendering, the skimmer and the Precision Editor. These features make the editing experience feel fluid, organic and less mechanical then track based editing applications. Also, I don't mind the single monitor. The Viewer is simple and clean and the interface does not feel cluttered. Anyone should feel at home editing on it from an iMac to a MacBook Air (which is the point of the single window interface). Also, adding effects, titles and transitions and editing them is infinitely easier and more intuitive. The interface is not daunting like Final Cut Pro 7 and anyone coming from iMovie will immediately "get it". And speaking of iMovie, (I didn't mention before) you can open iMovie projects and even your entire iMovie library into FCP X. This feature alone makes upgrading to FCP from iMovie a no-brainer. While FCP X will no doubt be referred to as a souped up version of iMovie by some, this is not my impression at all. I have been cutting a documentary on it among other things, and I just finished a tutorial that is close to 5 hours long which speaks to it's depth. I was very surprised at how much iron the Apple engineers put into it.
While FCP X is very promising, it still lacks key features for professionals. (I'm cutting it some heavy slack because I'm taking into account this is essentially a version 1 product built on an entirely new foundation). But the fact remains that there is no professional audio editing capabilities. With many of the features of Soundtrack Pro now rolled into FCP X, I still long for a full featured waveform editor to perform bread-and-butter audio editing chores. This coupled with the fact that there is no built-in way to collaborate with sound editors using ProTools or other DAWs is problematic.
Also there is currently no support for 3rd party effects plug ins. This is something that most likely will be addressed in the future. That said, Motion 5 is now much more that a motion graphics application. It's now a motion graphics publishing application and you can easily "publish" your own titles, effects, generators and transitions for any Final Cut Pro X editor. This is such an important development, that Mark Spencer and I produced an entire Motion 5 tutorial called Rigging & Publishing in Motion 5 to teach people how to "roll their own" FCP X visual content.
The other thing that needs improvement is color correction. While the simplicity of the Color Board will be great for the YouTube set, professional colorists will find the color grading tools wanting. With no way to export EDL's or XML files, there is no way to hand off your project to a Colorist - so again, you're stuck in your own sandbox until the next upgrade or someone really smart is able to write hooks into FCP X.
Another challenge I see with all the terminology changes is that old school editors may be put off by it. I hear them asking: "Did we really need a new editing metaphor called a "Storyline?" And while a legitimate case can be made as to why legacy FCP projects cannot be opened in FCP X, some editors will not be understanding. Also, it's yet to be seen how professional editors will react to the "magnetic timeline." Let me explain. The whole purpose of this new feature is to keep things in sync and prevent clip collisions. The magnetic timeline solves problems for the beginner who cannot fathom why a clip won't move from point a to point b. But knowing pro editors as I do, they may get frustrated wondering why an editing program is making these decisions for them. They will then turn to the Position tool (a tool I did not have time to cover in this article) to work around this "problem" and soon discover that this tool creates a different set of "problems". Most of the frustration will therefore result in not understanding the thinking behind a given tool or feature. But this is to be expected. I remember all the detractors when FCP 1 was released. Few broadcast professionals is 1999 took it seriously and many outright labeled it a toy.
I also believe many editors will be willing to give FCP X a shot for the price point alone. If not for that reason, they will buy it for the curiosity and novelty factor. If the features I mentioned above are eventually addressed, then yes, they will be invested in future versions. However, my Spidey-sense tells me they will keep using FCP 7 on a "wait and see" basis while watching how the market reacts to it over time. On the other extreme, they might, based on their initial experiences with this product, decide to abandon it altogether because it's just too foreign to them and it lacks the aforementioned "pro" features. Finally, only a company as big and successful as Apple would have resources and temerity to try to reinvent the wheel. From my perspective, FCP X is not so much revolutionary, but rather, evolutionary - because at the end of the day, your reasons for using Final Cut Pro have not changed - you're still using it to make movies. A re-invented wheel is still a wheel.