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Monday, April 16, 2007, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

No near-term impact seen from Apple's latest pro video editing push

While Apple's announcements at the National Association of Broadcasters conference on Sunday signal a continued push into the pro video space, they aren't seen as incremental to the firm's near-term growth, according one Wall Street analyst.

During a special presentation at the Venetian Ballroom in Las Vegas, the Cupertino-based Mac maker introduced video editing professionals to a new version of its Final Cut Studio video production suite. Also making its debut to a warm reception was a asset management and workflowautomation tool dubbed Final Cut Server.

"Apple has consistently been criticized for not having a way for pro editors to tackle high end projects, given the lack of tools allowing editors to work collaboratively and manage the workflow of big projects," said PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster, whose team attended the presentation. "We believe the release of Final Cut Server is a sign that Apple is trying to push Final Cut into higher end projects. The success of this tool will likely be a critical factor in whether Apple is able to gain market share at the pro level."

Munster said the next step for Apple could arrive in the form of a more sophisticated editing offering such as a "Final Cut Extreme" edition. In a note to clients on Monday, he noted that a higher end version of Final Cut has been rumored for 2 years, but it failed to materialize again this year.

"Apple's announcements at NAB yesterday are not big news compared to the company's other product announcements this year, and we do not expect that these announcements will impact numbers in the near term," the analyst explained. "That said, Apple has consistently signaled that it is making a bigger push into the pro editing market, with new products and an expanding presence at the NAB tradeshow."

Overall, Munster said the there are two central themes at this year's NAB show — the largest show for broadcast and post production firms — which are the move to HD video and growth in Web-based video.

"We believe the general health of the broadcast and post production industry remains strong, and we would focus on companies positioned to capture business from one of these two major industry trends," he wrote.

Munster maintained an "Outperform" rating and $123 price target on shares of Apple.