Apple's "Phenomenon" due out in 2008?

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The latest release of Apple Computer's Shake compositing software may be the last of its breed, as the company reportedly plans to shift gears and focus on developing the next-generation of the application around a different codebase.

Apple made the revelation alongside the release of Shake 4.1 this week, telling customers that it "will no longer be selling maintenance for Shake" as "no further updates" to the application are planned.

Instead, Apple said it has begun work on the next generation of the software, which reports target for a release in 2008.

According to a rumor first published on MacRumors this week, Shake's successor bears the codename "Phenomenon." Although the software will build off users' experiences with Shake, the report states that it will be based heavily on the the codebase for Motion, Apple's professional graphics animation software.

Shake is a big deal in hollywood, where it is considered the most advanced compositing application — designed for large format productions by major motion picture studios and leading visual effects houses.

The application has been responsible for visual effects in blockbusters such as "Star Wars Episode III," "Harry Potter," "Mission Impossible 3," "The Lord of the Rings" and this year's Oscar winner, "King Kong."

In rolling out Shake 4.1 this week — an update that delivers native support for the new line of Intel Macs — Apple also slashed over 80 percent off the cost of a Shake license.

Apple says the price cut from $2,999 to $499 allows Shake to fit into "almost any production’s budget."

No further details on Shake's successor have been reported at this time.