A big question mark for pro audio on the new Intel-based Macs has been Pro Tools. Digidesign has the answer today: Pro Tools 7 LE and M-Powered will both be available as Intel-enhanced Universal binaries in May 2006. You won’t have to leave plug-ins behind, either. All of Digidesign’s own RTAS/AudioSuite plug-ins, and even the RTAS/AudioSuite plug-ins Digidesign distributes (which includes a huge number of third-party plugs), will be ready in May, too.

What about Pro Tools HD? Digidesign is mum for now, since Apple hasn’t yet announced Intel systems with PCI slots. So until Apple announces Intel-based Power Macs, or Mac Pros or whatever they’ll call them, Digi won’t release an HD timeline.

There’s one catch in all this: if you’re planning on buying Intel-based machines, you’ll have to upgrade from Pro Tools 6.9 to Pro Tools 7. That’s likely to orphan a lot of old Pro Tools hardware, so high-end systems may again be slowed by high costs. It’s not really news, because it’s what we expected, but if you’re planning on using hardware Digi considers “legacy,” you’ll need to stick with the PowerPC-based Macs.

Digidesign Mactel Announcement