Apple orphans Aperture, imaging pros unhappy

Apple orphans Aperture, imaging pros unhappy

Summary: According to reports, Apple is stopping work on Aperture, its professional photo-editing application and will instead focus efforts on the forthcoming Photos software due with the OS X Yosemite. Some content professionals aren't pleased with the news.


Apple's relationship with professional content creators continues to strain with the news that the company will drop future development of its Aperture image-editing application. The "announcement" was delivered on the cusp of the weekend at several tech blogs.

"With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture. When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.”

Apple orphans Aperture, imaging pros unhappy

Reports said that Apple confirmed that iPhoto will also be discontinued and that Aperture will run on OS X Yosemite. But beyond that, the story will be Photos, which Apple introduced at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

At Loop Insight, Jim Dalrymple said that Apple would continue development on other pro apps like Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro. And there is a report that Apple will offer some transition software to Adobe Lightroom. "Professionals in those app categories should not worry about their apps — they will continue as normal."

According to digital photo consultant Lloyd Chambers at the Mac Performance Guide, it is "unreal" to expect that an "iPhoto/iCloud mongrel" can replace Aperture. "Yes, it’s fine for basic stuff and has merits within circumscribed bounds — not saying otherwise. But it has many troubling issues," he said.

Add the painfully long delay in the Mac Pro line (5 years), the Apple Core Rot and eye candy feature focus, the cancellation of hardware like XServe, and it has long been obvious that professionals have not been a target market for Apple for quite some time.

I’ve long advised my consulting clients to avoid Apple Aperture because several years ago Apple began to show a disdain for the needs of professional users: the release of Final Cut Pro X, which (incredibly) offered no compatibility with Final Cut projects (for quite some time, now it does). Professionals need to know that their investment (hardware, software, experience + workflow) will not just be discarded. Adobe to the rescue: the professional market is taken seriously.

An interesting review of RAM image converter solutions from Nik Jewell at the Nomad Lens blog also concluded that Aperture was suffering when it comes to performance. Adobe Lightroom, with its stronger digital-asset management features as a bonus, scored well in comparison.

Aperture, I feel, is simply suffering from neglect. I have little doubt that three or four years ago it was producing images of a similar quality to the rest of the RAW converters here but, now, they have all moved on and Aperture has been left behind.

AfterShot Pro is, in retrospect, an application that I shouldn’t have bothered testing. Whilst it has some decent tools it is simply unable to deliver images of similar quality to the other RAW converters.

Programmer Marco Arment said he will be sorry to see Aperture's image organizational features go. However, the forthcoming Photos app should be better for those "who wanted Aperture’s powerful RAW adjustment tools but with simpler iPhoto-like management and iOS-device sync."

Plus, Aperture has been plagued with bugs, poor performance, slow updates, and extreme neglect for most of its life. It defined a useful category, then let the better-executed, better-maintained Lightroom eat its lunch. I’ve used many versions of each for extended periods, and Lightroom is the better app by far, especially in performance, editing tools, and adjustment quality. Sure, the interface is a bit weird, but so is Aperture’s.

However, Clark Goble at Clark's Tech Blog said there was no reason for Apple to worry professional customers. Why not continue maintenance releases, he suggested. It's all about trust, he said.

The real question now is, as Apple pushes more and more the lock-in of iCloud, of iBooks, and of iTunes video, why should we trust Apple if they don’t have a way to get the data out? This is the thing that some activists have preached for years and most of us have discounted. But now I think it’s a real question Apple has unintentionally made very significant. Why should I trust Apple not to lose interest in iBooks if sales drop? (Which apparently they have.) iTunes Music isn’t a big deal because there’s no DRM. But the rest? Why should I store files in iWork?

Goble has it right. Apple keeps focusing on the lowest common denominator for its software solutions and leaving the professional solutions as the proverbial "third-party opportunities." The question is whether Mac third-party developers will target this market. And then there's Adobe. Will it decide to offer a version that addresses the differing needs of Mac users?

Topics: Apple, Operating Systems, Software

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  • iPhone discontinued?

    That'll be a shocker! Still, I suppose it will bring a smile to Google's face. :-P

    I take it you meant iPhoto will be discontinued. Autocorrect for the lose.
    • Google doesn't have an equivalent for Aperture or Lightroom

      Apple is going more after Google's photo features than before not less.

      No reason for Google to be pleased really.

      More highlights what Google is not offering that Apple was (and to some extent will still be).
      • Did you read?

        The article has now been corrected, but it said that the iPhone had also been discontinued... ;-)
      • agreed

        I think google doesn't care. They are dominating mobile, they will probably dominate wearable, cars and tv sets. It hink they can afford to not dominate photos on iOS :)
  • My faith in Apple has been rotting for many years...

    My faith in Apple has been rotting for many years as I have waited for this once leading image maker to put a couple of interns on to the job of keeping the program up to date. I waited years for an update and was forced to do so to an out of date program, Aperture 3, when "Mavericks" would not run Aperture 2!

    I have looked at photoshop programs from the beginning and the user interface and Martian illogical workflows have always driven me away, Aperture at least felt like a product for photographers and certainly a grown up one unlike the toy photo apps they wish to force on us all.

    A sad day for photographers and a very sad day for someone like me wondering where my next soon needed hardware up date will come from. Mac, after a long and happy relationship, no longer looks like an obvious choice...
    dumb blonde
    • What?

      You will switch hardware to not use Aperture?

      The alternatives run on the same hardware.

      Makes no sense?
    • Dumb blond ... Says it all.

      Dumb blond ... Says it all.
      Henry 3 Dogg
    • ...?...

      "...toy photo apps they with to force on us..."

      Name one thing that Aperture 3 does better than the new Photos app?

      Put up or shut up.

      You can't, because it's not yet released, no detailed spec has been released. No revise exist.

      So what is the basis of your complaint?
      Henry 3 Dogg
      • Reviews, not revise

        Henry 3 Dogg
      • probably on FCP

        the number of users that went to premiere and avid and others aver FCP is the basis for this I suspect. True, nothing is out yet but realistically the damage is done. I bet you adobe saw a surge in subscriptions. They were already leading anyway so realistically you can't blame apple for quitting.
  • Troubling

    I am using Lightroom and I find it's image management clunky and troubling.

    Actually the whole interface of Lightroom is somewhat inefficient.

    The results are great but the process needs some work.

    I was considering giving Aperture a try because of the time I waste in Lightroom and the UI some of which I just havent got round to making sense of. There are still mysteries to me that I click on by accident like the circle in the top right of the thumbnail. What is that?

    iPhoto has actually been good for what it does do. Before I got lightroom I had mostly stopped using Photoshop (which I know very well) for basic photo adjustment and was just using iPhoto as it does a good job quickly for most images.

    Lightroom has some features that are very useful and obviously much better control than iPhoto.

    Having the UI sense of iPhoto and more control would have been ideal. Having iColud integration even better.

    Getting away from the rigid library management of Lightroom even better. It's fine if you need a rigid workflow but way too fussy and easy to mess up if you require flexibility.
  • It's make up some news time.

    "Apple orphans Aperture, imaging pros unhappy"

    Really? Name 3.

    Anyone who forms an opinion without either the spec or experience of the new system is probably a competitors marketing copywriter.

    A professional photographer would want to see the software first.

    Slow news day. Make up a story.
    Henry 3 Dogg
    • just 3

      basically every aperture blog on earth is crying foul. so these were basically competitors in disguise lol. ah denial.
  • Has he used it?

    "According to digital photo consultant Lloyd Chambers at the Mac Performance Guide, it is "unreal" to expect that an "iPhoto/iCloud mongrel" can replace Aperture. "Yes, it’s fine for basic stuff and has merits within circumscribed bounds — not saying otherwise. But it has many troubling issues," he said."

    Aperture is already a iPhoto iCloud mongrel if that's the language you want to use.

    It shares a database format with iPhoto and can work with iClouds photo stream.

    Name one actual issue with Photos based on what we know?

    I expect it will be modular, third party extensible, multi user and see no issue implicit in optional closer integration with iCloud or with a framework that supports a range of user sophistications.

    But then I'm not being paid to find problems.
    Henry 3 Dogg
  • doesn't make sense.

    "... I’ve used many versions of each for extended periods, and Lightroom is the better app by far..."

    Hmm. Have to wonder why someone who felt that Lightroom was so much better would have used both products over "many versions" of each.

    Sounds like a typical marketing copywriter to me.
    Henry 3 Dogg
    • not at all

      last year, one of the most visible aperture users called it. you should always keep your mind open, so there is nothing wrong with checking both sides of the fence. But now it seems only one side is greener :)
  • FUDS

    "The real question now is, as Apple pushes more and more the lock-in of iCloud, of iBooks, and of iTunes video, why should we trust Apple if they don’t have a way to get the data out? "

    None of Apple's existing product that use iCloud force you to use iCloud. And they can, or always do, keep a fully valid, stand alone copy of the data locally even when using iCloud. So what is the problem?
    Henry 3 Dogg
  • More FUDS

    "...iTunes Music isn’t a big deal because there’s no DRM. But the rest? Why should I store files in iWork?"

    iWork doesn't have DRM either. Or Aperture.

    Why would I store files in Office format?

    iBooks has DRM. So does Kindle. At the moment the book industry requires it. Apple make a good profit on iDevices and media whereas Amazon struggle to make a profit on Kindle and content. So which is more likely to go away?
    Henry 3 Dogg
    • money doesn't equal future

      Apple makes a lot of money, so by your rationale, who would have outlasted Aperture? By your logic, apple money > adobe's money.

      Yet you forget it is never about money, it is about where apple wants to put its money, and that is in investments that return the most. Quite simply aperture was a lousy investment, OSX probably follows. And although you may think apple's money matters most, remember, it belongs to the shareholders.

      If you think money wins, why is also apple maps inferior in every way to google, or even bing maps, after all both competitors have less money.

      Apple fans need to stop thinking money = better. After all, didn't this same bunch of fans told us for years that windows making more money didn't make a better product? well it sounds like maybe some of those ideas should be revisited :)
  • Thank you Google...

    …as I am now at a loss having come across this article about Aperture. Just this weekend past I was looking forward to downloading Aperture on my next pay day. As a hit and miss Mac user, I am finally comfortable with the standard software offering (iPhoto + iMovie) to make customised photography DVDs but want to expand beyond this with RAW files and fine tuning. I was finally ready to justify this purchase as I expand my digital photography skills. Now it looks like I can save these pennies and wait for the upgrade to Yosemite… right?

    Whilst I wait for this, is anyone else wanting to find a way in which we can bring back Steve Jobs?
    Mac Novice