What a week it’s been. Sunday through Tuesday I was experiencing the energy and excitement of the Macromedia developer community at MAX, soon (we hope) to be part of the Adobe world (come on, EU commissioners! :-)). Then on Tuesday I got the call that Apple wanted to give us a demo of their new photo-centric application. We’d been hearing about this thing for three and a half years, so I headed to NY a day early.
Aperture is a cool product, no question. Apple’s designers have a great aesthetic, and their marketing is second-to-none. (This is the company, after all, that can sell the iPod Shuffle’s lack of screen as a lifestyle choice.) Aperture zips around on quad G5’s with four GPUs, and I’m looking forward to getting it onto my PowerBook 17″ to see how it might run in the field.
As Apple is the first to say, Aperture is not designed to be a Photoshop competitor. It has a number of very slick features (I dig the Web gallery creator in particular), but if you’re looking to do something as simple as make a selection and sharpen someone’s eyes, you’re out of luck. That’s not a knock–just a reflection of what Aperture is and is not. Fortunately Apple has a one-click method of sending a PSD to Photoshop for further editing.
I’m obviously downplaying competition between these apps because, as I’ve written previously, inventing death-matches where none exist does us all a disservice. Having said that, however, I’d be blowing smoke not to acknowledge that Aperture does compete with Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw. The capabilities of Photoshop (of which Bridge and ACR are a part) are vast, so there’s bound to be some overlap, and Aperture joins a long list of products (Capture One, RawShooter Essentials, Nikon Capture, Canon Digital Photo Pro, etc.) that also offer raw browsing and editing. Bridge and ACR aim to provide the best possible workflow in conjunction with Photoshop, but you’re free to mix and match.
And you know, to the degree that Aperture stirs things up, I’m excited. CS2 wouldn’t be all it is today without the apps I mentioned keeping us on our toes, and the more tools offer solutions for photographers, the better off customers will be. So in the spirit of the Apple of yore, I say Welcome Apple. Seriously.