Through the past three quarters, Aperture users (like myself) have only seen two updates to the pro-level photo processing and organization application from Apple — and those have really only been stability type releases. About a year ago we saw Aperture’s consumer-level sibling get places and […]


Through the past three quarters, Aperture users (like myself) have only seen two updates to the pro-level photo processing and organization application from Apple — and those have really only been stability type releases. About a year ago we saw Aperture’s consumer-level sibling get places and faces and some of us figured Aperture wasn’t far behind. Seems we may have figured wrong. I think Aperture users have been patient enough — we want a meaningful update already!

First, to clear the air: I like Aperture, and it works well for me. But it’s application envy that’s got my level of rile slowly compounding, as I watch the ‘little brother’ (iPhoto) get powerful features, and the competing Adobe Lightroom continue to wow and delight users. And at a $200 investment in the software, I feel like I need to stay committed to it and get my money’s worth. But I wonder at what point those of us using Aperture have begun suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, and are defending our captors rather than breaking free for greener pastures.

As a potential conflict of interest, I co-manage a Denver area Photoshop and Lightroom user group. It came about mostly out of my enjoyment of mingling with other shutter-happy folks, but has resulted in slowly painting me green with envy. Lightroom does some seriously awesome stuff! Starting with the fact that it’s 64-bit (which is huge when handling large image processing tasks), and it can handle area-specific color editing with brushes, and so on. It’s a super solid photo processing and organization tool. To boot, Adobe is very public about making its beta release of the upcoming version 3 available for anyone to try. It’s getting harder and harder to rationalize my devotion to Aperture.

Look, I realize Aperture isn’t broken, but neither was my last MacBook when I replaced it. I think we’re all guilty (at some level — I’m closer to the top, I’m sure) of wanting more. More power, more bells and whistles, more better! But If Apple’s going to offer a pro-level tool, it needs to give it care and feeding, thusly, showing some love to those who’ve shelled out good money for it. Here are some features I think Aperture needs to keep current users happy.


Snow Leopard supports it now, so what reason is there not to offer this? I had a post similar to this ready around Snow Leopard launch, and trashed it because I figured it was a no-brainer that we’d see an update along these lines to Aperture in the following weeks. I am Jack’s broken heart.

Faces & Places

Aperture should at least keep up with its consumer level sibling. Faces and places are very useful tools — and it drives me batty having to manually tag my Aperture photos with this information.

Fix Tethered Shooting

To my knowledge, it’s probably limited to the Canon 40D, but Apple broke the ability to shoot in tethered mode for my dSLR a while back. This is lame. I want a fix!!

Focused Editing

Taking a page out of the Adobe book, I’d like to see the ability to apply edits to only select parts of a photo. Sometimes you only want to lighten, darken, or change color of a specific part, not the whole thing. I realize this is more an image editing feature, and not processing, but I’ve seen it in Lightroom, and I desire it.

These are just a few ideas, things that are ultimately important to me (though I think they’re general enough that others would agree). But what else? Let’s hear from the Aperture users, or potential Aperture users. What would you need to see in a hopefully sooner than later update to Aperture, to keep you happy and on board with Apple? What would cause you to jump ship and pursue other solutions?

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  1. Photo Enthusiast Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    Here here. Apple has said nothing about updates. I have so many photos, I’m locked into Aperture, and feeling like I’ve been abandoned. Where’s the update?

  2. Personally, I’ve thought many times about switching. I love aperture’s interface but it’s such a shame that they haven’t updated it or at least giving us and idea of where they are going. I am loosing faith. If I don’t hear anything this January, I will most likely jump ships.

  3. First let me state without question, Aperture is due for an update. No argument.

    However, as you stated, it’s not broken.

    WHY have “we” become so insistent on planned obsolescence? And WHY is it so admirable that Adobe plays “April fools” on everyone with their so-called public betas. I mean really… who cares? Did anyone ever stop to think this is a development ploy by Adobe to get “you guys” to fix this for us before we sell it to you?

    The update to Aperture will come. Once again it will lead in functionality with total disregard to “how many” people use it as long as the right (target) people use and it will remain the PRO application it was originally marketed as.

    I don’t give a darn about RAW updates for all the tiny point n’ shoots… I don’t give a darn about slide shows and web templates or even books…. I want speed, power and reliability. I want to get my work done and go spend time with my family.

    I’m confident Apple will get it right and I’m comfortable waiting.

    Envy is a silly thing.

  4. This is why I migrated my entire photo library to Lightroom about 6 months ago and I’ll never go back. Lightroom is years ahead of Aperture in most things, and has most of the features I want, unlike Aperture.

    I found Aperture extremely slow. It would often never finish loading previews, so I would have to navigate away from the photo and back to it. It would quire regularly present me with a totally blank canvas after tweaking one little adjustment and fail to reload the image until I had rebooted my machine.

    It’s image tweaking is a little cumbersome and compared to Lightroom’s abilities to mask and spot edit, Aperture is severly behind.

  5. It is long overdue for an update.

  6. And they REALLY need to support cameras faster! It’s incredible how many models have no support whatsoever and how long they take to release RAW updates to the ones they actually support.

    It’s true it’s not broken…but why use something when you have something a lot better? Apple needs to be serious about Aperture or it will eventually go under.

  7. Until recently I never had used either Aperture or Lightroom. A couple months ago I started using the Lightroom 3 beta (why not — it’s free) and also did a trial run with Aperture (why not — it was free). My impression is pretty clear-cut: I wouldn’t buy Aperture 2 because it isn’t competitive with Lightroom 3 in any regard, near as I could tell. Of course, that’s no surprise, since Aperture 2 is quite old at this stage. The Lightoom 3 beta, which I like very much, expires in April, so I presume Adobe’s commercial release will come out just before that. If, at that time, there is no Aperture 3, I will happily buy Lightroom 3. I’m hoping Apple will put out Aperture 3 before that, though — I like Apple software and would love to see what might be cooking for Aperture 3 … but, unless Apple does something to whet our appetites, I wouldn’t hesitate to commit to Adobe instead. I wonder how many people there are in the marketplace like me — pretty much free agents and happy to pay whichever company comes out with the best product. Unfortunately at the moment only one of the two companies appears certain to come out with the new generation product soon — and that company doesn’t appear to be Apple. Hope I get to eat my words.

    P.S. I also did a trial download of Bibble 5, which is a very nice product, too, but I like Lightroom better.

  8. For a minute I thought I’d written this article, since it shares my most recent thoughts. I’ve recently gone looking for information on possible updates, but tired of all the empty speculation.

    Certainly a switch to 64 bit is long overdue. I thought this would happen with the release of Snow Leapord.

    I would like to see the ability to use layers and simple filters integrated into the system.

    More importantly I’d like to be able to specify default settings and not have them overridden, like where pictures will be stored. I can’t remember how many times I’ve had to move pictures from my user profile because I didn’t check the settings when importing.

  9. I’m with Loren. I could’ve easily written this article as well. Here’s my list. 64-bit goodness. Layers (if Pixelmator can do it, why can’t Apple?). Faces, Places, but UBER Faces and Places that a PRO app should have. Fast and easy full-screen viewing and editing. What I REALLY want (and they could do this with iPhoto too) is some sort of Apple Photo server system which could allow me to put all my photos on a drive connected to the Airport (or the desktop) that I could access from the local network and the internet. That way I could move libraries off the “work” drives and keep some semblance of order. Come to think of it, they should do the same with iTunes, iMovie, etc.

  10. I don’t have any issues with Aperture 2, yet I’d like an update.

    I could care less about faces and places. My project names are usually the place or the face and I’m shooting faces that I don’t know or care about.

    64-bit and Grand Central support would make me get an 24″ iMac i7 today.

    Layers would rock. Selective adjustment brush like Lightroom would rock x2.

    I have Lightroom2, I’ve used it. I do love two or three things about it, but it’s too painfull to use. I used Aperture first and and just now really getting back into using Photoshop. Adobe needs to learn UI.

    Peteyz – I would LOVE, LOVE LOVE to have a media central server for iLife, iWork, Aperture etc. I would pay whatever Apple would charge for it. I’d like to see version control type features with it so I could make changes and someone else could make changes, then merge them.

    The era of a single user with a single computer is LONG gone. It’s time for our software to reflect that.


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