A Plea for a Significant Aperture Update

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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.

64-bit

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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