First of all, thanks to both you and Micah for spending some time "wearing the other's hat". This has been a great series of articles.
I, like perhaps many, am trying to decide between Aperture and Lightroom. I've spent years using iView Media Pro and a new camera acquisition has given me impetus to rethink my cataloging and processing workflow from scratch. I'm currently running, simultaneously, the trial versions of both Aperture and Lightroom, importing the same photos into both programs, getting a feel for each.
I would suggest, not necessarily as a criticism, that Michah seemed to give stronger consideration to the value in Lightroom's features than you did for Aperture's. Even after only a short time with both programs (longer with Lightroom, as I've been a beta user since b2), I can tell that Aperture's asset handling is far superior to Lightroom's. You seemingly write off these features, saying that you don't really need them for your workflow, and that "you didn't have a lot of time to work with the different projects and smart folder structure in Aperture." You take a similar approach towards many areas where Aperture excels, such as stacking, sharpening, and printing. I'm not saying a Lightroom bias was necessarily apparent, just that it may have been a good opportunity for you to consider how these features might benefit your workflow.
For example, I can't begin to tell you how valuable I find smart folders and stacking in Aperture, (I'm very glad Adobe put the latter feature into the final release). Sure, in iView and in the Lightroom betas, I can't say they played a very valuable role in my workflow--but that's because these features were completely absent. Only after I started contemplating how these features could be useful did I see its true value. In even this short trial period, in which I've loaded both programs with roughly 20,000 images, smart folders are an absolutely killer feature. Though as as you report, want to get behind the camera more, for some of us the time organizing and printing pictures is also part of the reward.
I agree there are aspects of Lightroom which are far more intuitive than Aperture, and should it sound like I'm defending Aperture, I'm not--I'm still very much undecided. Both programs have strengths, and at this point it's perhaps more a decision of how I want to work than evaluating features in and of themselves. I have ordered a new desktop system which might help me better evaluate the two programs. As you report, Lightroom seems way ahead on the performance / footprint ratio.
Anyway, thanks again for the series. I look forward to reading both Inside Aperture and Inside Lightroom, regardless of which program I end up with.