Happy Birthday To Aperture

by Scott Bourne


What a difference a year makes. Aperture is just more than one year old. Its launch was a big media event built around Photo East in New York in October, 2005. The official release date was November 30, 2005.

Initial reactions were mixed, but mostly negative. Ars Technica came out with a scathing review, blasting the program on almost every count. Other Mac rumor sites predicted the demise of Aperture, claiming the entire Aperture team had been fired by Steve Jobs. Adobe rushed out a competing product called Lightroom in an attempt to steal Aperture's thunder. It became very popular to bash Aperture.

If this were a movie plot, you'd assume Aperture was the black-hatted bad guy and that the Adobe Photoshop fanboys were wearing the white hats, riding in to save the day.

Yet, the facts indicate that the rumors of Aperture's demise were to say the least, premature.

Despite negative reviews from people who had little or no experience with the program...despite resistance to completely changing the digital photo software paradigm...and despite stiff competition from Adobe Lightroom, Aperture has flourished.


Ollivier Robert
2006-12-19 06:28:53
I'd love to be able to use Aperture instead of Lightroom but Aperture still
does not support my DSLR (Pentax K10D). The Pentax has the ability to shoot in
DNG instead of the usual PEF format but it seems that Aperture support DNG
only for cameras they do support the proprietary RAW format too :-(

I opened a ticket about that on the Apple bug reporter and it was marked as
duplicate but I'm still waiting.

Even as an amateur I'm ready to buy Aperture but I will not do it until my
camera is supported...

Yes, I'm frustrated.

2006-12-19 06:51:52
"We now have a program that has generated seven updates, and all at no additional cost to the user." Yes, they even shaved 50% off the price!

"They didn't get defensive. They got better. They didn't cave into pressure from outside groups. They improved and improvised." Oh what rhetoric!

Come on Scott, why can't Apple-brand loyalists say that v1 was botched and grossly overpriced. Instead, blessed Apple fix something, and you're praising their breathless fixing as even more reason to believe! In short, a bit of an apologia, Scott.


BTW some typos - "It's launch" should be "its", " it's 1.0 release" should be "its"

Scott Bourne
2006-12-19 07:11:14
Thanks for catching the typos. As for "Apple-brand loyalists" I think you have the wrong guy. I don't work for Apple and never have. They've never done a thing for me. I don't have a relationship with one person at Apple. And I've spent plenty of time letting Apple know when they drop the ball. Just read some of the older posts at my blog ApertureTricks.com. But unlike some in the photo community, I am willing to give praise where it is due.

In response to your question, I'll answer with a question of my own, even though my Mom said that was not polite.

Why can't the Apple haters and Adobe fanboys admit that Apple has stepped up and made Aperture a great program?

H Trentman
2006-12-19 07:30:10
Well put, I use Aperture everyday and it has greatly increased my enjoyment of photo-processing. I haven't used Photoshop CS2 or Nikon Capture in months. That said, I think Apple would be wise to have a PC version of this program soon. PC's still dominate the photographic world and Adobe can address their issues and over time win. When Adobe releases Lightroom/CS3, I hope Apple immediately releases a bug free Aperture 2.0 with powerful new features including a PC version.
~ Henry
2006-12-19 08:22:41
Well Scott, I have read quite a few of your pro-Mac posts on your previous blogs and feel the "Apple-brand loyalist" cap fits you pretty well! It was meant more generally though, and not to imply you're on Steve's payroll.

"Why can't the Apple haters and Adobe fanboys admit that Apple has stepped up and made Aperture a great program?" (Your Mom must have applied very high standards!) Well, that's because I really don't think it's become one... yet. Obviously they began badly, with the dreadful packaging of images, shaky raw conversion, arm-twisting hardware requirements, no trial period and a ridiculous price. And while 1.5 has certainly marked a big improvement, it's a very fiddly program compared with its cross platform competitor, with its dropdown menu buttons scattered all over the place, and an ugly interface (the switch between the Full screen and regular modes) that looks like it's the inbred offspring of two or three teams.

Where I (as both a PC and Mac user) think Apple really does deserve praise is for recognizing our need for a solution that combined DAM and bulk image processing, and for opening up this market.

"Great" needs to be given out more sparingly. But Mac users always whoop and holler more than their PC-using counterparts, and, like something out of the Life of Brian, see bugfixes as prophesies of imminent perfection and signs of near divine inspiration.


2006-12-19 10:46:17
I am most impressed by how responsive Apple has been to listening to its customers between 1.0 and the current release.

Esp. given that Aperture was among Apple's first product releases not received with stark raving devotion, one might have expected more bristling and less listening from the company.

I personally just finally made the switch to Mac after years on PC (switched to PC 10 yrs ago while overseas where there was no Mac, now I'm back where this is)-- thanks to Aperture 1.5.

2006-12-19 10:52:49
Now I'm seeing the comments below the one I just made -- I should be careful to state that I bought Aperture based on the fact that after just a year Apple has made significant improvements, and that editors I deal with all recommend it.

What impresses me is that the improvements were made so fast, and they were wise enough to drop their price to more accurately reflect where Aperture stands against competing products.

I definitely do not think the program is yet "great." In fact, frankly google's free Picassa seems superior in some ways at present, except that its database cannot support that many photos (50K or so). At least, in my first two weeks using Aperture this is my impression.

2006-12-19 12:11:09
I'm very interesting Aperture but it's was no Dodge & Burn.
2006-12-20 06:53:36
Great article. It's amazing to think it's only been a year with all the changes they've done. I jumped in at 1.5 and I am glad I did. I think the program will only get better.

I demo'ed the program to my user group last week. I emphasised that in a real world shooting enviroment with the client standing over your shoulder, the UI really shines. Something as simple as comparing two shots used to be a real process, now it's easy! The pro shooters in the crowd understood the power of that UI.