It's official: On Friday, June 27th 2014, Apple announced it would cease any further development on its professional photo application Aperture. The interwebs and social media sites lit up over the weekend with all sorts of "Told You Sos", and "The Sky Is Falling" doom and gloom, peppered with a few, well written pieces on what this big announcement really means.
Let me give you my perspective on it: As an avid Aperture user and instructor in the virtues of the program and its workflow power, I too was initially dismayed at the news, but then my thoughts turned to the inevitable "What's Next?" I had bought my first Mac back in 2006 (a Black MacBook) mostly because Adobe had announced they were offering Beta testing of a new program in development for photographers called Lightroom. It looked promising, and I jumped on board with my new MacBook (it was only available on the Mac at first) to test and see how this would develop.
I had not initially heard of Apple's development of Aperture (secretive buggers those Apple folks!), but when it launched to professional photographers, before Lightroom was out of Beta, the announcement was big news. I do believe that without the competition and development of Aperture, Lightroom would not be half the program it is today.
That said, I've always had problems warming up to Adobe's Lightroom app, and even though I've looked at every iteration of it, I found it simply didn't meet my photography needs in the way that the more elegantly designed and powerfully simpler Aperture did/does. Now that Apple has announced it will no longer develop Aperture, and in fact will be replacing it (along with iPhoto) with a brand new, made from the ground up, application called Photos, it remains to be seen how this new app will serve the needs of photographers. Apple has said they will continue to offer compatibility for Aperture in the next OSX Yosemite, so there really is no need for panic for some time.
I'll keep my Aperture running into the next OSX, and by next year, early hopefully, we will see what Photos is all about. Something tells me it will be a free app when launched, and as Apple plans, it will be tightly integrated with the entire Apple ecosystem, from Macs to iPads to iPhones, and iCloud, and all the core technologies in a way that third party photo software can't. The idea of plug-ins and the rather kludgy way they run now in photo software is likely to be a thing of the past. Apple has a plan, and a "Big Picture" (pun intended) in mind. We just don't know quite what that looks like.
Now, not being one to sit around and wait, I've researched alternatives to the end of Aperture. For me, Lightroom is not an option. I simply don't like its boxy, modal workflow and tools, and I certainly don't want to pay/rent monthly for it either. I've been working Adobe-less for a while now, and don't miss it at all. What I have found is Capture One Pro 7 software by PhaseOne is a ridiculously powerful program that has many of the fine features of Aperture, but so much more. It is the way I will be going forward, and plan for the day Aperture no longer has a use to me.
I'm learning Capture One Pro, which is quite similar to Aperture in a number of ways, and at the same time, much more powerful and deep in terms of the level of detail you can get out of your images. First thing I've noticed is the RAW processing in Capture One is vastly superior to Apple's Core RAW conversions. No contest. Going forward, I'll be providing more info on this transition to a RAW/DAM solution and workflow for new photography.
We live in such interesting times for photography, which hardly looks anything like when I started in the film days, but that's exactly what makes photography so incredibly exciting! And it won't look like it does today in the near future... be fluid!