February 1, 2012

Aperture 4.0

UPDATE: My pal Joseph says my dates are off. That may be – I went with a source that I considered reliable. In any event, he’s used Wikipedia, which may or may not be reliable – but it doesn’t really matter. We end up with roughly the same conclusion. I say between now and October. Joseph is bolder and says June. I don’t care when – as long as it happens! Thanks Joseph.

When will Apple release Aperture 4.0? Don’t get your hopes up. I have no insider information. I do have a great deal of experience and that experience leads me to believe it will be soon.

If you look at the typical release cycles for different companies, it becomes easier to predict what they will do. Adobe typically releases a new version of Photoshop about every 18 months. Apple’s cycles are longer.

Aperture was released in November, 2005. Six years ago last month, I taught the first ever public Aperture class at MacWorld. Shortly after I went to Los Angeles and sat for the first ever Aperture certification classes. I’ve used the program or taught the program or written about the program nearly every day since. And since those early days, Aperture has seen a major update cycle as follows…

1. Version 1 to Version 2 / 38 months
2. Version 2 to Version 3 / 24 months
3. Version 3 to Version 3.22 current  / nine months

My prediction is that version four will come out sometime between February 2012 and October 2012.

Now that Adobe has tipped its hand with Lightroom 4 BETA, Apple knows what it needs to do to stay relevant. That said, the current version is stable, fast, powerful, affordable and useful. If Apple didn’t upgrade for another two years I can still see myself using Aperture.

With the move away from what Apple used to call “pro apps” to an App Store environment, one has to ponder what Apple will do with Aperture. I can’t see them abandoning it unless they have something totally new under wraps. Steve Jobs was one of the program’s biggest advocates. I suspect it might not have survived those early years without his intervention. Now that he’s gone, it could face changes. Only time will tell.

At $79 in the App Store, I think it’s the best deal in photo software. I think Lightroom is a great program and more people use it than will ever use Aperture, but I’m the guy who prefers the Jaguar to the Aston Martin so I don’t mind not being part of the cool kids club. I happen to love Aperture.

For six years, ever since I taught that first MacWorld class, I’ve been told Apple will abandon Aperture. For six years people have predicted it’s on its last legs. So far, I see no evidence to support that. If you predict the failure of ANYTHING long enough, you will eventually be right. But so far, Aperture is still being updated. I think that will continue. In fact, I am so confident I’m getting the outline ready for the new Aperture 4.0 book I plan to write with my pal Rich Harrington. So stay tuned. It could be any day!

By the way if you’re a Mac person and never tried Aperture, you can do so free of charge for 30 days with the Aperture Free Trial link.


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