Warning: This article is both news and opinion.  I report on what’s changed, and comment on the improvements made to Aperture.

Apple quietly released an Aperture update.  Before you get excited… it’s not Aperture 4 (what many of you have been anxiously waiting for).  But there are a handful of additions and bug fixes of note. My commentary after each bullet.

Aperture 3.5 Update

Aperture previously stood at version 3.4.5.  I would have called this update 3.4.6… but apparently the person in charge rounded up.

  • Adds support for iCloud Photo Sharing, including the ability to post videos to shared photo streams and to have multiple subscribers contribute to a shared stream

Umm… okay.  Moderately useful for personal sharing projects…  but let’s face it, iCloud is no 500px (or even Flickr for that matter).

  • The Places feature now uses Apple maps to display photo locations

Because the old map didn’t work?  It’s sad when this is the #2 feature on the list.  Apple Maps doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability.  But I guess it makes sense to tie into the OS level feature in Mavericks (why develop two mapping platforms when you can make one better – in theory).

  • New integration with SmugMug, with support for publishing and syncing galleries directly to a SmugMug account.

This is a win for SmugMug customers. It joins existing options for Flickr and Facebook. For other hosting platforms check out these third-party options — 500px | Zenfolio

  • Adds support for iOS 7 camera filters applied to photos imported from iOS devices

Don’t get me started.  Because we use Aperture to make my iPhone camera photos better and continue the robust editing started on our phones?!?  Apple… can we decide if this is a pro tool, or just an iPhoto upgrade.

  • Fixes an issue that sometimes resulted in Retouch adjustments not being applied to exported images
  • Addresses an issue that could cause the black and white points in Curves to shift incorrectly when using the eyedropper tools
  • Fixes an issue that prevented caption data from being embedded correctly when exporting versions of some RAW file types
  • Improves reliability when adding names to Faces
  • Addresses an issue that could cause Aperture to stop responding after adjusting a very large panorama
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent memory cards or hard disks from ejecting properly after import when clicking the Delete Items button

Bug fixes… good. I like bug fixes.

  • Improves reliability of slideshows on a 15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display

Important to some users.

  • Addresses an issue that could cause thumbnails to display incorrectly in the iLife Media Browser

Good if you also use iWork apps.

  • Videos up to three minutes long can now be shared to Flickr

Still… no YouTube or Vimeo export?  You have it in Final Cut Pro X.  Share the code.

  • Captions instead of version names are now synced between Aperture and Facebook for newly-created albums

Makes more sense as more useful info.

  • Improves reliability when printing a light table

Who prints light tables?  They are great for visual organization, but is there a use here I don’t know?

  • Fixes an issue that could prevent adjusted images from being published to My Photo Stream

Another feature that’s not that important.  Come on… I use iCloud to keep my phone backed up, but do any of you use your iCloud photo stream for anything important.

  • Includes stability and performance improvements

I love it when they are vague.

The Bottom Line

Naming this 3.5 gave me hope for major new features.  Unfortunately this update really benefits SmugMug, iCloud, and 15 inch MacBook Pro Retina Display users.  Everyone else…  bug fixes.  I am a long time (but currently former) Aperture user.  I long to see Apple innovate and push the needle on photo editing. You know it’s bad when Aperture doesn’t even crack the Top 20 in the Mac App store (#22 when I wrote this). Let’s see some innovation guys.

But don’t just take my word for it.



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Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. I stopped using Aperture when Lightroom 4 arrived and I made it my mission to learn how to use it. I like Apple hardware and most of their software and was an avid fan of Aperture, but Apple has let the photography community down with this one.
    Quite frankly, I believe that they will eventually dump it and upgrade iPhoto. They ‘upgraded’ the IOS and the Mavericks version already, however slightly.
    Any major upgrade to Aperture would probably be at a full version cost; I just don’t see them charging $29 for an upgrade on this one.
    As for Lightroom, I’m satisfied with LR5 and if they come out with LR6 soon, I’ll make the jump. For me with a 30K+ catalog that I am constantly trying to cull, LR is far more faster than Aperture.

  2. Just to clarify the version thing: The first number is the number of the major release (completely new features, complete redesign, etc.). The second number is for new features that are not big enough for a new major release. The third number is for bug fixes only. That’s why this is not 3.4.6 but 3.5.

    • I’d hardly call a SmugMug plugin a new feature… that’s a stretch.

      • Just as the version numbers, the definition of a feature, is Adobe’s assignment. But certainly, if the SmugMug Plugin wasn’t there before, it is not a bugfix.. But let’s just stick with the statement that Apple is doing a bad job with Aperture and they would have to invest some serious amount of work to keep up with the competition.


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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.


Apple, Opinion, Software