And Why It’s Now Official – I Am Permanently Switching To Lightroom 4x
Since dropping out of MacWorld and most of the other big electronics/computer shows, WWDC (The World Wide Developer’s Conference) in San Francisco has become Apple’s most important venue for product announcements. What used to be all about code and SDKs is now about that and hardware.
This week’s WWDC Keynote brought lots of hardware. A few surprises and a few things that I predicted.
Let’s start with the new MacBook laptop line. The big news is a 15.4″ 2880×1880, 4.46 pound laptop code named Verge. It’s just .71 inches thick. Comes with SD reader, HDMI port, USB2/3 x2 and two Thunderbolt ports. It ships with 2.3GHz quad core i7 processor, eight GB RAM and very fast video memory with seven hours of battery life for $2199 in the base configuration. Configured the way I plan to order my unit the cost is a ridiculous $4098.00 including the best of the best of the best in each category with Apple Care. This will be the most expensive laptop I ever buy so I’m waiting 30-60 days to let the early adopters help Apple work out the bugs.
The new display will be a boon to photographers but slow your roll. The new display means Photoshop and similar programs will need to be recoded to work with it. I suspect current calibration hardware/software might need to be re-worked as well. So don’t jump into this thing with mission-critical work just yet. Let it sort itself out. That’s another reason I am waiting. I want to make sure that Lightroom and Photoshop (along with the various plug-ins I use) are all compatible.
Apple also announced Mountain Lion – shipping in July – it’s new $19.95 (upgrade price from Snow Leopard up) OS which has all sorts of cool new features that those of us in the Mac community will likely enjoy. The new iCloud services look to be improved – and they needed to be.
Photo Streams have been improved – you can now share them. Just make sure you turn that OFF if you don’t want people seeing your nude pics of the girlfriend. Just saying
There was a minor refresh to the Mac Pro but as I predicted last year – this form factor is essentially EOL. They may pay lip service to it but there’s nothing there that can compete with Windows machines in a high-end video/photo production environment – even still – I won’t switch to Windows unless I just have to. If you think the current top-of-the-line Mac Pro can come close to competing with the current top-of-the-line Windows machines, you’re just kidding yourself. It’s not even close. And it pains me to say this because I exclusively used Apple computers since the introduction of the Apple II.
But the emphasis on mass market mobile is clear. Those of us in the professional photography community need to understand that we are no longer targets of Apple. They aren’t a pro apps company or a hardware company they are a mobile company. In so far as you are interested in mobile – then they are one to watch.
There was a minor point release to Aperture (not really discussed at the keynote.) It offers a white balance brush, compatibility with the new retina display and a few other goodies, but it’s nowhere near the kind of upgrade that Lightroom got, moving from LR3x to LR4x. I’m officially done with Aperture – as of today my staff has begun the migration to LR4 and I won’t be switching back. Even if Apple does a major Aperture update, it’s going to be too late for me. I’m not a fan of their approach when it comes to the pro market and while it may make perfect sense for them from a business point of view, it doesn’t serve customers like me. Why?
Here’s the writing on the wall. Aperture’s library now fully integrates with iPhoto’s library. Does that ring a bell with anyone but me? iPhoto is a purely consumer product. Aperture was originally touted, marketed and sold as a professional application and was managed by Apple’s pro apps team. Does anyone really think there’s a place for integration between a free consumer photo app that kids use in grade school and a pro app like Aperture?
This is like the Final Cut Pro debacle. Apple essentially has decided that the broader consumer market is more profitable so pro apps are history. I can’t and don’t blame them from a purely business point of view. If I were an Apple stockholder (and I am not) I would applaud these moves. As a professional photographer – I can’t say I am happy.
Apple is and probably will be for some time a great company for its shareholders. I think they may even innovate once in a while when it comes to mobile. But it’s clear to me that the loss of Steve Jobs meant the loss of Apple as we knew it.
The minor speed bump to the Mac Pro and the point upgrade on Aperture were nothing more than lip service to the pro market. Adobe (and I really hate to say this) along with Windows PCs – have blown by Apple leaving nothing but a trail of dust. Apple seems more intent on keeping secrets, beating up on Google and making money for its shareholders than it does on making photographers happy and perhaps that’s the right business strategy. But it’s not a strategy that will keep me in the fold. (By the way – if you’re NOT a professional photographer then most of this news isn’t so bad for you and you may be thrilled with the new consumer version of Aperture and Final Cut and never need the kind of power that I do to render encoded video, etc. so much of this may be okay with you.)
While I can’t stand the thought of using Windows, I will much more closely scrutinize the Apple products I do use going forward and make sure I am getting my needs met without regard for company loyalty, etc. I used to trust that Apple had my back. No more. I am no longer their target customer. So be it. I am not telling anyone else what to do. I am not making any recommendations here. I am merely stating my own opinions and declaring my own position. Good luck to us all. At least I do have that sparkly new laptop to look forward to soon.