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.
Apple has made mistakes with the program to be sure. But it’s also stepped up and fixed those mistakes at breakneck speed.
Look at the revision history. In the 382 days since its 1.0 release, Apple has updated Aperture seven times. That’s right - seven times. That amounts to approximately one update every 54 days.
Some of the updates have been major, including a $200 price drop, Intel support, new RAW processing methods, better export controls, a flexible library management system, iLife integration and support and more.
Still other updates have been minor like bug fixes that address overall reliability and performance.
There’s no doubt that Apple’s commitment to the program is significant and nothing bears that out more than the change in tone in the photographic community. It’s changed.
The photographic community can be a tough taskmaster. And I saw plenty of whining and moaning about Aperture in the early days. Frankly, I was wondering if all the negativity might actually lead to the program’s failure. But fortunately, Steve Jobs is tougher than I am. He stuck it out. Apple listened carefully to customer feedback and made changes. They didn’t get defensive. They got better. They didn’t cave into pressure from outside groups. They improved and improvised.
Aperture has generated a sea change in the photo software business. And paradigm sifts of this magnitude are not easy to sell. But the relentless pursuit of success by Apple where Aperture is concerned is beginning to pay off.
One year ago last week, I started the first blog dedicated to Aperture. Now a part of this O’Reilly effort, ApertureTricks.com was a lonely place those first few months.
But now, there are lots of people on the bandwagon. There are several Aperture books and training videos, Aperture is being taught at Apple training centers and Aperture even has a very useful Wikipedia page.
So while the battle is far from over, we’ve crossed the one year milestone. We now have a program that has generated seven updates, and all at no additional cost to the user. We’ve seen wider adoption of the program, and Apple is committed to its success.
I predict that Aperture will continue to evolve as an effective tool for digital photographers, and I want to encourage the Aperture community to work together to help Apple to continue to improve this important piece of photographic software.