With the recent introduction of Leopard, Aperture was incrementally updated to version 1.5.6. Both were released on the same day. One was pre-announced and expected, while the other was not and came as a pleasant surprise. In the update to Aperture, Apple introduced several fixes aiming to make it work seamlessly with the new operating software and to make sure that the integration with iLife is just right. Recommended for all users of Aperture (even for those still in Tiger, Mac OS X 10.4.8 at least), the 130 MB update was made available via Software Update. This is to make sure that everything works well.
Attuned to Apple’s update cycle, the upgrade to Aperture seemed almost inevitable. Not to start and fuel a rumor, we generally agree that avid and long-time Aperture users can almost tell when an upgrade is in the offing. To a lot of Aperture users, it seemed not surprising, therefore, that an update became available at the heels of Leopard’s public availability. It was simply something that appears long overdue.
If you have already updated Aperture to version 1.5.6 in preparation for Leopard, you might feel that this update, while necessary, wasn’t that exciting. While making sure that Aperture plays nice with the new operating system, which, in general, is a good thing, photographers have been left wanting for more. I know because I felt that way. Understandably, voices of mild disappointment were raised. Not that it was critical, I am guessing we want to be spoiled just a little bit with something fun and exciting.
Through the years, Aperture developed and grew in a steady pace. It may be correct to say that its development was actually largely dictated by the photographers and the software’s users. Based on my impression, Apple kept the channels of communication open to anyone who wants to comment or suggest anything. We know that photographers are not a shy lot. They seemed to have said a ton of things, and in a way, it weighed a lot on the way Aperture has developed, and hopefully, will develop in the near future.
How does Apple gather feedback and information? We cannot say for certain what the complete strategy is, but at least, it is fair to say that Apple appears to be listening really well. Let’s see if we can enumerate some of the ways how you and I can get Apple to listen.
- If you are itching to say something directly to Apple’s Aperture team, you can do that straight from the Aperture software itself. Click on Aperture on the Menu Bar at the top, and then on the drop down menu, click on Provide Aperture Feedback. Your web browser will open to an online form where you can fill in all sort of pre-arranged information plus your comments. Click here, if you want to go the Aperture online feedback form now. Take note at the bottom of the feedback page is a link to the Apple’s Unsolicited Idea Submission Policy that you should read and review before sending your feedback. Everything about Apple’s public legal information is in this page. It’s actually a fascinating read, and in some cases, certain portions might be helpful to photographers, particularly Apple’s Trademark, Copyright and Intellectual Property policies. To go directly to the Unsolicited Idea Submission Policy, click here.
- There is much that can be achieved when sharing experiences. And, Apple wants you to share your experiences in using Aperture, good or bad, so much so that they put up a Share Your Experiences page in the Apple website. This is another page, similar to the Aperture Feedback page, but the approach is different. Here, you are asked to share how you are using Aperture. There are fewer ordered information to fill in, and the focus is on your narrative. And, before you click on the “Share Experience” button, make sure that you agree to “grant Apple the right to use your submission and your name in connection with the promotion of Apple products and services worldwide, forever” and “you warrant that you have the authority to grant such right and that you are 18 years or older and that all the information contained in your submission is truthful.” Hmmm … I don’t think we have a problem with that.
- Sometimes, Apple will issue announcement inviting photographers and Aperture users to help them develop specific new features for future releases.
- If you attend any of the two official Apple training courses on Aperture, the 1-day Aperture 100: An Overview of Aperture and the 3-day Aperture 101: An Introduction To Aperture, you will be given an opportunity to voice out your feedback and features request, which will then be submitted by the Apple Certified Trainer conducting your class through the right channels up to the Aperture team in Cupertino. Now, just in case you are interested in becoming an Apple Certified Trainer for Aperture, download the PDF file.
- You may also want to attend the Aperture workshops at the Apple stores, or attend the classes of road tours offered by professional online support groups such as the Aperture Users Professional Network. By the way, Apple’s retail stores provide very interesting experiences that you don’t want to miss. Attending workshops is a great way to meet and interact with other photographers, trainers and experts and provide a conducive venue for open and free-flowing exchange of information, opinion, feedback and feature requests. Information shared this way can reach the right people as well who may be able to do something about it.
- Online, the many different forums, support site, and blogs are also a good way to voice your feedback, opinion, and feature requests. In these sites, you can quickly read up on latest developments and share with others a whole lot of interesting information regarding Aperture. Check out: Inside Aperture, Aperture Users Professional Network, Aperture Plugged In, Bagelturf, among others. Bookmark these sites, and you will always get the latest news, reviews, feedback and opinions from professional photographers and industry experts who publish blogs, feature articles, and produce podcasts. More importantly, you can always write-in your feedback, comments, opinions, and yes, feature requests.
- Attend the Aperture events held worldwide. Also, visit the Apple booth at industry trade fairs and exhibits just like the recently concluded Photo+Plus in New York’s Jacob Javits Center and the upcoming MacWorld 2008 in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Year-round, there are many such events held all over the US and all over the world. From these events, you get to meet Apple insiders and you can directly interact with them. I’m sure they are always open, and will listen to your feedback, comments and feature requests.
- I was told once that you can get invited to Cupertino to talk face-to-face with the Apple engineers for Aperture. It must be cool to visit the Apple headquarters and face a group of Apple engineers who will be asking questions and listening to you, and writing notes of their talk with you. It also sounds cool to be invited as a beta-tester if indee they are inviting beta-testers. I, for one, would not turn down the opportunity. I don’t know how they invite people, and I am not sure if they do this on a regular basis, but it sounds like a cool experience.
These are just some of the ways on how we can reach Apple. When we continue to provide information to Apple’s Aperture team by voicing our comments, feedback and feature requests, we are collectively providing Apple, based on our user experiences and feedback, the kind of knowledge that they can then sift through to design how the next version of Aperture will be like.