Does Apple’s Aperture threaten Adobe’s Photoshop?

“Adobe Systems may have just experienced a bad case of deja vu. On Wednesday, Apple Computer introduced Aperture, new digital-image-editing software targeted at professional photographers,” Troy Wolverton reports for “Although Apple touted the fact that the new program will work well with Photoshop, Adobe’s program that dominates the photo-editing market, the new software has the potential to carve into Adobe’s cash cow.”

Wolverton reports, “Adobe has been here before. Microsoft, for instance, recently announced a new suite of programs aimed at design professionals, Adobe’s central market. But, perhaps more pertinently, earlier this decade Apple displaced Adobe in the digital-video-editing market when it introduced a rival program.”

“Like most of Apple’s software, Aperture will only work on the company’s Macintosh computers. Sales of Photoshop for the Macintosh have declined in recent years as a portion of total Photoshop sales, according to data from NPD Group,” Wolverton reports. “But in the year to date, the Mac version of Photoshop still accounted for nearly 27% of total Photoshop sales, according to NPD. Its announcement Wednesday makes it clear that it wants a piece of that action. And it has every reason to believe that it will get it.”

Wolverton reports, “What has to worry Adobe further is its history in the digital-video-editing segment, Swenson says. In the late 1990s, the company’s Premiere program dominated the market for video-editing programs under $1,000. But Apple’s Final Cut program, which the computer company introduced in 1999, changed all that. Apple had taken away such a significant chunk of Adobe’s business on the Mac that by 2002, Adobe stopped making Premiere for Apple computers. Now Apple now has about a third of the market for professional video-editing software, according to Swenson.”

Full article here.

Advertisement: Introducing Aperture. Designed for professional photographers. $499. Free shipping.

MacDailyNews Take: As people who’ve used Photoshop, Premiere, and Final Cut Pro extensively:
• You can have our copy of Photoshop right after you convince us to switch from Mac OS X to Windows XP. In other words, Photoshop ain’t goin’ nowhere; it’s staying right where it is, on our Macs.
• Premiere was so out-classed by even the 1.0 version of Final Cut Pro that is was no contest. Professionals buy very serious Macs just so they can run Apple’s Mac-only Pro applications.
• Final Cut Pro is an excellent, best-in-class application. We even prefer it over very high-end non-linear editing products from Avid.
• We will add Aperture to our Dock, not replace Photoshop with it. Each application does different things. They can be complementary to each other.
• If this forces Adobe to innovate Photoshop faster and rethink some ideas, so much the better for both Apple and Adobe.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple’s revolutionary new Aperture software a must have for every professional photographer – October 19, 2005
Apple introduces Aperture, first all-in-one post production tool for photographers – October 19, 2005


  1. It’s a tool for phjotographers, not a tool for the manipulation of images photoshop style. At least that’s what it look like from the demos. It’s iPhoto on steroids. It’s a workflow/organisation tool. Saying it wil displace Photoshop is like saying iTunes will displace Logic.

    Maybe, just maybe, a few photographers will no longer need photoshop, but they’ll be a minority.

  2. Photoshop manipulates photo’s. Aperture is a workflow tool. I think the biggest thing is that if Adobe causes any trouble on Mac platform, then Apple can just introduce an ‘upgrade’ to solve that problem and make Aperture a photo editing option. Not sure if that would be easy, but probably an option.

  3. Aperture is not a threat to adobe photoshop.

    Being a photoshop user since version 2 (no layers!), I can see exactly where Apple is going with this.

    Aperture is purely a dedicated pro software for pro digital photographers.

    There are no filters, effects etc – purely image enhancing tools that pro’s would want to use to make there photos the best they can be!

    If I was a pro photographer I would not hesitate to buy this and use it alongside photoshop.

  4. I got exactly 27 words into this article before I stopped. Why did I stop reading and become disinterested?

    The words “Troy” and “Wolverton” appeared in the story.

    MW ‘standard’, as in, ignoring what that little dweeb has to say is now standard operating procedure for me.

  5. Re: abracadabra

    “aperture is really great.. but it lacks all the image manipulation tools and filters found in photoshop.. once it gets to that point.. then it may replace photoshop.. maybe..”


    Aperture IS NOT a photoshop replacement!

    Read the info on the Apple Website: “It’s a Pro application for Pro Photographers”

    Why would a pro photographer want aperture to do all the crappy filters and effects stuff when photoshop does it??

    Aperture is a workflow app for pro digital photographers!

    If you are wanting all these features then you are not the market that Apple wants to buy this product.

  6. It could be kind of cool, but I think MDN’s take on this is spot on. I do indeed see the need for raw image support. I do have Adobe’s raw plugin, but what appears to be missing in all apps is true signal processing (filtering) in raw. It is very desirable to process images in a space with as much dynamic range as possible. 10 bits/color is better than 8 and 16 is better still. Get it to floating point as soon as possible.

    Another thing, I often use Shake as a still image processor. Kind of overkill, but the side benefitis are a script and the ability to think in processes rather than layers. How ’bout a smaller and cheaper optimized version of Shake for stills?

  7. Photographers in the field may well decide that Aperture is all they need, whereas at the moment they use Photoshop.

    When it comes to studio-based manipulation of images, Photoshop will remain the first choice for everybody.

    But Adobe has announced that they won’t be quick off the blocks with a MacTel version of Photoshop. They may wish to reconsider this tardiness as otherwise Aperture 2 might appear and give them something to worry about.

    Adobe were able to exploit a vacuum when Quark were slow moving to OS X, you might think that they would learn from that episode.

  8. Aperture uses CoreImage to achieve non-destructive, fast editing on RAW images. In other words, you cannot do what this app does using anything but Tiger – it cannot be cross-platform. Assuming that many professional photographers start to use Aperture alongside Photoshop, this actually ties Adobe into the Mac platform very effectively for the foreseeable…

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