Ars Technica reviews Apple’s Aperture 1.1: ‘Everybody wins’

“It is no secret that I wasn’t a fan of Aperture 1.0. From the outright broken things like 8-bit TIFF export and EXIF data stripping on output to the Zen take on a manual (there is no documentation”), everything about Aperture 1.0 pointed to an unrealistic deadline and a QA department with their monitors off. While the EXIF bug was fixed with the OS X 10.4.6 update, the problems I saw in Aperture 1.0 were sadly only the tip of the iceberg and eventually users’ different workflows exposed numerous additional flaws, some nastier than others. After inconsistent responses to some angry customers who wanted their money back, the whole thing got even uglier,” Dave Girard writes for Ars Technica. “By all accounts, the Aperture 1.0 launch was a big fart with Apple doing its best to light PR matches wherever it could.”

“It is very nice seeing Apple reduce the price from US$500 to US$300, but it’s even more encouraging that they have offered a US$200 ‘e-coupon’ to those who bought Aperture 1.0. Besides the obvious need to stick an ‘e-‘ in front of something concrete, Apple needed to send a message to their professional customers that said ‘this won’t happen again and yes, we were at fault.’ Giving people money back was the best way of sending exactly that message,” Girard writes.

“I have to admit, I was very skeptical that Apple could whip together professional-quality RAW conversion for numerous camera models in a few months. Their competitors have been honing their technology for years and reverse-engineering your way into the subtle differences in manufacturer’s RAW formats is not a matter of ticking the’unsuck’ radio button. Either they bought some existing technology we don’t know about or there are some seriously overworked software engineers getting some much-needed sleep right about now. But who cares? The plain fact is that Aperture 1.1’s high-quality RAW processing says ‘we can move quickly in areas where we’ve had little experience’ and the discount/refund says ‘users won’t be expected to beta test at their own expense again.’ Everybody is winning here, even those professionals who were frustrated for shelling out for the lackluster 1.0 version,” Girard writes. “As it stands, Aperture can now genuinely claim to be among the better RAW converters and when you combine that with the serious workflow benefits the program offers with its now-cheaper price tag, you have a serious professional photography companion as well as a tempting upgrade for iPhoto users. Apple’s managed to pull an about-face on many levels here and I’m happy they did—my flame-retardant suit was starting to give.”

The comprehensive review – a must-read for those considering purchasing Aperture – here.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple: Rumors of Aperture’s demise have been greatly exaggerated – May 05, 2006
Apple releases Aperture 1.1.1 Update – May 05, 2006
Rumor: Apple axes bulk of Aperture team, app’s future in doubt – April 27, 2006
Apple releases Aperture 1.1 for $299; free update for early adopters of Aperture plus $200 coupon – April 13, 2006
Apple calls on pro photogs to provide RAW photos for Aperture improvements testing – February 02, 2006
Ars Technica: Apple’s Aperture ‘a big, expensive misfire’ – December 05, 2005
Apple’s revolutionary Aperture: will all Mac applications work like this someday? – October 21, 2005
Apple’s Aperture more revolutionary than you might think – October 21, 2005
Apple’s new Aperture signals that Photoshop is no longer invulnerable – October 20, 2005
Pro photographers see Apple’s Aperture as complement to Adobe Photoshop – October 20, 2005
Does Apple’s Aperture threaten Adobe’s Photoshop? – October 20, 2005
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. That clown at Ars Technica rides again…
    Aperture was a 1.0 program and it had flaws, like any 1.0 program.
    The price reduction comes from competition (read Adobe’s Lightroom beta) not because Apple is apologizing for its 1.0 version…
    As for its raw conversion quality, there is no Raw standard, every manufacturer produces its own conversion software for the cameras it sells.
    Obviously, it is a big challenge to accommodate every single bloody camera out there in your program, but make no mistake, Aperture will mature into one really kick ass program.
    This guy proves he’s a clown, when he can’t even find all the documentation that’s available for Aperture since version 1.0:

    and a few others at that support site

    Aperture is a workflow tool for photographers with a FEW retouching tools, so it can become both things in the future, a raw conversion-database-workflow app AND a retouching program like Photoshop.
    Apple has done the right thing from the start: awesome UI, a workflow tool that suits photographers and the like needs and room to grow into a retouching program as well. Adobe and their crappy Carbon apps should be afraid…

  2. That dude is a clown.

    He reviews a product every .1 upgrade.

    His original review was basically, “the renders are not perfect, thus ends the review.” It then took two more reviews to cover the entire rest of the progam, you know, like workflow, interface, ease of use…

    What a doofus.

  3. PPC said:
    “The price reduction comes from competition (read Adobe’s Lightroom beta) not because Apple is apologizing for its 1.0 version…”

    It wasn’t the price reduction that he was refering to as an apology. It was the $200 coupon to the previous 1.0 buyers that was the apology.

  4. MDN’s take: “The comprehensive review – a must-read for those considering purchasing Aperture.”

    Funny – I remember a distinctly more chilly ‘assessment’ by MDN, of this same guy’s original review that pointed out Aperture’s significant flaws, and high price point. Hypocrites.

    And ppc and Mugwump seem to have faulty memories too. Not only was his original review as thorough as hell, but he also posted a follow-up in response to everyone without a lick of professional photography experience flaming him over it. He was just as comprehensive in that follow-up. And finally, EVERYTHING he said was wrong with Aperture was validated – not only by other reviewers, but now by Apple itself! Or has the fact that this new version addresses practically all of those criticisms not being noticed here? Or the major price drop in the face of a cheaper and better performing alternative from Adobe? Or even the major shake-up of Apple’s Aperture team?

    C’mon guys. Get a grip. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool mad” style=”border:0;” />

    MDN magic word: “personal” – As in, “Some people posting here take anything relating to Apple so personally, they don’t know where their head and Steve Jobs’ ass begin and end.”

  5. I skimmed the review and looked at the RAW import results for 1.0 and 1.1, and man did 1.0 suck butt at importing RAW. Look for yourself:

    Check out the way aperture 1.0 rendered the pylons in the photo at the bottom of the page – it actually made me laugh.

    Obviously, the initial review was of an overpriced and broken product. This follow-up review is of a fixed and reasonably priced product – it’s very cool that arstechnica did the review on the 1.1 update, since Apple needs all the good press they can get for Aperture.

    …so maybe check out the article before flinging poop.

  6. re ppc: “Apple has done the right thing from the start: awesome UI, a workflow tool that suits photographers and the like needs and room to grow into a retouching program as well.”


    Show of hands for those jonesing for this particular mythical creature…

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