Apple Aperture Reminds Us That Apple Is a Media Company

Apple ComputerLate last week Apple disclosed to the folks over at The Loop that it would be ending development of another one of its professional products, Aperture. They committed to providing a round of compatibility updates so it would continue functioning on OS X Yosemite. Replacing it, and iPhoto, will be a new prosumer-geared “Photos” app which will be the gateway to the iCloud Photo Library.

Overall, cloud apps make me jumpy about performance, pricing, and intellectual property rights, especially for those of us that make 30 MB RAW format files every time the shutter clicks, in places where we’re lucky to get a bar of EDGE cell data service. More importantly, as a Windows Lightroom user I valued Aperture as competition. Lightroom still lacks many features Aperture has, like face recognition, decent support for multimedia, excellent metadata support, good workflow, and excellent library management, despite ongoing feature requests from actual customers.

Oh, but wait! Adobe announced that they are “doubling down” on Lightroom and Creative Cloud Photography:

Put simply we’re doubling down on our investments in Lightroom and the new Creative Cloud Photography plan and you can expect to see a rich roadmap of rapid innovation for desktop, web and device workflows in the coming weeks, months and years.

Quick quiz — with all of the competition out of the way, an honorable company such as Adobe or Oracle:

A) Doubles down on its investments in that product line.
B) Solicits customer feedback for new features in future versions.
C) Stops all development on the product line and raises prices because, as a monopoly, they can.

Apple also said that Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro remain under development, apparently ignoring their previous nerfing of Final Cut Pro with the Final Cut Pro X rewrite, and the subsequent & immediate loss of most serious video professionals.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it once again: Apple is no longer a computer company, and despite our nostalgia we really need to stop thinking of them as one. They are a media company, with a huge consumer device business geared towards selling their music, movies, and applications. Mac and Mac software represents a shrinking portion of their sales. Of that, professional users of their platforms are a tiny fraction of their overall users, and not even particularly vocal outside their own communities. As such, Apple just doesn’t care.

None of this is full-on panic, but I were a Logic Pro user I’d definitely start looking for a way off that platform, because you’ve seen what’s going to happen to you. And I give Macs and Mac OS a few years before it’s just all iOS, too. In the meantime, photographers will just have to muddle through, hoping another option comes along.

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