Friday, January 7, 2011

I Won't do Mac Store...Oh Wait Did you say Aperture is $80?

Okay, so I was not going to download the Mac app.  Why? Well let's just say that I still like the old fashioned way of finding software, but this App store thing seems to be a compelling way to do business and to find software as long as it does not interfere with my ability to go outside of the box to find the same, say for a lower price point.   I am a really big fan of the Bundles - ie. MacUpdate, MacHeist etc.  For $50 you get about 12 programs (Apps to be politically correct :)).   What will become of these bundles remains to be seen now that the App store has arrived.  When I first bought my Mac in 2007, the Mac Bundles were an excellent introduction to software for my new OS. 

I have always waited for the V1 or first version of anything, ie. iPad, iPhone to pass before jumping in head first.  Not wanting to be on the bleeding edge (ie. iPhone 1 owners), but trying to remain on the cutting edge.  But APPLE knows how to nail you!  And what I thought was a misprint by Apple on the Mac App store has just NAILED ME!

I have been looking for Photo cataloging and editing software to advance from iPhoto.  I wanted to get something a little better than iPhoto which has become extremely bloated with our over 12,000 photographs.  I began this quest in 2009, but halted it after seeing the pricing for the two leading contenders.  Aperture, Apple's own version was over $200.  That was not chump change.  Lightroom by Adobe was about the same $245.  I listened to a number of photography podcasts and friends who were always in two camps - The Aperture lovers and the Lightroom lovers.  The Lightroom fans claimed that theirs was the only true non destructive editing platform with a plethora of third party plug-ins, with cataloging as a secondary feature.  The Aperture lovers would say that the cataloging features were superior and that the plug-ins were catching up to Aperture and that non destructive editing was on par, but Aperture's tight integration with all things Apple made it the superior choice.

Admittedly, I began leaning towards Lightroom due to the fact that many Windows users and a few of my trusted photography friends exclaimed that this was the de facto program for serious photographers.  I was planning on buying it this September, but never got around to it as other things kept on getting in the way.  In the end, I was still on the fence.

But yesterday something peculiar happened.  While scanning the "papers" for news on the new App store, I ran into the top 10 grossing apps on Fortune Magazine.  And there it was.  Aperture 3.0 selling for $80.  Not $200.  I checked the Apple website to ensure that this was not a typo that would soon be retracted.  It was not.  Aperture was $80.  Now, that is a game changer.  One of the things that my friends told me is that once you go to either Aperture or Lightroom there is no turning back.  At $80, did Apple want to make sure that all of its Mac Heads remained in the fold?  Was this another 1-2 sucker punch to Adobe?  If I went to Lightroom would it be possible that Adobe might stop supporting Lightroom on the Mac (ie. Microsoft not creating another Excel version until last year, leaving Mac owners to use a 2004 outdated version of the App for years or Adobe's Flash or Creative Suite issues with updating?).  Support has been my main concern.

So now I have to weigh the pros and cons of the situation.  Should I go to the App store and download Version 3.0* of Aperture?  My mind is telling me yes, but I now have to do more research to see if plugins will be supported and if there are as many worthwhile plugins as found in Lightroom.   Also what kind of licensing would this entail?  Can I install the App on more than one machine (Does the Mac App store make it impossible to "share" a disc on multiple machines in the same location for one fee)?  

Apple has created a compelling reason to stay the course.  A professional photography suite for $80 - that my friends was the introductory price of Adobe's Photoshop Elements on Disc, a rudimentary program that is not in the same league as Aperture.  Apple, you have made my decision making a living hell !  Thanks :).

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