An email came from Apple HQ recently addressed to Dear Aperture User (that’s us) to let us know that Aperture, Apple’s competitor for Adobe Lightroom, is being retired. We can still use the version we have installed, but there will be no more development of the software.
In its place we are being offered Photos, an application built into the next version of the Yosemite operating system due for release in the next few months. Are we really going to get a free replacement for Aperture for which we paid good money a couple of years ago?
Aperture’s attraction is that it is a decent Lightroom competitor at a reasonable price. We were anxious to see if the new Photos app in Yosemite would really be an adequate replacement for Aperture. We may have misread Apple’s intention.
For bold users with nerves of steel Apple offers a beta version of the Yosemite update which we have recklessly installed on our MacBook just to see how Photos measures up.
Photos is not really new because it has been the installed photo editing app on iPhones and iPads for some months. If you have kept your OS8 up to date then you already have Photos. We have been using it for editing iPhone snaps on the run where simple automated routines are generally more useful than attempting precise manual adjustments. Alternative manual adjustment with sliders is there in Photos but we were expecting more from an app that appears to be offered as a replacement for the more sophisticated Aperture.
Photos is a component in the total integration of Apple programs on all devices, linked through iCloud. Everything done on one iDevice appears on all others sharing an iCloud account. If, like us, you are relying on the basic 5GB of free iCloud you will get a message when Photos opens telling you to buy some more space.
All the familiar sharing functions of iPhoto are still there, including the excellent slideshow creator, but the interface is changed to conform to the OSX Yosemite style with tabs for Shared, Albums and Projects, rather than the iPhoto tool palette on the left.
Photos will find and load photos from iPhoto and Aperture libraries and is a better-than-basic photo editor but if you want a replacement for Aperture then you will need Lightroom or perhaps DxO Optics Pro 10. Or just hang onto Aperture.