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RAW Sex Appeal

Certain views of Apple’s now shipping Apeture digital photo management application show it to be something of an iPhoto for professionals, like an iApp on steroids. Still, as many are prone to wild "paradigm shift" speculation in the software industry, there are more than a few willing snark hunters out there looking to set their sights on a long anticipated Photoshop killer. I have not used the program myself, so I can’t point to a clear winner in such a shoot-out, but I think it’s fair to say from a PR view that Adobe isn’t flinching… just yet.

"Whenever there are other solutions popping up, it is a sign that there is a lot of change going on and that everyone needs to keep innovating to solve those problems," said Kevin Connor, Adobe’s director of digital imaging product management: "Apple is recognizing some of the same things that we are – there are some problems for photographers that are not fully solved yet."

It would appear then that Adobe views Apeture more as a competitor to Bridge, the workflow solution they’ve built into Adobe Creative Suite, and not Photoshop. If that’s really the case, then Adobe may have to add a few items to their white board before the next release (like those guys could ever call it day). While I like Bridge, or more accurately want to like Bridge, it seems to be missing in Apeture’s RAW sex appeal (pun intended). How I’ve been able to use Bridge thus far has really been a matter of practicality. As a creative repository or starting point, it’s a more obvious replacement for Extensis Porfolio than anything else. The added advantage of VersionCue, a CVS-like versioning layer that allows designers and artists to work more like developers, is a welcomed addition, but one I’ve only been able to use with mixed results. I can use it, and will continue to do so, but if a new alternative comes around that promises to be better, I’ll stop my thoughts at one and a half.

This wouldn’t be such a task for Adobe had they polished off their program just a tad bit better and marketed it a little more cleverly. I believe Bridge may be a great idea in the making, but I wonder how many artists who’ve purchased Adobe Creative Suite simply don’t know what it is or how to use it. That is a shame too, since there’s so much potential for use. Considering that it provides its own dialogue box, evening out some of the GUI difference between Mac and Windows, plus the fact that it delivers some of the most tightly integrated feature sets ever seen across programs, it’s pretty clear that Adobe really intended the Creative Suite to be a platform in itself, not just a bundle to justify pricing.

But even with all that, Adobe Bridge still doesn’t make me want to go out and buy a thousand dollar camera to use it. Apeture, on the other hand, does. Plus, it promises to do some of the things which have proven in Bridge to be somewhat kludgey.

I’ll reserve my judgment, though, until I get my hands on Apeture (and that thousand dollar camera). I might even wait for Bridge 2.0.


7 December 2005 @ 10am

It is quite interesting to see Apple and Adobe digging their hoofs in the dust a bit like that…like two samurai staring each other down but neither one wants to offend the other’s honor openly.

As an aside, did you see that there are Adobe CS2 bundles that come with Flash now?

7 December 2005 @ 11pm

Dig your analogy. 😉 Ars technia has a pretty thorough review of Arperture if you’re interested:

Yeah, I did see news of the bundle. I guess InMotion or whatever Adobe was calling can take a flying leap. What’s stunned everybody more is their announcement to merge Flash with PDF. I’m partial to Daring Fireball’s suggestion of “Flashrobat” myself.