Tag Archives: upgrades

Lightroom 4 vs. Aperture 4 | A Lesser Photographer

Lightroom 4 debuted recently and, since, I’ve read a glut of opinion on what Apple should do to play catchup in Aperture 4.

Peppered throughout these pieces is a sense of entitlement along the lines of, “I’ll stop using Aperture altogether if Apple doesn’t implement the follow enhancements: <insert a list of obscure features that somehow weren’t needed until last year and that I’ll use once for the novelty and forget>.”

Mr. Photo Blogger, before you threaten to leave photo software (which I’m sure Apple and Abode fret about nightly), be sure the features you seek can’t be supplanted by being a better photographer.

I am an Aperture user, and frankly I don’t use most of the features the current version has. I can’t understand why people feel this sense of entitlement over new versions of software. We live in strange times.

Continual Improvement?

Anyone with even a slightest interest in the tech world will have been unable to avoid a couple of big stories over the past few days. RIM, maker of the Blackberry phone ecosystem, has had a major outage of their service, and Apple has released several new updates as well as a new version of the perennially popular iPhone.

I’m not concerned about RIM. I am not particularly concerned with Apple’s new shiny. I am concerned about steadily having my hand forced to upgrade beyond where I am comfortable. I am talking about system requirements for a couple of the new things emanating from Cupertino.

Screen_shot_2011-10-13_at_09

Let me set out my table. I am a “creative”. I use a Mac for business and pleasure. My Mac is not in its first blush of youth, but it is still quite capable. I am reliably informed I can install the latest version of the Mac OS, version 10.7 aka Lion, and get some more miles under the belt before I need to seriously consider scraping together cash for a new machine.

All of which is very nice. Lion is available from the App Store for not much more than a round of drinks or a Saturday night takeaway. A couple of clicks and away I go.

The thing is, I still use software that relies on some core technologies of older versions of the Mac OS. Apple were incredibly clever when they transitioned from the PowerPC CPUs to Intel back in the day. They engineered code into the OS so it transparently rewrote the PowerPC code in older applications for Intel chips on the fly. You could continue to use older software until the developer updated for the Intel code. Which was (and is) amazing when you think about it.

In the intervening five or six years, most of the applications I use on a daily basis have been updated, and now run on Intel architecture. All, that is, save one or two. My Canon scanner, for example, will never be updated, and even a third party front end software requires the drivers to be present which—wait for it—are PPC architecture. I can get round this, as I have another scanner now, but I can always run it on an older Mac that is unrepentently a PowerPC powered machine.

The other one, which is a bit bigger in my world, is Macromedia FreeHand. Don’t laugh! I still use it, even though Adobe bought out the company and let FreeHand expire in a dusty corner. I use FreeHand because — oh, let’s not go there. It’s not pertinent to this ranty post anyway.

Okay, the FreeHand thing can also be solved by shifting it to that older PowerPC Mac I’ve already mentioned. That’s not the point, really. My point is Apple have just released updates to Aperture, which I use nearly every day for managing my photo libraries and so on. That’s good, yes?

Yes, if you have updated to the latest version of Lion. Otherwise, you don’t get the update to Aperture. I don’t actually think I need Lion. From what I have seen, it doesn’t offer me anything over what I am running now (OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard). Apple, it seems, are forcing me to upgrade to an OS I don’t really want or need in order to keep up with software I do want and need.

There’s also this thing called iOS5. This is the latest version of the operating system for iPhones, iPods touch and iPads. Lovely shiny things I don’t own. Along with the iOS update is a change from MobileMe, which I use, to a thing called iCloud. Guess what? I can’t migrate to iCloud without running OS X 10.7.2 or iOS5. 

My hand is being forced into making an upgrade to something I don’t really want to upgrade. Yet to maintain levels of software I use, I don’t seem to have much choice in the matter.

Not wishing to speak ill of the dead, but is this the Apple that Steve Jobs always meant it to be?

 

**UPDATE**

19 October 2011—Apple quietly rolled out the Aperture 3.2 update on the App Store. The update was “recommended” for all users. In the system requirements, the magic numbers 10.6.8 appeared. I checked all over the Apple web site to confirm the 3.2 update would work for Snow Leopard, and happily it does. The only requirement for me to sidegrade to Lion now is if I want to keep my @mac.com email address, and I have until the end of June 2012 to sort that out. 

Decisions, decisions.

I’m in the fortunate position of owning two Apple laptops.

One was an upgrade decision, and replaced my previous G4 PowerBook as my main working machine. The other is the result of an unfortunate incident involving water and the PowerBook. In the latter case, the house insurance provided us with a new MacBook Pro, which Best Beloved uses for his hobbies and stuff. I also regard it as my backup machine should the worst happen to the main box.

As things turn out, the main machine has had all the love and attention, and is currently running the latest variant of Mac OS X 10.5.8. It’s a prime candidate for the move to 10.6, now the wrinkles have been ironed out with that release. It’s a bit of a no-brainer, as the “upgrade” cost for Snow Leopard is £25.

I’d quite like to bring both machines up to the same level. I spent a fair bit of time today updating the second-line machine’s OS, and it’s reminded me how old OS X 10.4 Tiger looks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be possible to simply upgrade Tiger to Snow Leopard. It would have to be a “wipe and install”, which isn’t something I’d be happy to do for a second-line machine.

Now, Apple’s answer to this is to offer what they call the Family Pack. This comprises Snow Leopard, all the iLife apps, and all the iWork apps, licensed to be installed on up to five machines. I would actually quite like to upgrade all the iApps that came installed on the laptops, so this – at least on the surface – seems like a good plan.

Then you spot the price. The Family Pack is a not unreasonable £183. That is, however, quite a big jump from the £25 I had mentally budgeted for. That would also eat up my Aperture 3 upgrade price into the bargain.

I do have a Leopard “upgrade” disc. This is the one that you could acquire from Apple if you bought a new machine with an old OS installed, just before they announced a new OS. I could upgrade the Tiger machine to Leopard, then get the £25 Snow Leopard disc. I wouldn’t then have the iApp goodness, but then I have to wonder whether I really need them anyway. I don’t use iMovie or iDVD much, iWeb never gets used, Garageband is fun to play with occasionally, so only iPhoto would be useful – and as I use Aperture iPhoto is not really essential anyway.

That leaves the iWork package. I’m not sure I really need Pages or Numbers, but Keynote might be useful – especially if Best Beloved gets invited to make more talks. A single user iWork box is £71.

Decisions, decisions.

I think, on balance, Best Beloved is happy to retain Tiger on his machine. At some point we could upgrade it to Leopard, then jump to Snowy. I can get Snowy and run it on my machine, save some cash to get Aperture 3, and then we can consider iWork down the line.

I had kind of convinced myself and BB that we should shell out for the Family Pack. Having now worked it through, I think the cheaper route is the better one.