updated 11:30 am EDT, Mon September 25, 2006
Apple debuts Aperture 1.5
Ahead of the Photokina tradeshow in Germany, Apple has announced a new version of Aperture, its professional digital photography workflow solution. Aperture 1.5 is a major update to the all-in-one post production tool for photographers that delivers enhancements across each phase of the entire workflow. Aperture 1.5 delivers a powerful new open library, seamless iLife '06 and iWork '06 integration, XMP metadata support, powerful new adjustment tools and an export API that makes it easy to extend the Aperture workflow to third party applications and services. "Aperture has given photographers around the globe the confidence to work in exciting new ways," said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of Applications Product Marketing. "Now with Aperture 1.5, we've opened the library and extended the workflow to provide a solution that is as flexible as it is powerful." Aperture 1.5 is available this week in English, French, German and Japanese as a free Software Update to current Aperture 1.0 customers. The full version is $300 from the Apple Store.
The solution now features a new open library system that allows photographers to store image files wherever they want -- either within the Aperture library itself, or in other disk locations, including external hard drives, CDs or DVDs. Aperture can now generate high-resolution previews of each image so that users can review, rate and organize images as well as perform slideshows -- even when the master images are offline. The previews, which can be generated at a range of size and quality levels, allow photographers to keep their original images safely stored on a desktop system at home or in the studio, while still being able to take a compact version of their entire photographic library on the road using a MacBook or MacBook Pro.
"In less than a year, Aperture has become as essential to me as my camera, lens and tripod," said Steve Winter, contributing photographer for National Geographic. "At the end of a day's shoot, it's so easy to find photos in my Aperture library and use these amazing tools like the Light Table to quickly piece something together and figure out what I need to make the story complete."
Aperture 1.5 is now supported across Apple's full line of Macs and offers powerful new integration with the iLife '06 suite of digital lifestyle applications and iWork '06 productivity software. The tight integration means that photographers can build complete websites with iWeb, create self-contained slide presentations with Keynote, or produce DVD slideshows with iDVD, all using JPEG versions of photos directly from their Aperture library. In addition integration also includes syncing to iPod using iTunes 7 and the ability to access and copy Aperture photos from within iPhoto.
Version 1.5 streamlines the process of adding metadata to photo shoots with new pre-filled IPTC Metadata Presets. Captions, credits and other critical metadata can be added on import automatically or via a batch process at any point in the workflow. Another major enhancement to metadata support within Aperture is the ability to export RAW images with IPTC data stored in XMP sidecar files for easy use with other applications such as Adobe Photoshop. Aperture can also generate XMP files automatically through AppleScript.
New tools, export API plugin architecture
Powerful new adjustment options in Aperture 1.5 include a sophisticated luminance-based Edge Sharpen filter for extremely high-quality sharpening results and a new Color tool that lets photographers tune the hue, saturation and luminance of specific color ranges within each image. Aperture' Loupe magnifier also has been enhanced with a set of onscreen controls, smooth zooming with up to 1600 percent magnification and a new option that enables it to be detached from the cursor while making adjustments. Individual image adjustment settings can now be saved as presets that can be automatically applied through a menu command, so that photographers can quickly and easily make standard adjustments.
An innovative new export API plug-in architecture in Aperture 1.5 allows third party developers to tap into the expanding Aperture user community with plug-ins that seamlessly connect Aperture's workflow to complementary applications and services. Plug-ins from industry leading companies, including Getty Images, iStockphoto, Pictage, Flickr, PhotoShelter, DigitalFusion, Soundslides and Connected Flow, will be demonstrated at photokina 2006. These plug-ins will demonstrate a range of printing, publishing and storage workflows that take advantage of this new architecture.
Apple offered the last major update to Aperture in April of this year, when it released version 1.1 of its all-in-one post production tool for photographers. The Universal update also brought improved RAW image rendering and a new set of advanced RAW adjustment controls as well as speed gains. At that time, Apple also reduced the price of the application to $300 to put it into "reach of anyone shooting with a digital SLR camera." Shortly following that release, Apple dismissed rumors about its Aperture roadmap, saying that company has more engineers working on the application than ever before.