So Aperture 2 (affectionally A2 from here on) is out, and it's pretty good. My initial impressions, subjective of course:
Performance is much improved, especially once previews are rendered (or if you turn them off)
Quick Preview mode is fabulous for edits
To my eye, the RAW conversions look even better, and they were already my favorite of the RAW converters (tied with Capture One Pro). Keep in mind I haven't imported any of my old images and I can't upgrade my library until I buy A2, so this is based on new images shot around the house
The new interface is nice, I prefer it (the tabbed interface on one side) to the two-side-panes interface of 1.x
The new adjustment tools are excellent... the retouch tool has worked very well for me so far, the definition and vibrance controls are very welcome, and the new exposure brick is really nice
Vignette tool! Hopefully it isn't broken like Lightroom's
The straighten tool is much improved and much, much faster
Publish to standalone .Mac web gallery is very nice
Workflow is essentially the same with some incremental improvements... this is a good thing, workflow is the biggest reason I use Aperture (that and the RAW conversion quality)
Things that disappoint:
No curves adjustment (come ON people... yes I know Aperture's quarter tone levels manipulate an S-curve... but sometimes I don't WANT an S-curve, I want a W-curve, or a C-curve, or just any bloody curve I want... Apple should not have shipped a major upgrade without curves, there is no excuse)
No color-based B&W conversion (vs. channel-based)... sigh... to Photoshop I go, to Photoshop I go, hi-ho... etc.
Things I haven't tried:
Tethered shooting... the demo/tutorial for this makes it look fabulous
Searches... I hear they're faster
Time Machine... not using it yet
Vaults... I assume they are unchanged
Importing my 1.5 library
Actually publishing/exporting except to local folders
Plugins like FlickrExport
Supposedly there's an image adjustment API/SDK now? Which could mean actual plugins? Which could mean curves or good noise reduction or what have you? That would rock. I haven't confirmed this yet.
All in all, it's a very good upgrade. It's a little weak for a 2.0 IMO, but that's because I'm really put off by the lack of curves. A2 is an incremental upgrade, it feels like a very nice 1.6 or a bit weak 2.0 to me, but maybe that feeling will change as I use it. Will I pay for it? Yep.
Aperture 2 has been released! Woohoo! Hopefully this is a really big update. Unfortunately, the store has it but the link above is still showing Aperture 1.5, but I'm sure it'll be updated sometime soon.
Looking forward to checking out what the new feature set is... (Apple, please update your website... thanks).
I've been putting the Mac Pro to good use with Adobe Lightroom. The machine is fast enough that Lightroom (still a beta and definitely not optimized) runs very nicely. I'm importing lots of old images that I previously had cataloged in iView MediaPro. Images in iView just aren't very useful because they're not immediately accessible. I think Lightroom and Aperture are going to finally put to death all of the arcane workflows people have been getting by with.
From now on I'll be importing directly into Lightroom, and it automatically creates a backup copy of the imported files on my external drive. My Lightroom library automatically gets backed up once a week. What else do I need?
I do look forward to performance optimizations (and fixing the incessant checking of thumbnails), but as far as I'm concerned Lightroom is good to go on the Mac Pro.