Quite few people were surprised to learn that Apple will no longer develop Aperture. Many more were surprised to see Apple do the same with iPhoto, an application that was the center piece of Apple’s digital hub strategy back in 2001. As you know, both of these applications will be replaced by “Photos” on Yosemite. But like a few others, I think those apps were outdated and built on a decade old code base at a time where iCloud and iOS weren’t even in Apple’s labs.
Photo management on iOS and OS X was not optimal and were lacking integration in regard to storage. Under the new Apple where iOS team and OS X team better work together, I can see that Apple management wanted to better integrate both platforms so they decided to start fresh and build a better application that will help users with their workflow starting from one device and going to the others. They did the same with Keynote and Pages back in 2013. These apps were made 100% compatible together and available with the same feature set over iCloud.com. Here is how Apple could play the scenario early next year.
After releasing iOS 8.0 and OS X 10.10 in the fall of 2014, users will start to get used to Photos on iOS and learn how they fit in their workflows. iCloud will play a major role here as this will help users store many more photos than their device can actually store themselves. With OS X 10.10, iPhoto and Aperture will see minor compatibility updates while Apple is still working on Photos for OS X. Then, beginning of 2015, Apple will release an update to Yosemite that will include their new photo management app coupled with a last update to iPhoto and Aperture. Upon starting the newly released Photos for the first time, users will be prompted to decide what to do with their current iPhoto library: leave it as is or migrate it to the new Photos format. By doing so, all pictures and most of the metadata will be migrated and optionally made available over iCloud. On iOS devices running with iOS 8, pictures from iPhoto being uploaded to iCloud will start to appear in their Photos library. The same kind of workflow will be available to Aperture users. As with previous versions of iOS, Apple will probably release iOS 8.1 at the same time early 2015. This release could include new photo management and editing features as well.
In the following months of 2015, Apple could release other iOS 8 updates with new Photos features coupled with similar updates for OS X Yosemite’s Photos. From now on, each of these platform will be kept in sync in regard to photo management and editing. At some point, people will be able to delete iPhoto or Aperture as they no longer being updated by Apple.
This is the kind of scenario Apple could play next year in regard to iPhoto and Aperture replacement. People will have choice. Some will stay with Aperture, many will go to Adobe’s Lightroom and iPhoto users will be happy to use a modern and refreshed photo management solution built for the next ten years or more.