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Apple Takes a Swing at Photoshop
October 19, 2005 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Apple announces Aperture: their answer to the professional photograph editing market. I wonder what the folks at Adobe think about this? I know I'm just aching for something, _anything_ to compete with Adobe — as its customer service went down the tubes a few years back.
posted by silusGROK (86 comments total)

 
oh good god.
posted by xmutex at 11:06 AM on October 19, 2005


It's not really a competitor to Photoshop; it's just iPhoto on steroids.

(Did you see the system requirements on it? PHWOAR.)
posted by keswick at 11:09 AM on October 19, 2005


What's that flopping sound?
posted by stenseng at 11:11 AM on October 19, 2005


I'm assuming "oh good god" as in "what a crappy FPP"?
posted by spock at 11:11 AM on October 19, 2005


There is something to compete with Adobe (Photoshop that is), it's called the GIMP.

As for the rest of their line I'm not so certain.
posted by MrBobaFett at 11:11 AM on October 19, 2005


Since Adobe bought Macromedia, any company that can compete with Adobe is welcome, in my book.

And having used GIMP, no, it really doesn't compare with Adobe Photoshop, even if it gets undeserved bonus points for being open source.
posted by Rothko at 11:14 AM on October 19, 2005


There is something to compete with Adobe (Photoshop that is), it's called the GIMP.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Go back to Slashdot.
posted by keswick at 11:15 AM on October 19, 2005


I've been using GIMP for a couple years now after being stuck without a copy of photoshop and a project I had to finish. I've never found a reason to take it off and install photoshop.
posted by MrBobaFett at 11:16 AM on October 19, 2005


There is something to compete with Adobe (Photoshop that is), it's called Microsoft Paint.
posted by jefbla at 11:18 AM on October 19, 2005


There is something to compete with Adobe (Photoshop that is), it's called the GIMP.

Get out of AppleFanZone and go back to OpenSourceFanZone
posted by rxrfrx at 11:19 AM on October 19, 2005


Wankfilter.
posted by mr.marx at 11:20 AM on October 19, 2005


I use Photoshop a lot for my photography -- I shoot in RAW exclusively, and I have to say that any app that deals with RAW images, start to finish, in a non-destructive fashion, is VERY interesting to me. That alone is big news for digital photographers, and I've been shocked that Photoshop hasn't done it.
posted by verb at 11:21 AM on October 19, 2005


No, it smells much better here in AppleFanZone.

Gimp's UI looks like it was designed a bunch of visually impaired linux nerds. oh wai
posted by keswick at 11:22 AM on October 19, 2005


From capture to output, you work directly with your RAW files, never having to first convert them into another format before viewing, adjusting, organizing, or printing them

For a pro, converting to another format is a) pretty simple and b) necessary anyway.
posted by scheptech at 11:22 AM on October 19, 2005


On preview, the Raw import features this offers look as good or superior to Photoshop's. The thumbnail browser interface also looks superior to Photoshop's file browser, as well as the file management features for keeping track of versions. This is a decisive stab at a professional market, not the consumer, which is quite departure from the Apple mantra. I'll be interested to see how it pans out.
posted by quadog at 11:23 AM on October 19, 2005


"— as its customer service went down the tubes a few years back."

Care to elaborate?
posted by mullingitover at 11:24 AM on October 19, 2005


You know, it doesn't look too bad.

But what I'm more impressed by are the profile videos. It looks like (just a guess) they're compressed using H.264. They're quite pretty. I'm all for advances in video quality.
posted by blacklite at 11:25 AM on October 19, 2005


Hey! Did somebody mention GIMP? I wasn't paying attention... my ogg player (ten billion songs in your pocket) was turned up too loud.
posted by ImJustRick at 11:26 AM on October 19, 2005


$500 for a 'roided up iPhoto? No thanks.

As for the quality of the FPP, um, yeah, it could have had a little more oomph to it. One link AppleFilter is bound to rile up the Windows malcontents.
posted by fenriq at 11:26 AM on October 19, 2005


A well respected product that already does front-end RAW workflow: RSE

Note the entry level price: $0.00.
posted by scheptech at 11:29 AM on October 19, 2005


Apple's solution to software piracy: make the minimum hardware requirements so high that anyone who can afford them is someone who won't pirate software.
posted by smackfu at 11:29 AM on October 19, 2005


Scheptech is right on the money. Rawshooter + GIMP + Irfanview = teh win, all for zero dollars.

Rawshooter, in particular, is just a fabulous program. Not only is it free, it's superior to many of the paid solutions I've seen, both in terms of interface and functionality.
posted by selfnoise at 11:33 AM on October 19, 2005


Today's press conference was to show off apple's "pro" applications, I would assume aperture is part of that "pro" lineup.
posted by SirOmega at 11:34 AM on October 19, 2005


GIMP's getting color management next version... that's the only feature it's lacked that I've ever needed.

Plus, I have daydreams of buckling down and writing all sorts of awesome perl-fu filters...
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:35 AM on October 19, 2005


BTW: I love the picture of the Loupe in the gallery. You're minding your own business, editing some photos when suddenly WHAM, the EYE OF HERA SCRUTINIZES YOU, PUNY ONE!
posted by selfnoise at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2005


Unfortunately, Rawshooter isn't available on the Mac. C1 Pro is a $500 Raw image workflow app available on the Mac, so I would say aperture is competitively priced if it can beat C1 Pro in terms of features / ease of use.

And for system requirements, they needed some reason for everyone to buy their new Dual Core G5's they just announced.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2005


From their tour/walkthrough:

"In aperture, RAW images are treated as first class citizens."

Um. Yeah.

*cough*photomechanicripoff*cough*
posted by bhance at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2005


I want to have hot monkey sex with the G5 Quad. I don't care if the Intel machines are coming next year.
posted by darukaru at 11:46 AM on October 19, 2005


This is not iPhoto on steroids, it's a direct competitor to PhaseOne's Capture One software. Much more photo management/photo editing than photo retouching. I'm personally excited - from the demos it looks like an incredibly useful tool for a pro photog's workflow. This is iPhoto on steroids the way Final Cut Pro is iMovie on steroids.

At the same time, I'm disappointed. I love Photoshop, but it's only because there's nothing better out there. I see it's shortcommings all the time, and wish it had some kind of competition.
posted by jedrek at 11:55 AM on October 19, 2005


I like how the narrator of the Aperture tour sounds like a safari tour guide. Because Aperture is for those whose life is wild, and full of adventure. Aperture.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:55 AM on October 19, 2005


Someone needs to issue Apple Cultist and OSS Wanker badges. I'm having trouble sorting out the zealots.
posted by ToasT at 11:58 AM on October 19, 2005


I don't think it's fair to call Aperture simply iPhoto on steroids. It looks like a far more full featured application. Further, I don't think this can be seen as an attack on Adobe either.

While Aperture looks to be an amazing application for organizing, editing and manipulating photos, I don't see anyone using it to develop a print advertisement or web site. If anything, Aperture complements Photoshop in some ways.

A pity about the system requirements though. I just purchased a top of the line mini (anticipating an upgrade to intel in a year or two) and won't be able to use it, or at least not use it very well. So I imagine I'll be sticking to PS for a while yet.

Interesting aside: Did anyone notice that Apple has violated its usual web dimensions with the aperture site? Not only does the application require a high end monitor, the promotional site does as well!
posted by aladfar at 11:58 AM on October 19, 2005


Interesting aside: Did anyone notice that Apple has violated its usual web dimensions with the aperture site? Not only does the application require a high end monitor, the promotional site does as well!

That's so you'll have to buy one of the new Powerbooks with the higher res screens.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:03 PM on October 19, 2005


I have to say that any app that deals with RAW images, start to finish, in a non-destructive fashion, is VERY interesting to me. That alone is big news for digital photographers, and I've been shocked that Photoshop hasn't done it.

Photoshop already deals with RAW images in a nondestructive fashion. You can only open them and save them as another format leaving the original untouched.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:29 PM on October 19, 2005


For a pro, converting to another format is a) pretty simple and b) necessary anyway.

For a pro, unecessary conversions between formats are unacceptable. Sure, you'll eventually have to output in some other format. But preserving as much data as possible as long as possible, is always a good thing.

The difference between opening RAW images directly to work with them, and going through an 'import' process ala Photoshop CS1, is not trivial when you're on a deadline and working on processing and retouching two to three hundred photos from an event.
posted by verb at 12:33 PM on October 19, 2005


As a photographer who uses Photoshop purely for film photography assistance, it would need to have
- curve adjustments, not just levels etc. very important
- a clone or better yet healing tool, which I use to remove dust and scratches. Without this, it is no use.
- different color spaces and color profiles
- a way to make it sit happily with my custom print curves and calibration results
- dodge/burn tools. I don't care too much what they are called, only that they do burn/dodge

Photoshop has a lot of faults, but it has a lot of great stuff. I haven't seen how Aperture handles the above items.
posted by polaroid at 12:34 PM on October 19, 2005


Photoshop already deals with RAW images in a nondestructive fashion. You can only open them and save them as another format leaving the original untouched.

Yeah, the problem is, it won't save them in the original camera raw. You have to convert to Adobe's "Digital Negaive" file format, or some other format like JPG. It'd be nice to just keep them native. However, I'm not sure if Aperture is going to do this or not...
posted by damnthesehumanhands at 12:36 PM on October 19, 2005


Reading the following bullet points from Apple's website:

# Non-destructive image processing
# Master image becomes locked digital negative
# Create alternate versions without using extra disk space

Seems like they'll use an identical or similar procedure to other RAW processing apps: keep the original file untouched, save modifications in some sort of metadata format.

The video card/etc requirements, BTW, are pretty ludicrous. I suppose it'll do some kind of incredibly fancy shiny stuff with the interface or something, because you really don't need that kind of power to edit pictures.
posted by selfnoise at 12:45 PM on October 19, 2005


Yeah, the problem is, it won't save them in the original camera raw.

Considering that RAW has to be converted/interpolated to RGB to display it or edit it, saving back to native RAW would require another conversion, so why would you want to? Not to mention, saving a copy of the original RAW inside of every copy of the image is going to make for some big files.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:59 PM on October 19, 2005


I can't see the promo site because I decided not to install Adobe-Macromedia Flash in my Firefox browser.
posted by edmo at 1:06 PM on October 19, 2005


Apple announces Aperture: their answer to the professional photograph editing market. I wonder what the folks at Adobe think about this?

Aperture has nothing to do with Photoshop and is incapable of most kinds of photo editing. If you're going to make crappy Appleifiter posts at least get your facts straight.
posted by cillit bang at 1:17 PM on October 19, 2005


minimum requirements are: not one of their new dual core machines like a lot people are assuming (although those are recommended).
posted by howling fantods at 1:19 PM on October 19, 2005


"Rawshooter | essentials 2005 has a very logic workflow and it's definitely the best there is in this respect"

Very logic workflow?
posted by Kiell at 1:38 PM on October 19, 2005


The system req's aren't any different, really, from those for the latest 3D games.

And can y'all let it go regarding Rawshooter? Don't care how great it is- it runs on Windows.
posted by mkultra at 1:56 PM on October 19, 2005


But you don't need a computer capable of playing the latest 3D games to manipulate RAW files. And most of the latest and greatest 3D games don't come out for Mac. And if you had a computer that could run all of the latest 3D games, you could run Rawshooter, since it would be a Windows machine.

I'm dizzy. Suck it, haters!
posted by selfnoise at 2:13 PM on October 19, 2005


Photoshop is perhaps the most universal graphics application. If you are a designer or photographer, you know photoshop or you aren't working. There's InDesign vs Quark, and (in the past) Freehand vs Illustrator. But Photoshop is the gold standard.

Is Apple worried Adobe will pull the rug out from under them, as they did with their video products? I don't get it. I could see Aperture taking off if it were cheap, but it isn't. Photoshop and Apple go together sooooo well. I wish Apple had worked harder on some other effort -- like making Keynote better.

I for one am not sure I welcome our new.....
posted by cccorlew at 2:19 PM on October 19, 2005


Some of the niftier features:
posted by Laen at 2:32 PM on October 19, 2005


Considering that RAW has to be converted/interpolated to RGB to display it or edit it

RAW is a file format, RGB is a color space, two different things. Point is for distribution outside the editing platform files need to match whatever environment they'll be used in. They need to be converted at some point in the workflow from the cameras particular RAW form into something other systems can use. For web use files have to be converted to jpg/gif in RGB color and typically for standard 4-color printing to tiff format and CMY color.

There's a lot of different ways to design a perfectly good workflow depending on a number of factors such as what equipment is being used, time contraints, where the files are ultimately going, who's handling them in the meantime, and what sort of data redundancy / backup scheme fits requirements, and individual working preference. There's a whole range of technical issues as well, white balance problems can be fixed early right at the RAW level, whereas sharpening is often reserved for the very end as it's best done at the final size, resolution, and format to be used.

Worth noting btw: a RAW file is not a RAW file like a JPG is a JPG. Each camera has it's own form, note each raw converter will have an associated list of supported cameras. And, there are differences between converters, they don't all result in exactly the same output and there is some dispute as to which is best although they're pretty close so it probably comes down mostly to equipment and taste differences between users.
posted by scheptech at 2:37 PM on October 19, 2005


It seems pretty obvious this means Apple will be moving into cameras.
posted by filchyboy at 2:43 PM on October 19, 2005


Apple is the new Microsoft, all friendly and cuddly and on the move. You just wait though, mark my words.

One day, Apple will merge with Google and seize control.
posted by troutfishing at 3:08 PM on October 19, 2005


I, for one, welcome our new Goople overlords.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:33 PM on October 19, 2005


filchyboy: Good luck, I'll never part with my Adobe (tm) brand camera. oh wai
posted by keswick at 3:33 PM on October 19, 2005


Unless you're changing image-wide parameters like contrast, saturation, color curves, etc., you're going to need to convert that RAW file into an editable format.

Anyway, as YAIV (Yet Another Image Viewer) it's decent. But to suggest, even in the slightest passing manner, even to squeek a tiny fart of supposition that this is anywhere near the same league as Photoshop... I would kindly suggest you stop smokin' rock, 'cause it's makin' you stupid.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:35 PM on October 19, 2005


It seems pretty obvious this means Apple will be moving into cameras.

...like the QuickTake?
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:42 PM on October 19, 2005


A lot of folks seem to not understand what this is for.

This is not a replacement for, let alone killer of, Photoshop.

This is a photo management app for a pro. That means you take your $5,000-$30,000 digital camera on assignment many times a month, and shoot thousands and thousands of pictures. That means for product shoot X, you may shoot 300 nearly identical RAW files at 10 MB each, for 10 product variations, and at the end of the day you have to sort through and tweak them all.

That seems to be the main thing Aperture is for -- it has direct links to Photoshop in the program -- you don't make it easy for the user to use the competition. Ergo, Photoshop and Aperture aren't envisioned as competition by Apple.

That said: it sounds like it might me really cool, but alas my less than one year old iMac G5 can't run the damn program.
posted by teece at 3:45 PM on October 19, 2005


I, for one, welcome our new Goople overlords.

Aggle, you mean.
posted by ImJustRick at 4:05 PM on October 19, 2005


That means for product shoot X, you may shoot 300 nearly identical RAW files at 10 MB each, for 10 product variations, and at the end of the day you have to sort through and tweak them all.

Bingo.

That explains the killer hardware required. The thing digipros miss most about film was proofing speed. You could slap a contact sheet down, or a strip of chromes on a light table, grab a magnifier, and work through 500 frames in minutes.

On a computer, it is hours -- esp when you're trying to compare between six and seven similar, but not identical, frames, trying to pick the one that's just so. I'll bet the reason for the big CPU, memory and video is for slinging around, sorting, and zooming on a huge stack of images as fast as you possibly can.

(Aside: If you don't think this happens very often, you haven't work with professional photo editors or photographers.)

I think teece nailed it -- Aperture isn't the darkroom replacement that Photoshop is. Aperture is the light table replacement. Once you find the best frame, you send it to the darkroom for printing, I mean, Photoshop for pre-press, and all that hardware is meant to get as many zoomable thumbnails onto the screen as you can, be able to scroll through and zoom in rapidly, and let you sort though a few 4GB CF cards as fast as you possibly can -- because every hour your are in front of the computer sorting is an hour you can't be shooting.
posted by eriko at 4:15 PM on October 19, 2005


Oh, yeah, put me down in the drooling masses for the dual core dual proc G5. Yeah, I don't need anywhere near that sort of CPU power. Why they choke it with a SATA drive, I don't know, but there's PCI-E SCSI cards out there.
posted by eriko at 4:17 PM on October 19, 2005


If it's as slow as iPhoto, I'll just shoot myself now.

It looks pretty, that's for sure, but if that gets in the way of the photo processing, I'd probably rip the hair out of my head... and then shoot myself.
posted by eperker at 4:37 PM on October 19, 2005


I spent most of my day over at Photo Plus Expo setting up for the convention, and almost everyone's attention was on apple/aperture (not to mention the slew of dual proc, dual core G5's with dual 30" monitors they had to play with). Aperture is *very* fast in person on these new machines, so it may end up being a major productivity boost for pro photogs.

If anyone else is attending PPE, stop by the PhotoShelter booth and say hi. :-) The convention starts tomorrow.
posted by jba at 4:47 PM on October 19, 2005


What is that voice-over guy's accent? And why does it keep coming and going? (Too distracted by it to notice what the product is about...)
posted by sageleaf at 5:22 PM on October 19, 2005


To you Quad G5 fans -- you'd really spend $3500 on a computer which its own maker will consider "old news" a mere year from now?!?

Wow. I'm glad I stopped drinking the kool-aid a few years ago...
posted by clevershark at 5:46 PM on October 19, 2005


If it's as slow as iPhoto, I'll just shoot myself now.

This is why the system requirements are ludicrous - if people install this on current machines and get anything less than stellar performance, its usefulness as a virtual light table is significantly diminished.

Also, 5 fucking gigabytes to install? What the FUCK?
posted by odinsdream at 5:53 PM on October 19, 2005


i agree with you clevershark. It's nice hardware, but i am pretty surprised they are doing anything on the PPC hardware side of the house. According to a friend, some of the mac rumors sites have been saying MacOSX-x86 available in 4-6 weeks - MacOSX-PPC is a quickly dying architecture. Haven't found those rumours duplicated anywhere, FWIW.
posted by jba at 5:56 PM on October 19, 2005


It's nice hardware, but i am pretty surprised they are doing anything on the PPC hardware side of the house.

Maybe Steve realized just how dumb his move to Intel looks -- when Intel is busy backing off the idea that Clock is Everything.

The Pentium 4 was supposed to take Intel to 10Ghz, and basically win the game. The Pentium 4 is now on the way to the dustbin -- too much power, can't be clocked up, and clocking up does exactly what IBM has been saying for ten years -- it increased the number of noops you run, waiting for memory.

So, now Intel's busy trying to make dual core play, while they try to ramp the Pentium 3, I mean, Pentium M up to clock speeds that are at least on par with the P4, but, mind you, not draw the power that the P4 is doing, and they're find that a real problem as well. Meanwhile, the Almighty Xeon is looking even longer in the tooth, never mind the AMD Opteron whipping them six ways to Sunday, and when it comes to 64 bits, the Itanium truly was the Itanic, and wedging EMT64 into the Pentium 3, I mean, M and P4 is proving to be not exactly easy, and it's ramping the power costs badly.

Meanwhile, IBM has the most powerful single die CPU unit, period (the Power5), and has years of experience with dual-core technology. Never mind the Cell processor, which truly looks like where the next big leap will be.

So, Jobs wants to move Apple to Intel, because they're promising faster speeds and less power draw? With what chip?

Steve was pissed because he couldn't get a G5 to play in a laptop. While a Pentium 3, I mean, M, is a win over the G4, it isn't much of one, and while I am frankly amazed at what Intel Israel has managed to do with the Pentium 3 design, they're running into the same walls the P4 has run into. IBM has been working on not increasing clock rates, but increasing memory bandwidth -- and they're showing that, clock for clock, or watt for watt, they're on the right track, and Intel isn't -- esp. when you throw power considerations away, and watch AMD trounce them as well.

I suspect these dual-core G5s are really the first step back from the Great Intel Shift, as Apple realizes that they're supposed to abandon the sinking ship, not the lifeboat.

Me? I want OS X on a Cell in a notebook.

Oh, and one of those double-double Macs. Okay, it's geek lust, but I know what 2xPower4 cost, and at $3999, this one's a bargain.
posted by eriko at 6:27 PM on October 19, 2005


"Quickly dying" my hairy ass, jba. There are a bajillion PowerPC Macs out there and they'll be out there for a helluva long time. Very few software vendors are going to be so foolish as to eliminate the vast majority of their market by selling x86 binaries only.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:34 PM on October 19, 2005


Hmm. Looking up the specs on the PowerPC 970MP, I find the new PowerPC 970FX. The 1.6GHz version runs at 16 watts.

Hmm. I'd love to see a PowerBook based on that.
posted by eriko at 6:35 PM on October 19, 2005


"incredibly useful"
"amazing"

genuine mefite opinions based on a flash commercial.

may I also recommend the iBody By Jake Ab And Back Plus?
posted by mr.marx at 7:16 PM on October 19, 2005


I want OS X on a Cell in a notebook

Why? The Cell is incapable of running desktop apps efficiently.

I suspect these dual-core G5s are really the first step back from the Great Intel Shift, as Apple realizes that they're supposed to abandon the sinking ship, not the lifeboat.

The 970MP was completed before Apple made the decision to switch. The Great Intel Shift roadmap has them selling PowerPC hardware until well into 2007. Put those two facts together and the new Power Macs make perfect sense.
posted by cillit bang at 8:44 PM on October 19, 2005


five fresh fish : i dunno man - the same promises were made during the 68k to ppc upgrades in ~94, and my old quadra was obsolete inside 18 months. Not just obsolete as in slow, but obsolete as in "won't run a lot of modern software". This time could be better, as cross platform development should be straight forward, but on the flipside, the supposed huge improvements in interactive response on intel and the interests in the mac platform from traditional wintel developers could have an accelerative effect on the platform looking old.

Of course, I hope i'm wrong.
posted by jba at 9:17 PM on October 19, 2005


Looks pretty slick to me. For those of you who don't understand why this is interesting, the program's not meant for doing Fark photoshop contests. It costs a lot and requires a lot of power because it's meant for people who make money.
posted by fungible at 10:15 PM on October 19, 2005


Sorry to say, but in a market where both Sony and Microsoft are going to be cranking PowerPC-equipped game consoles out the door at a rate that would make Steve Jobs drool, Apple had just no leverage left with IBM when it came to getting CPUs. That's the reason they're abandoning the platform.

I think it was incredibly stupid of them to go to the one chip maker that *didn't* have a viable 64-bit platform shipping in any great numbers by the time the announcement came, but then Apple works in mysterious ways. Of course they're going to have one by 2007, but it's not going to have the track record of AMD64 or, frankly, even of PowerPC.
posted by clevershark at 10:18 PM on October 19, 2005


Nah, prices have to stay fair if PC users are going to switch. I got sick of pirate warez when I 'grew up' (in terms of understanding value-for-effort) and started purchasing the stuff I actually make real use of. Shareware on the Mac seems to be a whole new level of quality. Hell, it makes some retail PC software look shoddy.

When I'm doing dirt-common tasks like email, web, photo sharing, photo retouching, grabbing music, chatting on MSN/AIM/ICQ/IRC/MetaFilter/whatevertheheck, yadda, yadda -- I mean, it's should be like making friggin toast: easy, properly-featured, easy-to-use, sensibly-defaulted, extensible toast.

Windows ain't there. The more of us who realize this, the more people will switch. Apple is committed to XCode, as it will ultimately free them from CPU dependency. They will be able to finally place themselves in the position to provide a quality OS for every appliance out there -- next-gen cell phones, resurrected Newton PDAs, iPod media players, television entertainment equipment, laptops, tablets, desktops, servers, you name it. You'll write code once, limiting your software features appropriately for the CPU/device, and it will run everywhere.

I think Apple is winding up to put an end to Windows. Microsoft had its chance, and it blew it.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:22 PM on October 19, 2005


(The neat thing being that I'm able to pay little guys directly for their product these day. Dude who makes TextMate can't possibly have more than himself on staff, but he's making a nice little income based on the quality of his product!)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 PM on October 19, 2005


Off-topic aside to fff: Gruber has an interesting piece on the economics of being an indie Mac developer, though TextMate may require less customer support than a more consumer-oriented product would.
posted by timeistight at 1:40 AM on October 20, 2005


Why? The Cell is incapable of running desktop apps efficiently.

Define efficient. I'll bet it'll run Word, Firefox/Safari and your email client of choice just fine, on very low power. Will it be as fast as a G5 or a P4? No. Will it be running suboptimal code for the processor? Sure. Will the power and thermal considerations make for a lighter notebook with longer battery life? Yes.

(And half the code execution problems can be solved with a proper compiler. God, I'd love to see FreeBSD or OSX complied with IBM's truly godlike compiler, rather than GCC. Hell, Intel's compiler is pretty amazing as well. GCC is what it is, and it's a pretty clever feat, but it is trying to support many architectures and many languages, and they only get to look at some of the CPU docs. Obviously, IBM and Intel know just a bit more about their CPUs. Wow, another digression. You'd think I do this often.)

But, you know, there's a reason we have the Honda Civic and the Ford F-150. Different vehicles, optimized to different roles, coming out very different, with very different engines.

Combine them, and you get something like the 17" and 19" "notebooks" out there -- too huge and power hungry to use as a portable, too slow, small and hot to be good desktop replacements. Matter of fact, combining a civic and an F-150, and you get something like a lame SUV.
posted by eriko at 5:33 AM on October 20, 2005


Apple had just no leverage left with IBM when it came to getting CPUs.

I think that's a valuable point, though realize that they could have supported Freescale (they were getting deked by Motorola, who just didn't care, but Freescale does care about the PowerPC.) For notebooks, the best processor out there, right now, is the Freescale e600. It isn'tt the fastest processor in the world, but it is more than fast enough for lower power computing, the energy budget is great, and really, if they fix just one more thing (Front side bus, finally over 167MHz, but if they could get it to 400MHz...) it would, watt for mips and watt for flops, blow the Pentium 3 (IM) M out of the water.

There's two other factors.

1) IBM needs a similar, but different, processor for its core business. The PPC970 was just a derivative of the Power4, and I can see IBM making and wanting to use a derivative of the Power5. The big item for them is blades -- somewhere where the power needs of the Power4 and Power5 do hurt. I noted the new PPC970FX chips, and while a marketing based PC would be loath to put such in a notebook (never mind what the Pentium 3, I mean, M clocks are now...) but as blade CPUS, a 1GHz to 1.6GHz PPC970 is ideal for IBM. I still wouldn't mind having a 1GHz PPC970 PowerBook -- so long as they used fast memory. However, feeding a 1GHz processor is much easier than feeding a 3GHz one.

2) IBM has to maintain facilities to build such, once again, for thier own use (never mind that selling fab time is making them money as well -- guys like nvidia don't have fabs, and they need top of the line fabs to make their specialized hunks of silicon.)

3) While Apple's business isn't like Dell's to Intel, it's still a goodly amount of silicon.

Given that the PowerPC is a derivative processor, it's pretty easy for IBM to keep making them. "Okay, refresh time, and let's start looking at moving the Power5 core to the PPC platform."

Furthermore, look at the converse. Posit: Apple has little to no leverage with IBM. Converse: They do with Intel?

Intel isn't going to do *anything* for Apple. Hell, all they do for Dell is give them good bulk deals. Apple was able to get IBM to add an entire unit (the Motorloa designed Altivec Vector unit) to a processor. Intel isn't going to do Apple very many favors. Indeed, if flexibility was the issue, they'd been better off working with AMD. The problem is that many of the problems Intel has, AMD has as well, with the exception of the 64-bit line -- and if you're looking for lower power costs, AMD just doesn't play in that realm.

I would even buy the switch on costs grounds -- except that the G5 is cheaper than the P4, clock for clock, and the G4 is damn near free compared to both.

That's one of my biggest problems with the switch. I look at Apple's stated reasons, and they just aren't true.

There's one real obvious reason to go with Intel. Right now, Intel is still the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to system design. If Intel uses PCI-E, the world migrates. If Intel uses DRM....

(Translation: Apple will have to use DRM, or the iPod/iTunes setup will get killed by the media companies, and the only way to get DRM that will work with anyone else is to make sure Intel is on board. But Intel is big enough in the PC world that they aren't on board, they're an officer of the ship. So, really, Apple has to ask to board, and one of the costs will be Intel CPUs.)
posted by eriko at 5:52 AM on October 20, 2005


Define efficient. I'll bet it'll run Word, Firefox/Safari and your email client of choice just fine, on very low power.

So does my 300MHz iBook, and I don't see you drooling over that. The PPE in the Cell has long pipelines and very poor branch prediction. Even at 3.6GHz, it's doubtful it would be able to keep up with the average G4 or G5. And no, the compiler fairies cannot solve this problem.

Will the power and thermal considerations make for a lighter notebook with longer battery life? Yes.

Ha ha ha. The Cell has a shitload of transistors and a very high clock speed, both of which power consumption is directly proportional to without serious countermeasures, which the Cell does not have.

except that the G5 is cheaper than the P4, clock for clock, and the G4 is damn near free compared to both.

There is zero publicly available documentation concerning this. Please stop making shit up.
posted by cillit bang at 6:25 AM on October 20, 2005


clevershark writes "To you Quad G5 fans -- you'd really spend $3500 on a computer which its own maker will consider 'old news' a mere year from now?!?"

Would it allow me to get a lot of paying work done in that 12 month period? Yes. Then no problem, spend away. Heck I'd bet I could scratch out another 12-24 months of use out of the machine after the intel Macs come out if I assigned it to an intern or something.
posted by Mitheral at 6:51 AM on October 20, 2005


It costs a lot and requires a lot of power because it's meant for people who make money.

Pure horseshit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:26 AM on October 20, 2005


Ding!
posted by selfnoise at 9:13 AM on October 20, 2005


At the PhotoPlus Expo today, I got a one-on-one demo from the product manager. I'll be devoting the next episode of my Photoshop podcast show (Attention Photoshoppers!) to discussing what I learned, but suffice it to say that while it's a very interesting application, there are more than a few significant omissions from the product as it stands today. As far as speed of manipulating RAW files, it's definitely a great performer (of course, I saw it running on a quad core Mac with a boatload of RAM, a machine on which Photoshop also screams), and it's a great way to sort and manage large numbers of RAW files (or any other significant image format, for that matter, including Photoshop files). The Light Box is awesome, and is a great way to look at and play with images. That's the good news. The bad news is that I found the color correction tools to be less than thrilling, and I'll sum it up like this: no Curves control, no densitometer (Info palette), no channel-by-channel capabilities, no masking, no layers, no CMYK output. Yes, the approach of keeping operations separate from the source data files makes tons of sense (as it does in Adobe After Effects), and is a big part of the reason for the speedy performance. I hope this puts some fire under Adobe to consider moving Photoshop towards a similar technology. For professional photographers looking to manage large numbers of Raw files, Aperture will be a useful tool, but for everyone else, the $499 price tag is a bit prohibitive, in my opinion.
posted by dbiedny at 6:27 PM on October 20, 2005


What is Apple thinking by launching this? Who is going to abandon Photoshop? There must be another motivation; positioning/marketing of something? What do you think?

PS: Do you need to be Australian to use Aperture? Also, I like the sound effects that accompany the adjustment of controls--sounds right out of STNG
posted by ParisParamus at 7:12 PM on October 20, 2005


I'm holding out for Orifice, the batch porn-processing plug-in.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:13 PM on October 22, 2005


That's iOrifice for the Mac, and My Orifice for Windows.
posted by nlindstrom at 5:53 PM on October 24, 2005


And that's where Windows belongs, in someone's orifice...
posted by humannature at 10:14 PM on October 27, 2005


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