Jan 7, 2011 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Jobs, Steve Jobs, News, Predictions, Products, Review, Rumors

Apple's launch of the Mac OS X App Store appears to be an instant success. Apple was on center stage Thursday with their iWork apps ready for download, but one application made available today from Apple caught everyone off guard —Aperture.

The arrival of Aperture on the App Store isn't a just a shot across Adobe's bow, that doesn't do Apple's move justice. What Apple did to Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom software is equivalent to hundreds of cannon rounds being fired upon a ship at point blank range. T-GAAP asked Adobe PR if any Adobe apps were heading to Apple's App Store, but we did not receive a response. But it gets worse for Adobe.

Apple gave Aperture a massive price cut, and it can be downloaded for only $79. Until today, a boxed copy of Aperture retailed for $199 (as of now it is still available as a physical purchase). Adobe's Lightroom currently retails for $199 as a physically purchased product. Which software is going to dominate? An easy-to-find, $79 direct download or a physical copy of software for $199... Boxed software sounds silly already.

Tensions were already at a boiling point between Adobe and Apple regarding Flash, and the App Store is likely to raise tensions even higher. Adobe's registration codes and strict licensing of product are not likely to be easily tossed aside in favor of whatever Apple deems their App Store policies shall be. And Adobe's roadmap isn't likely to include shoehorning unwieldy large creative applications into a new purchasing method, while changing pricing models in order to meet Apple's non-upgradable software path. 

Thanks to Apple's App Store, the only out of box experience Lightroom is going to enjoy is the one where it's almost made it down that long dark tunnel to join the light on the other side. Other Adobe titles are not likely to be safe from Apple's assault either. What's to stop Apple from launching Final Cut Express, Logic Express, or taking the entire Final Cut Pro suite and delivering it through the App Store? If Apple makes these moves, count on Premiere being ushered off OS X once again.

For a brief while, Adobe's major titles are safe being delivered as traditional boxed copies of software. But if the MacBook Air is the future of all Mac laptops, and the App Store becomes the only needed and logical way to purchase software, Apple will move to eliminate physical software installs, leaving Adobe to make some very uncomfortable decisions. Does anyone honestly believe Adobe wants to give Steve Jobs the right to bless or deny their software for use on OS X?

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  1. bmovie ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    Can't believe how much we've been forced to pay for Creative Suite upgrades so that we can delete Fireworks. What benefits of Fireworks should be incorporated into the other apps. The shortcuts throughout are not consistent nor is the interface the same. There are bugs that have never been fixed and InDesign and Illustrator is not backwards compatible. Flash changes too quickly to catch up with, and ActionScript is a drag. #
  2. HD Boy ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 9:38 am

    Adobe's problems will become apparent if and when Apple drops the DVD drive from the MacBook Pro. Sound implausible? I don't think so. #
  3. jack ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    Goodbye Adobe, and don't let the door hit your a$$ on the way out! Predatory monopolistic, software company Adobe gets what has been coming to them. One of the most despised companies in my tech world next to Microsoft. #
  4. T ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 10:19 am

    Don't underestimate the inclusion of Pixelmator on the Mac App Store. Goodbye Photoshop Elements. There's simply no need to continue paying Adobe for Microsoft-quality software. #
  5. Tommy Boy ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 10:29 am

    @ bmovie: I still have all the Creative Suites going back to CS2 on my machine. Why? Well, I use Dreamweaver CS5 and Photoshop CS5, even though I couldn't tell you one thing that changed in a function I use going back to CS2 except the ImageReady functions for which I still use Image Ready CS2 because I don't get Fireworks and don't like Photoshop's implementation. I still use InDesign CS4 because there are simply major bugs in CS5 (Text Box and Packaging) that render it unusable. I still use Illustrator CS3 despite its frequent crashing with Suitcase because Illustrator CS4 and CS5 like to destroy file data (PDF layers, PDF text) and I hate the new page layout implementation. For the money Creative Suite costs and its importance to my business you'd think Adobe could at least deliver a STABLE product. #
  6. SD ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 11:00 am

    This is an interesting comparison, but it's only one piece of the software usability puzzle. Apple does like to test the waters cautiously, so let's hope that the lower priced Aperture really catches on. Only then will they consider lowering the price of other vital creative applications (Final Cut Pro, Logic) and offering them as App Store downloads. This will mark the real start of the paradigm shift. By the way, Adobe does have an online store with a developer model similar to iTunes App Store / App Store. It's called Adobe Marketplace, and it's split into three baby stores targeting specific technologies. http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/marketplace/ Ever heard of it? Possibly not. Ever tried to download something free from it? An ugly experience filled with many steps and rife with errors. Like much of the Adobe install OOBE (Out Of Box Experience), it is far more inchoate than the App Store. #
  7. Tony Stocco ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    Agreed - I downlaoded Pixelmator yesterday because it easily replaced 99% of the tasks I needed Photoshop for... And you can use TextWrangler (free), Coda $99 or Taco $25 to completely wipe out the need for Dreamweaver. Web development is moving away from Adobe... (unless your a fool who still develops sites in Flash) #
  8. JoeP ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

    This will hit Lightroom on the Mac, but it has no huge relevance for Lightroom overall. Lightroom has been kicking Aperture's a** on the Mac, and a lot of the serious photogs have already made their choice. Of course, it will have no impact on Windows. The main effect will be to broaden the market for high-end photo management on Mac. Lightroom's not ging anywhere. PS- I'm an Aperture user since the beginning. #
  9. EZ ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

    "Which software is going to dominate? An easy-to-find, $79 direct download or a physical copy of software for $199..." If the $79 version prohibits commercial use, as I believe is the case, then you're comparing apples to oranges here. #
  10. Neil ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

    This breathless and specious article is a disappointment. As JoeP just pointed out, this price cut is almost completely meaningless. Lightroom is the better choice for many reasons, and price is not one of them. Pro photographers are not Best Buy customers who buy the shiniest toy for the lowest price, they do crazy things like run software trials for weeks before dropping the cash. Everyone who is anyone has already done just that, and the vast majority went with Lightroom or Camera Raw. For this reason alone the effect on Adobe will be negligible. Now that's not to say that Lr4 vs. Ap4 will not be interesting... #
  11. nw3228 ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

    Maybe this a prelude to a new version of Aperture being released along with iWork 2011 in the next month or two. #
  12. Michael ~ Jan. 7, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

    @EZ: According to Apple's license agreement you can use App Store applications for commercial purposes. (I mean, come on, many of the apps are specifically for business use.) The agreement says that you can either (1) use the software commercially on as many computers/devices as you want, if you are the ONLY user on all those computers/devices, or (2) use the software commercially on a SINGLE computer/device with any number of people using it by turns. It's pretty fair. #
  13. bbock ~ Jan. 8, 2011 @ 3:01 am

    Apple needs to work on iPhoto Pro. They could buy Pixelmator and add a lot of features. Develop or buy a vector based program. Then develop an HTML5 animation application and put Adobe out of our misery. #
  14. Snafu ~ Jan. 8, 2011 @ 3:24 am

    Even if Adobe's apps were superjoyous experiences in software, Apple can always practice near or real dumping, software-wise, so what can any competitor do then? What Adobe won't do is concede, go through the App Store and give Apple that 30%. They have their own online sales and support infrastructure already in place and working. Actually, what this move signals right now, public perception-wise, is that Aperture becomes sort of iOS-lightweight not quite up to heavy-duty pro level. That will change, but… #
  15. billy bob ~ Jan. 9, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

    First off - Lightroom retails for $300 not $200. Second - Lightroom can in fact be downloaded from Adobe's Site. Third - the Macbook Air is and always will be a niché product. Pros needing heavy-lifting capabilities of the MBP and the Desktop Towers won't abandon them for MBAs anytime soon. Don't fool yourself. None of this is going to seriously undermine Adobe folks. It's a bad comparison. Now if Apple dumps the Final Cut Pro Suite on the App Store and drops the price radically - that's another issue. All this does is make Adobe consider cutting their price point on Lightroom some. And as folks already mentioned Lightroom is also the primary Application of its kind on anything Windows-based. So they nothing to worry about. And NO - Adobe is not gonna drop Development Support for Apple Systems simply because of this App Store endeavor on Apple's part. Also - something not mentioned - is that anyone and everyone adding any product to Apple's Eco-system is most likely having to pay the godfather for access (Apple is getting a piece of the pie for all sales) - which is significant revenue that Adobe would give up by adding titles to Apple's new scheme. And Im sorry but the iPhone experience of all of this blows chunks on a good day and I for one am not liking this for a desktop experience. This thing will get just as bloated with crap development as the iPhone Store has. The main benefit I see is that it helps new Mac inductees into finding Software that works on the Mac. And final thing - those screaming Coda and Pixelmator above - these Apps do in fact have their limitations and are not the end all of their respective product categories. I too have used Coda/Pixelmator and PS/ DW and still find myself missing many abilities and functions not available in the former when Im using them. This is all great for the general population mass consumer that wants to be spoon fed and not have to think for themselves. Can't wait for all the crappy advertising to start filling up the desktop Apps - awesome. #
  16. Aimee ~ May. 21, 2011 @ 11:42 am

    You got great points there, that's why I always love checking out your blog. #

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