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AlBlue’s Blog

Macs, Modularity and More


2005 Mac

Well, it seems that Apple isn't lying down in the transition to the new Intel Macs. First they launch the Video iPod (as well as iTunes and QuickTime updates), but they've gone and launched another couple of moneymakers. Sorry, product lines.

The new Aperture software is a Pro version of iPhoto, that is designed to work with (and maintain) RAW file formats directly. It isn't a Photoshop killer (yet), because it's not designed as an all-in-one graphics tool; rather, it's a way for Pro photographers to organise the much larger number of photographs (including many similar shots taken to get the best one) as well as minor photo-related touch-ups. Some of these features may make it into a future version of iPhoto (probably when 10.5 is released along with Apeture 2.0), but in essence it aims to be great at what it does. For the non-techies, it performs a slightly different job than Photoshop; Apeture stores all photos as RAW source, whereas Photoshop converts from RAW to TIFF upon import. I'm not sure whether that's a significant difference or not, but it does appear to be a fairly large one. The other is a downer about Apeture; it doesn't support Photoshop layers. (Layers allow several images to be composited on top of one another, whilst still supporting the ability to peel them off again afterwards.) Without this feature, Apeture isn't going to be a Photoshop killer at all; but it does give a new feature possibility for Apeture 2.0. So although Apeture can export PSD (Photoshop documents that have built-in layer support, as other apps like Corel Draw can also generate), it only generates 'flattened' (i.e. single layer) documents.

But the real announcement is that Apple are building a Quad core G5. This uses dual-core, dual-chip processors which is likely to be the fastest such machine on the market. This will give everything (except perhaps a dual-Pentium 4 with HyperThreading) a run for its money, and is definitely allowing the G5 to go out with a bang. (Possibly from the fuse box blowing through a surge in electricity? :-) It'll be interesting to see how they pan out in general use, because a dual-core processor can share memory cache (making some types of operation faster) but only has a single bus to the memory. Interestingly, the low-level PowerMacs now come with a dual-core single processor instead of the older single-core dual processors of old. It will almost certainly make the single processor models cooler to run, but the dual-core-dual-G5 is almost worth it for its sheer processing power, and is likely to be a good runner up until the second generation of Intel Macs come out towards the beginning of 2007.

Now, where did I put my chequebook?