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I can affirm that PDF Expert is an excellent tool. I use Acrobat Pro at work, but for home use PDF Expert is what I use. It is actually superior to Acrobat Pro in several ways and works great on my iPad Pro 10.5” 2018. I have a personal Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC subscription, which does not include Acrobat, so PDF Expert is a much cheaper alternative to upping my subscription.
It’s still Android. Last year I began managing an app for our company and I had to buy Android test devices and learn the OS. I’ve always been an Apple person and honestly I assumed that Android was probably about as good as iOS, but boy was I wrong. The UX of Android is horrible, and it is different on each device made by different manufacturers. The much-heralded better “customization” of Android is really just a cover for a lack of basic features. And talk about a nightmare for development. I’ll give you a good example: video.
On iOS, all I have to do is make sure our video works on the latest and last version of iOS and I’m good to go. That is because iOS has a built-in video player that can be used natively by all apps. Seamless. Not so on Android. There is no video player native to the operating system. Therefore each manufacturer, in conjunction with your carrier, bundles a different video player with each device. Usually this is some cheap video player that has problems with all manner of video encoding. We have four testing devices and when we first tested video in our app, it played fine on one device, audio didn’t play on another, video played on another but no audio, and on the last the video didn’t work at all. No, not a joke, really. We then downloaded another third-party video player (VLC, considered to be best in class) onto each device and, yes, video worked on all at that point.
This is the much ballyhooed “customization,” you get to/have to download different third party apps to do basic functions like play video. What a nightmare for developers! This causes so many problems you wouldn’t believe it. Even if you have a good player downloaded, when the video plays it jumps out to the different app to play, and then back to your app if everything works properly, which of course it frequently doesn’t. Our app has 4.8 stars on iOS, but just 3.8 on Android mostly because of the video playback issues. I’d say 90% of our help desk tickets on the app are for Android, and probably 50% of those are for video playback problems, of which most are entirely related to the cheap player that they have installed or some unknown bug that is preventing the video player from performing correctly. I could go on but you get the idea.
The new Smart Keyboard gives the new iPad much more stability and stiffness when in “laptop” mode. It is much easier to use when actually on my lap and generally it has a much more premium feel than the old Smart Keyboard. The old one always felt like it was about to fall off, and frequently did if picked up wrong. It also wore fairly quickly. I recently sold my 10.5” on eBay, but the cover was looking pretty worn for wear after a little over a year of heavy use. I’m pretty certain that will not be the case with the new Smart Keyboard, but I guess I’ll find out next year for sure.
That said my new 11” iPad Pro with keyboard does feel SIGNIFICANTLY heavier than my old 10.5” 2017 model. Thus I find myself frequently taking the iPad off of the cover when I don’t think I’m going to need the keyboard. That is not something I felt like I needed to do with my old 10.5” Pro. It is very easy to take the iPad out of the cover and replace it, so this has not been an issue really. Overall I’d say I am very pleased with Smart Keyboard / iPad Pro 11” combo, but it would be nice if they could figure out a way to reduce the weight while keeping the same premium “laptop-like” feel.
As others have mentioned, Aperture didn’t lose its battle with Lightroom, it simply abandoned the field and surrendered. This was a very callous move by Apple because for professionals who have committed to a program like this it is no trivial task to move your libraries to another system, plus you lose the ability to re-edit. I tried Lightroom, but absolutely despised it on almost every level. Once you have had a taste of freedom, you will never be content living in a cage.
I’ll give you just one example of something that made Aperture better for pro users: Cropping on output. I used to make hundreds of prints for my customers on my Epson 3800. In Aperture I would select the photos and size for the prints, say 4x6, then Aperture would show me a preview of everything of all the prints and in that preview I could resize and crop each photo individually. This allowed me to get just the right crop of each photo for my clients. So after Apple forced me to try Lightroom, and much to my frustration I could not find any way to do that same simple crop on output. I was incredulous that such a useful and seemingly simple feature could be missing from Lightroom, and asked Matt Koslowski at Adobe Max during one of his Lightroom sessions if I had just missed how this worked. It couldn’t do it, he said. You have to crop the photo before printing. I was a little incredulous, because I didn’t want to crop my master file to 4x6. In that case, he said, I had two options: create a duplicate and crop that, or go back after you print and un-crop the master. When you are dealing with hundreds of prints, either of these options was mind-blowingly burdensome. Take that one use-case and multiply it by 100 and that was my experience trying to switch to Lightroom. So I gave up on it. (Here is a link on how one can “easily” crop on output in Lightroom: https://digital-photography-school.com/batch-crop-and-resize-in-lightroom/ It is nuts compared to how simple this was in Aperture.)
I now use a hodgepodge of methods to organize and edit my photos. I know I could stay with Aperture, but I didn’t want to keep adding thousands of photos to a program that had been EOL’d. Plus, my needs have evolved over the years. I want the ability to cloud-sync and edit my photos on my iPad Pro. Adobe’s latest evolution of Lightroom actually looks much better than the old one, particularly in it’s mobile version, and I may revisit it. Right now I like using a combination of Photos and Luminar for my everyday personal photos, and Adobe Bridge and Photoshop for my professional editing. Luminar is very reminiscent of Aperture in a lot of respects and since Photos now allows round-tripping to outside editors like Photoshop that solution works pretty well. However, Luminar doesn’t have a mobile app so Lightroom CC still has a leg-up on it. But frustratingly there is no one, simple solution that comes close to the power and ease-of-use that Aperture had.
Great article. Having run an imaging and design studio for a major ad agency during the mid-90s, I’ll add that another factor in Apple’s near collapse was its inability to deliver on building a major update to its OS. The biggest issue with the legacy Mac operating system was its lack of dynamic memory management. Raise your hand if you remember having to get info on an app and manually adjust its memory allocation. As a pro it was certainly frustrating to have to be constantly adjusting memory allocation on Photoshop and Quark, and closing one app to free up enough memory to run another. Apps would just crash and sometimes corrupt files because they ran out of memory. But as pros, most (some?) of us at least understood the problem and how to deal with it, but consumers were completely at a loss. I don’t know how many friends and family I had phone calls with trying to explain to them how to manage the memory on their Macs. Worse yet they would run off and take their Mac to get “repaired” because their apps were constantly crashing. What they needed to do was increase the memory allocation for the apps, but the shops would instead sell them more RAM which not only cost them hundreds of dollars, but it wouldn’t solve the problem. The problem was so bad that I stopped recommending Macs to non-professionals in my circle.
Apple had promised year after year to come out with a modern OS that could manage memory dynamically, but they failed to do so year after year and instead just kept issuing minor updates that made small improvements to the user interface (Mac OS 8 & 9). I was very close to switching my entire studio over to PCs over this one issue when the return of Jobs and the promise of OS X convinced me to stick it out. Obviously this paid off and I’m glad because OS X and now iOS are light years ahead of the competition.