Why Apple Cut the Aperture 3 Price to $79

by Mike on January 13, 2011

A reader emailed me to ask why I thought Apple dropped the price of Aperture 3 to $79 when ordered through the Mac App Store. (if you want to buy it, click here)

I think about it like this. Lightroom has a huge market-share lead on Aperture. According to Infotrends, in 2009, Lightroom had 44.4% market share on the Mac platform versus 12.5% for Aperture.

And I believe those numbers – I just don’t run into many other Aperture users out there.

So that’s the primary motivation – simply to catch up with Lightroom.

Now the biggest problem with Lightroom isn’t that it’s a non-Apple product. No, the issue with Lightroom is that it’s a cross-platform product.

See, if a person starts using Aperture, there’s a good chance that they’re going to stay on the Mac platform because Aperture is a Mac-only piece of software.

On the other hand, Lightroom users have the freedom to switch between Macs and PCs. That gives Apple an even stronger incentive to push Aperture as hard as possible.

And finally, I think Apple wanted the Mac App Store to make a big splash, and offering a blockbuster deal on an amazing product like Aperture 3 was a great way to generate press about the great deals in the store.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Todd January 14, 2011 at 12:23 am


I completely agree with your assessment.

Apple makes several popular products that work with Windows: iPod, iPhone, iPad, Safari, QuickTime.

Imagine if Apple were to add Aperture to that list, they may be able to convert Windows photo peeps over to Macs for their next computer purchase.

Just a thought….

forkboy1965 January 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Two years ago when I was deliberating between Lr and Aperture I sought the advice of a number of folks who I hoped would be able to provide better insight into the matter.

Most agreed that either software package would leave me very happy, but one person said something which really stuck in my head, even if I don’t know it would be accurate enough (only time will tell).

He mentioned the notion that for Apple Aperture was a nice bit of software, but would they remain committed to it for the long-term. “After all,” he said, “Apple isn’t a photography company and Adobe, I think, is.”

I think he was simply trying to say that there is a much stronger reason to assume Adobe will be supporting and perhaps even reinventing Lightroom well into the future, while Apple’s take on Aperture would be more prone to change over time.

And thanks again Mike for the advice on purchasing Aperture at the new, lower price.

Joseph January 28, 2011 at 2:46 am

I belong to a popular photography club in my local area. The majority of members use LR. One of the primary reasons shared by Mac owners for using LR is Apple’s slow/deficient process for providing timely RAW compatibility for newly released camera models. Further, a number of older camera models continue to be absent from Apple’s compatibility list. I don’t know who at Apple makes RAW compatibility decisions, however, judging from the feedback in the club, their methods are costing Apple market share. I tried Aperture, however, no compatibility for my FZ28, and now the FZ100 (both are supported by LR) made the switch to LR a rather easy one.

Mike J. February 26, 2011 at 1:48 am

I think Apple is in a really unique position right now with Aperture. It is Apple’s pro photography application, competing with both Lightroom and Photoshop. This gives Apple the ability to add features in Aperture that compete more with Photoshop than Lightroom. Lightroom on the other hand is forced to have a more limited feature set so as to not eat into the revenue received from Photoshop sales. This gives one company the ability of limitless expansion, while the other struggles with trying not to cannibalize their own market share.

Noslen March 6, 2011 at 7:07 am

I bought into it, being such a good deal. Aperture works really well, but I have found one glaring flaw – which I find I am not the discoverer of by any means. Not being able to sharpen an image when exported (re-sized) absolutely kills Aperture for me. Taking a RAW file and making it a 640 pixel JPG makes it very, very soft and there seems to be no way around it within Aperture – saving as a TIFF to go to PS to only sharpen it seems idiotic to me. Maybe with the Nik sharpener, at $200, or Resize 7 for $150, but why not just get Lightroom like I should’ve done in the first place..? I regret buying Aperture for this single point alone – Apple should add this ability — it is unusable without an expensive plug-in. I have wasted almost a third the cost of Lightroom by getting Aperture, but I have a sneaky feeling Apple will make this simple update to Aperture as soon as I lay down $300 for Lightroom…

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