According to a statement given to Loop Insight, Apple has confirmed that "there will be no new development of Aperture".
This was all over the Apple news yesterday although it can't be too surprising for anyone who has been paying attention. Aperture has been stagnant for two years or so. With few exceptions, the only real updates have been bug fixes or compatibility updates. Even for version 3.5, the major updates were support for iCloud and using Apple Maps instead of Google. Not exactly ground-breaking!
Writing on the wall
As an Aperture user myself I'm saddened by this but I've seen the writing on the wall. I looked at moving over to Lightroom about six months ago. While I wasn't quite ready at the time, I knew it would probably happen sometime in the future.
Aperture has been falling behind Lightroom for a long time and it's sad to see it just fade away. I'd be interested to see what the sales numbers were and how they compared to the other pro apps.
Pro app neglect
Unfortunately, I think this reflects poorly on Apple in the pro space.
Aperture is going to be updated for comparability with Yosemite so has got another year in it (and more if you don't upgrade to 10.11).
However, it shows that Apple will pull the plug whenever it feels like it rather than providing some certainty for pro users. Will Final Cut Pro also be neglected once it stops being an advertisement for the latest Mac Pro hardware? Doesn't seem likely at the moment but who knows in the future.
If a user is to base their professional workflow around an app such as Aperture or Final Cut Pro, they will want some certainty that it's not just going to be discontinued on a whim. There is a real cost to changing software and training users when making changes like this. This is a cost that Apple doesn't bear but does affect purchasing decisions.
Although, having said that, maybe there weren't any professionals using Aperture after a few years of neglect anyway.
App Store neglect
Is it also possible that this is a result of the App Store model? Apple have eschewed paid upgrades in the store. There is no precedent (that I can think of) for them providing updates at a reduced price since the release of the App Store.
It seems that unless they can provide an upgrade with $80 of value then they won't bother. If App Store upgrades were an option then maybe the bar would be lower for on-going support.
Would I have paid $40 or $80 for an upgrade? I don't know. Would enough others have paid such that it was actually worthwhile for Apple.
Overall, sad to see the end of Aperture but no surprise. Now will have to look for other options and don't really want to pay $10 per month for the rest of my life just to get Lightroom.