It might make sense if Aperture caused photographers to move to Mac or to buy more / new Apple kit, but that’s not really happening. Apple will ship lots of the new high res “retina” display laptops to photographers regardless of whether they use Aperture or Lightroom, and Aperture’s immediate support for those screens isn’t going to provide an advantage for very long (Adobe will soon support them too). Yesterday’s “big” news of Aperture having a “Unified Library” with iPhoto can equally be spun as Apple “merging” the two products and making Aperture merely a priced version of iPhoto. Of course, it won’t stop people reading the tea leaves from job ads and inferring Apple is still interested in the game, but just why would you invest, for example, in as-good-as-Lightroom lens correction when the only likely ROI might come through a few Aperture sales? You’ve got to ask where lies the financial incentive? But more importantly though – if Apple do simply tread water, where then is the incentive for Adobe to keep driving Lightroom forward?
Apple’s strategy is clearly to aim at the consumer and into the prosumer parts of a market. If you look at how their video products have transitioned, I think that’s clear. The way Final Cut Pro has evolved seems like a good model for looking at what Apple will do with Aperture, and if you are an advanced amateur or moderate pro, that’s probably not bad, but if you’re a “push it hard and demand more” type, you’re going to be unhappy.
In video, you have iMovie, and when you grow out of it, you have Final Cut Pro X. In Photos, you have iPhoto, and when you grow out of it, you have Aperture. For most folks, it’ll be fine. If you’re expecting it to process images as well as Lightroom 4, or push the state of the art on image processing, well, probably not. Apple will happily take the fat part of the market and leave pushing the bleeding edge technologies to others.
I do agree that the unified library for iPhoto and Aperture indicates Aperture is moving in the consumer direction, not the pro direction.
As to the job tea leaves, bring a salt lick. one or two grains won’t do it. Apple has a history of building product-oriented job listings not for the actual job, but to identify candidates with specific skills. So if they are looking for mobile aperture, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it had nothing to do with Aperture, but since Aperture and iPhoto are merging into a common technology base (or so it seems) and mobile is a big emphasis anyway, and iCloud needs to grow to support all of that in many ways (especially mobile; where’s Apple’s ‘instagram’ for iCloud?) I expect we’re splitting hairs, because by the time this all hits the public view, it’ll all have merged together even more.
Andbeyond that, any job being advertised now is unlikely to creat anything seen in public for 18 months. Or longer. That’s far enough out for me to not worry about it, and let it come over the horizon before thinking too hard about it.