I was traveling when I did the recent tests that I published regarding iPhoto 9.1.5 and Picasa.
Returning to North Carolina's Crystal Coast gave me a good chance to run some more tests and include my I5 iMac.
Again I formatted a SDHC device using my Sony camera. I took 48 pictures. I tested to see how long it took a computer to recognize the card, automatically launch the photo software and import all the photos. I configured it so I only had to click once on each system for the import to start. Timing was done with the stopwatch App on my Motorola Droid phone. (Perhaps iPhoto 9.1.5 was protesting the Droid being the timer.)
Here are the results with the fastest system listed first
- I5 iMac w/Picasa on Snow Leopard, time, < 30 sec.
- HP I7 laptop w/Picasa on Windows 7, 31 sec.
- MacBook, w/Picasa on Snow Leopard, 35 sec.
- I5 iMac w/Photo 8.1.2 on Snow Leopard, 42 sec
- Dell P3 w/f-Spot 0.8.2 on Ubuntu 11.04 47 sec.
- I5 iMac w/Aperture 2.1.4 on Snow Leopard 52 sec.
- MacBook w/iPhoto 9.1.5 on Snow Leopard 84 sec.
- Dual G5 w/iPhoto 7.1.5 on Mac OSX 10.5.8 118 sec.
It is not unusual for me to import 500 photos in one day so speed in importing photos is important to me.
I have made my decisions on what to use. I will be using Picasa on my MacBook where I cannot go back to the previous version of iPhoto. I'll continue to use iPhoto on my iMac where I still have iPhoto version 8 libraries. I hope these tests might be helpful to others.
While it would be interesting to run tests with Lion, I keep getting reports from my more adventurous friends that are keeping me on Snow Leopard.
Here are two sample quotes from friends whose technical opinions I really respect.
"Not having a good Lion experience, it is a dog on my 2006 iMac and my 2009 MBP."
"Lion is not what it is touted to be. As have some others I have found it slower...."
However, this is not a discussion about Lion on which I have zero experience.
Also I realize that there is a newer version of Aperture, but I don't use Aperture nowadays so I'm am not interested in the spending the money for the upgrade.
The interesting question is why Apple would release a product like iPhoto 9.1.5 which is so much slower than the previous version?
I could speculate all day on that, and it would still just be pure speculation. However, here a few thoughts on the issue.
From 10,000 feet, I still believe this has more to do with Apple trying to get their software more IOS like.
People who read the first post in this series might remember my statement that it took twenty years for Apple to come up with a piece of internally crafted software that I really loved.
Apple has also introduced some other really poorly performing software over the years with iWeb being the best example. Additionally while I have finally grown to like Pages for certain uses, it has never been fast.
While this might seem out of left field, I believe the explanation can be found in some of my old experiences at Apple.
One of the interesting things about life at Apple is doing executive briefings and trying to get Steve to show up to talk to customers. I can remember a time when we hauled some enterprise clients out, and Steve showed up and would only talk about iMovie.
Within Apple having Steve's focus is a good news, bad news scenario. You will get the resources to do something, but it will be done Steve's way or heads will roll. A great breakthrough product like iMovie can result from Steve's focus.
One of the real challenges of a company driven by one person's genius is that even an extraordinary one like Steve has only so much bandwidth. With very little real decision making power passed down to the troops, products or strategies can languish until Steve happens to turn his laser glance towards them.
I call it the "Keynote Phenomenon." I believe Keynote has gotten regular upgrades and remained a solid piece of software because Steve uses it regularly. I would be willing to bet that Steve never used iWeb and I suspect MobileMe services fall into the same category.
I can almost guarantee that if Steve tried to import 500 photos into iPhoto 9.1.5, we would have a fix and perhaps a much more usable piece of software.
If Apple still took the time to have customer advisory boards or to let heavy users test software changes, I suspect iPhoto 9.1.5 would have never gotten out the door. Maybe Steve doesn't do movies and photos anymore?
Apple has a history of coming up with some really great ideas, but the company sometimes forgets the importance of staying laser focused on what is really important to users because it has so little interaction with users. I think it is a company weakness, but I doubt it will change because it has been that way for so long.
I am not a huge fan of either Adobe or Microsoft software, but I still reach for Word and Excel at times, and I have been doing that for more than 27 years in the case of Word and almost that long for Excel. I also still pull Photoshop out once in a while.
Unless Apple can figure out how to give products like iPhoto a life of their own, and Filemaker might be a good example and even role model, iPhoto, introduced in 2002, might not make it much beyond the ten year mark as a tool for those of us who are more than just casual users.
We can always hope that small developers continue creating more great tools like Rapidweaver, Coda, Pixelmator, Nisus Writer, and Shutterbug which I recently used to create a very nice non-flash based slide show that will play on my smartphone.