Unless you’re a new user to Lightroom who doesn’t care about getting upgrade discounts, only uses Macs, and is in N America (at least for now), I’m not sure you’ll care too much that Lightroom 4 is now available on the Mac App Store. But it is there now.

I have bought odd bits of software through the Mac App Store, and I definitely liked how it made the whole purchase and installation process as easy as buying an app for the iPad. What was especially good was how easily I could transfer those programs to the Mac Book Air I bought in March. Even those of us who know our way round computers lose track of licence numbers or . As a user, I do see the attraction.

The kind of apps I’ve bought divide into two. Most are low cost apps like iaWriter which is great for writing on the Air, saving the article on the iCloud, and then using their $0.99 iPad app to pick up where I left off. I don’t worry too much about the upgrade path for these, and if they don’t run on my next Apple computer or on Manx Tabby version of MacOS , in that case I’ll just buy the new version of the app. The software is more like a consumable.

The other sort of program is more substantial, and that’s Aperture 3. It makes a great slideshow add-on for Lightroom (it has the 3 key things LR’s Slideshow lacks – a timeline, Ken Burns and other transition effects, multiple music tracks) but I don’t really use it for anything else. It’s good for me to know how it works, to gain a sense of different ways of doing things, and to help guide people over to Lightroom. When Aperture 3 originally came out, I had decided it wasn’t worth upgrading and it was the low price in the App Store that made me change my mind. The deal is the same – you accept the locked in experience and its pros and cons, you get no upgrade discount, but the full product’s price is reduced.

That’s not what Adobe have offered though – it’s full price – and so it’s hard to see why anyone with any sense would buy Lightroom at the full retail price through this restricted route. That said, I don’t think it’s a bad move for Adobe when you see it in longer terms:

  • By the time LR5 is due, maybe there will be an upgrade pricing model in the Mac App Store? That would be my bet.
  • Alternatively new users might be hooked through the MAS and converted into regular customers at some point – the dependence on Lightroom outweighing the extra cost.
  • Adobe have got to test whether the Mac App Store is a viable sales channel, not just for Lightroom, and need to test whether Apple can be trusted (stop laughing!)

In other words you may as well dip your toe in the murky waters – even if the crocodile will snap off its x%.


Also see Matt’s similar concerns http://lightroomkillertips.com/2012/news-lightroom-4-is-on-the-mac-sto re/