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Aperture and iPhoto Libraries Now Unified in Retina Display Update

Touching on two very important photo editing updates today, Apple has released Aperture 3.3 and iPhoto 9.3, specifically targeting the MacBook Pro with Retina display. In this update, Aperture and iPhoto will now share the same libraries — this means that you can import images into iPhoto from your iPhone 4S, then edit specific images later in Aperture without having to import or duplicate images. The unified library should make life much easier for photographers wanting to get the most out of their images.

Aperture 3.3 really feels like a 4.0 update thanks to the unification feature, and there’s a lot more packed inside. The white balance tool now includes Skin Tone and Simple Gray modes to simplify color balancing, and also includes an auto-button for one click auto balancing. Color correcting photos with the click of a mouse should be easier than ever. Improved shadow and highlight tools will work with extended range data to bring make images pop and recover from blown highlights. You can also leave it up to Aperture with a Professional Auto Enhance feature that brings out the detail for your photos, getting close to a result you can then tweak to perfection. See the release notes below for the full set of updated features:

Aperture 3.3:

•New unified photo library for both iPhoto (v 9.3 or later) and Aperture; no import/export required; Faces, Places, slideshows, albums and web sharing work across both applications
•Support for AVCHD video has been added
• Aperture now lets you use camera-generated previews for faster browsing of RAW files immediately after import
• Highlights & Shadows tool has been updated to deliver higher-quality results and work with extended range data
• A new Auto Enhance button has been added to the Adjustments panel
• White Balance tool now includes Skin Tone and Natural Gray modes to simplify color balance
• Auto button has been added to the White Balance tool for one-click color balancing
• Set Desktop command has been added to Share menu so you can set a desktop background from within Aperture
• A new Manual option allows you to drag and drop projects to customize sort order in the Projects view
• New preference allows you to set the background brightness of the full screen browser
• Facebook, Flickr, and MobileMe albums are now displayed as thumbnails in the main window when accounts are selected in the source list
• Minor terminology changes, including “Original” instead of “Master” and “Info” instead of “Metadata”
• Source list includes a new “Recent” section, showing Last Import and recently-viewed projects
•Raw Fine Tuning is no longer displayed in the Adjustments panel by default
• Faces can now be named by dragging them from the Unnamed Faces browser to existing snapshots on the corkboard
• The Faces corkboard now includes a menu that allows you to set the order of face snapshots
• Newly designed monochrome source list and toolbar icons
• Addresses numerous issues related to overall performance and stability

As for iPhoto 9.3, expect a smaller set of updates and general usability improvements:

iPhoto 9.3:

• iPhoto can now open libraries from Aperture 3.3 or later
• AVCHD video is now supported
• The Description field now automatically expands as needed when entering text
• You can now flag a photo in Magnify (1-up) view by clicking a Flag icon displayed in the upper left corner of the photo
• Keywords and titles are now preserved when exporting files with embedded GPS location data
• A new Export option allows you to automatically organize exported photos into subfolders by event

You can download and update both apps from the Mac App Store:

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