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Gear & Apps

Apple Announces OS X ‘El Capitan’ | Should Mean Major Performance Improvement In Adobe Apps

By Kishore Sawh on June 8th 2015


It’s that time of year again, Apple’s Word Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), where this morning, Apple released a host of new features and future plans for the company and its products. Among the big news today were parts that may mean a great deal to photographers.

On the low end of appeal and real world application is the new multitasking features to come to iPad, allowing for split screen multitasking, which leads us to wonder how this new iOS ability may affect photo apps, especially having learned recently that there should be a significant update to Photoshop Mobile coming in the near future.

But iPad multitasking is really just a little side note, as OS X 10.11 El Capitan is where the real promise and improvement to photographers really lies. There seems to be a structural change in the architecture of the operating system that will allow most everything to work more quickly. Frequently used applications apparently will get power preference along with a 1.4x increase in app opening speed; there will be enhanced window management (which oddly will seem familiar to Windows users).


Now, this tends to be a promise made with any OS update but the key piece of news for us in the reveal was the announcement of the inclusion of the Metal API into OSX. The Metal API was released last year was to allow for better and faster graphics performance on mobile iOS operating devices, but it will now be included into OS X.

Metal, Apple’s groundbreaking graphics technology, accelerates Core Animation and Core Graphics to boost system-level rendering by up to 50 percent,* and efficiency by up to 40 percent,** resulting in faster graphics performance for everyday apps. Metal also takes full advantage of your CPU and GPU, delivering up to 10 times faster draw call performance for a richer, more fluid experience in games and pro apps.

What this means, or suggests rather, is that Adobe’s applications from Lightroom and Photoshop to After Effects and Illustrator should see a large performance boost. This is further cemented by Adobe announcing Metal for all of its apps and has already noted an 8x improvement in rendering for After Effects.

[REWIND: Lightroom 6 / CC Is Finally Here & Finally Faster]

This could signal the upgrade in power and performance of Adobe apps that photographers have longed for, and we just hope that this news materializes in the form of a real-world improvement.

If you’re a developer, El Capitan is available to you today and expect the official release to the rest of us for this fall.

Source: Apple

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ian Johns

    Hopefully Adobe takes advantage of this and doesn’t use it as a reason to not keep their apps running smoothly. I thought I read somewhere that they are basically in desperate need of a recode since it’s based on 30-year-old code.

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  2. satnam singh

    i think i should get an imac

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    • Jesper Ek

      Yes, me too. It was long ago I left desktop computers, but I think as a workstation it would be nice.

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  3. Jesper Ek

    It will almost always slow down a Mac older than 2 years. Functionality sure, but always at a cost.

    How often do you guys buy a new Mac? Laptop or desktop computer?

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    • Justin Eid

      Well ill only upgrade if I need it.

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    • Jesper Ek

      I agree Justin, but some of the shared windows space etc look mighty nice!

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    • Michael LaNasa

      I fear the same, since my iMac (24″ 3.06 from 2008) promptly boarded the struggle bus when I installed Yosemite. However, I enjoy the new features and the ability to keep everything else updated (everyone has probably experienced getting left out of updates due to having an older OS).

      Hopefully pairing this with the new LR’s ability to utilize the graphics card’s power will be an overall win for us all — new or old Macs.

      That all said, like others have said or pointed out.. maybe it’s time to pull the trigger on a new one. I usually keep mine for a minimum of 5-6 years if not longer before throwing down on a fully-loaded upgrade.

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  4. Justin Eid

    All I need now is a new Mac….

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    • John Cavan

      In theory, nope. It’s supposed to improve performance on any Mac that can run Yosemite.

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    • John Cavan

      Not sure, yet, if this will actually impact the performance of all Adobe apps as it’s going to very much depend on how those apps use the GPU for their work. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what comes of it.

      As an aside, there will be a more public beta of the new OS version available to non-devs a little later. You need to sign up for it though.

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    • Justin Eid

      Yea I’ve been beta testing before and I won’t be doing that again, unless I have a spare Mac around (which I don’t).

      I’m due for an upgrade anyway. My current hardware is outdated and I need more of a kick.

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