As expected, Apple has introduced a new product for pro photographers, dubbed "Aperture".

The company describes this as the "first all-in-one post production tool that provides everything photographers need after the shoot."

It's built to work with RAW images, and aims to make working with RAW images as easy as JPEG.

Final Cut for photo pros

"Aperture is to professional photography what Final Cut Pro is to filmmaking," said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of applications marketing. "Finally, an innovative post production tool that revolutionises the pro photo workflow, from compare and select to retouching to output."

Heinz Kluetmeier, a renowned sports photographer, said: "What amazed me about Aperture is that you can work directly with RAW files, you can loupe and stack them and it's almost instantaneous - I suspect that I'm going to stop shooting JPEGs. Aperture just blew me away."

Tools for RAW expression

The software's compare and select tools let photographers quickly search through massive photo projects and quickly identify their final selections. The application also automatically groups sequences of photos into easy-to-manage Stacks based on the time interval between exposures.

Photographers can navigate through entire projects in a full-screen workspace that can be extended to span multiple displays, tiling multiple images side-by-side for faster, easier compare and select.

Non-destructive editing

Aperture's Loupe magnifying tool lets portions of images be examined in fine detail without having to zoom and pan across large files. Its virtual Light Table lets snappers arrange, resize and pile images together in a "free-form space", said Apple.

RAW images can be retouched using a suite of adjustment tools, while its non-destructive image processing engine doesn't change a single pixel of original photos. This means users can create multiple versions of a single image without duplicating files.

Photoshop relegated to compositing and effects

Aperture images can also be launched directly into Adobe Photoshop for compositing and layer effects.

Aperture supports ColorSync profiles. Print options include customisable contact sheets, high-quality local printing and colour-managed online prints. It also offers an easy-to-navigate workspace to create and order custom books and publish Web galleries.

It ships in November and costs £349 (including VAT).