It’s become de rigueur for photo professionals to talk of a supermarket mentality that has invaded the business, but the phrase took on a whole new meaning this week with news of the imminent launch of a new player in the software market. Move over Microshaft – there’s a new 800-pound gorilla on the block, and his name is Tesco.
Britain’s favourite retailer has confirmed to Amateur Photographer that their new photo editing software named PhotoRestyle will be launched later this month at a price of – wait for it – £9.97. Unkind souls – the sort who work at Channel 4 News for example – might well speculate on how Tesco could produce the kind of software which typically has development costs in the millions of dollars, yet afford to sell it at a price likely to concern Arfur The Software Dealer in your local drinking emporium.
However the package appears highly attractive. In addition to the usual Photoshop style functionality EPUK has learned that PhotoRestyle will carry a number of unique features including:
• Xtra Strength Value Lager plug-in, designed to enhance red eye and green facial tones
• A range of pre-prepared filters including Tikka Masala, Sweet ‘n’ Sour and SpagBol
• Puree, a specialised montage tool
• Porter, a tool for exporting visual assets to third party software
• Shirley, a filter which adds a blue tone to the shadows and obscures fine detail
Initially the programme will operate solely in its own specific colour space – Tesco Value ICC – in which only small amounts of red and blue on a white background are supported, a factor which may limit its professional appeal. However EPUK understands that a professional version of PhotoRestyle is to be released in the New Year that will support other colour spaces. PhotoRestyle Finest will retail at a considerably higher price, but will also include many pro-specific elements first revealed in EPUK , and in a further nod to the pro market will ship with a complimentary corkscrew and bottle of Tesco Tudor Rose Cream.
The two companies most likely to be affected by the announcement, Apple and Adobe, reacted quickly.
Speaking publicly for the first time about the much-rumoured Project Apple Core, a senior executive revealed the company’s plans to upgrade all Apple Stores from mere technology centres to full-blown food retail malls. Under the plan all Apple Centres will stock both a full range of Apple-branded foodstuffs and the company’s new iCook cuisine workflow stations: what the rest of us call cookers, refrigerators and the like.
However some observers believe that Apple’s supermarket ambitions suffer from traditional company problems – limited availability and product incompatibility. All foodstuffs, initially only available in Apple stores, can only be stored and prepared in Apple iCook hardware, meaning that anyone who wants to Eat Apple – the new company slogan – will have to completely re-equip their kitchen.
Apple deny this is a problem however. “The Apple brand appeals to creative people and those are the people we expect to be buying our new product lines. We are after the creative cuisine market, not fast food: it’s a lifestyle choice. Once people see the benefit of the iCook workflow in the kitchen we’re sure they’ll be eager to switch. It’s exactly this approach which has led to Apple’s dominance in the computer market.”
Nevertheless, Apple rumour sites have recently been awash with stories of freezers overheating, oven hobs freezing, and microwaves hanging during tests at Cupertino, or Cappuccino as it is now known by employees. Apple were quick to deny the reports: “it’s true that we’ve had a number refrigerator crashes, but that issue has now been resolved.”
Adobe’s response is more limited, but equally revealing of the direction in which the company is headed. In a licensing deal with Waitrose, Adobe have posted an update to their Bridge software which allows it to integrate with Waitrose’s Ocado online delivery system.
“This is another step in broadening the functionality of Bridge for the busy creative” said an Adobe spokesman. “He or she can already source stock photography and photographers with the programme. But the Ocado plug-in will give full access to the Waitrose product line, plus Bridge-only specials on creative essentials like Chardonnay, Cuervo Gold and finest Columbian – coffee that is.”
Here at EPUK Towers we’re yet to be convinced of how well Tesco’s new venture will pan out. A call to the supermarket giant failed to glean any further information about PhotoStyle, not least because Customer Services had never heard of the programme. “I can’t find it on the system,” replied the operator. “Is that ‘Photo’ with a ‘PH’?”