This is really exciting. Aperture 3 is appears to be a huge improvement over Aperture 2.
I've been using Lightroom, and then LR2 in conjunction with PS CS 3&4 for the last few years. And I need to give real credit to LR - it has served me well. I tried Aperture and the Aperture 2 upgrade and I loved a lot about that program. The interface was excellent, but I was always amazed at the import speed - instantaneous and the previews were there instantly as well (and 10.6 increased Apertures speed by significant amounts as Lloyd Chambers noted on his blog a few months back) - and I really liked the RAW conversions that Aperture did. But, and these were big issues for me, I didn't like that the localized adjustments in Aperture 2 were baked in, and file management on multiple drives seemed better in LR 2 as well.
With the new release, I see that Aperture has a lot of powerful brush effects that are all non-destructive and they appear to go beyond the LR offerings into Photoshop territory, with some commonly used "action" type effects like skin softening. And other effects, like vignettes can be brushed in. I don't know if that will replace my round trips into CS4 to use the Boutwell's Totally Rad Action's Retouch Pro, which is just fantastic, but I'm eager to try it. The level of control appears to be great - I've just watched a few of Apple's excellent tutorials and I'm really impressed. Here's the tutorial page: http://www.apple.com/aperture/how-to/
Again, I'm looking forward to seeing how those controls work for me. The preset functions also look really neat - real time previews, and like LR - you can create your own presets which will preview as well.
The new release looks very robust for multiple drive locations and multiple libraries. That's excellent. I know that was one of Michael's issues with the first Aperture incarnation - for some reason his comment on this site from a few years back has stuck with me. Also, you can now put the photos off the laptop to the MacPro and keep working on them on the laptop - not just key wording - and then merge the work files. I'll thrown in a few of the Aperture page links that I've been looking at today. Here's a piece that highlights the merging the library files. http://www.apple.com/aperture/action/menuez/
The multi-media powers of the program look ground breaking and appear to be done with elegant simplicity of the best Apple software. The program allows for the import and organization / editing of HD video. That video can be part of photo projects, so everything is together. The video can then be edited - in Aperture - with photos, which can have transitions, the Ken Burns effect, music, etc. added. You can play the music and then mark where you want the transitions to be with a key stroke, so you can have a frame change with every snare drum beat. The piece on combining video and stills is really impressive. Here's a neat one by Bill Frakes http://www.apple.com/aperture/action/frakes/
I even like the GPS feature as Jim Richardson's video demonstrated how it can be used to find all the photos taken in a given location. And if you don't have a GPS device, just snap a photo with an iPhone (assuming one has one) and then you can import that coordinate into the photo folder with a drop down menu. It's like a visual meta-data search. Really cool. http://www.apple.com/aperture/action/richardson/
There's also a Chase Jarvis video that's interesting: http://www.apple.com/aperture/action/jarvis/
What's interesting about this is that I'm really excited about this software. I can't recall the last time I was excited about software. I think it may be because it appears to be doing so many of the things that I always wanted a work flow program to do and doing them in a very simple yet powerful way that look efficient and have that Aperture "organic" interface to them - i.e. being able to edit at any time, in a slide show, making a book or a layout sheet, without restriction and the seamless integration into the OS that is so powerful for file handling on a Mac. So, perhaps it's too much caffeine, but I do have really high hopes for this. Joe McNally appeared to be emotionally affected by the new version, which he notes on his blog today that he's been using for a few months now, so perhaps my excitement about the new version is not a completely isolated reaction.
I'm excited to also read what people discover about the software here as folks begin to use it, whether the new version solves issues that you may have had with ver. 2 or not, and what pleasant surprises are encounted.