Just thought I'd post a follow-up Aperture experience in here:
I had a chance to play with a friend's copy this afternoon, and while I didn't spend any time working with the RAW importer functions, or the image editing facilities (I simply imported a folder full of print-ready TIFFs I had scanned from film and prep'd in PS), the application appears to work quite nicely as a catalogue-building/metadata-editing interface, and I was very pleased with how it simplified the process of building web galleries, organizing groups of images, etc..
I never did run into any of the nasty "slow metadata editing" bugs that haunt the Apple Discussion fora, either... maybe because I've got 4GB of RAM in the dual 2.0 G5, but it's an old machine by today's standards, so I'm not sure what's up there... the folder I imported is 18GB on the drive though, so I was expecting issues, but instead was very pleased with how well things worked from this point-of-view (and fully realise Apple are billing the app as a RAW-import tool). Being able to use the lupe on a thumbnail to instantly check IQ was a trip.. Very cool indeed
Some parts of the interface bug me though - like the black-on-grey colour scheme and tiny font you can't adjust - but I'm sure learning a few hot-keys would solve those issues in no time..
I'm not sold yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll be buying v2.0 the day its ready. Apple has a habit of making their faithfull beta-test software lately, but they seem to be reliable on massively improving things in later releases for a cost (he says, having used their .mac service since the day it went "pay", and cursing their recent iLife '06 zero-upgrade BS)
Anyway, I'm content to wait it out for now, but a hefty patch for v.1.0 might just push me over the edge.. there are some things the program does very well right now if you're not concerned with using it as a RAW converter..
Thinking Apple will screw their v.1.0 users with crappy upgrade options and pretty features in 2.0, I entreat their forbearance and remain (patiently),