Whoever told you that at Adobe is smoking something. Yes, many of the ACR tools replicate the tools in the LR Develop module. But being able to adjust white balance, recover highlights, adjust contrast, etc, is only a small part of the LR package.
I don't know how anyone doesn't think file management in LR isn't superior than just piling on PSD after PSD file in PS. With Virtual Copy, I can create an unlimited number of versions of a photo - different sizes, different processing, etc, without creating any additional files in the system. I could create 100 different versions of one photo and still have only one raw file on the system. The only time I get a new file is when I chose to export one of those versions out to some other format like JPG.
Unlimited and eternal editing history on any image, without having to ever hit "Save". Edit history in Photoshop has a limited number of steps it can retain, and only during the time that photo is open in PS. I can pile up literally hundreds of edits on a single photo in LR, go away for a years, come back to that photo and see every editing step I ever took, and can roll the image forward and backward to any previous step. Let's say that 50 steps ago I converted the image to B&W. But now I want a color version. I can roll the image back 50 steps to the last step it was in color, create virtual copy at that point to get a second copy in color, then roll the original forward back to the black and white version. Now I have two independent copies of the same photo that I can process separately.
Collections - these are groupings of photos that span any location on the file system. So I have a "Grandkids" collection. Every photo I take of the my grandkids I add to that LR collection, but they don't physically move from whereever they are on the disc file system.
Slice and dice all my photos by any criteria I want. I want to find every shot taken with my 5DIII with a 70-200 2.8L at ISO 3200 and shutter speed of 1/60? No problem. I've zipped through 10,000 or more photos applying search criteria like that and had them all up in the grid view in a matter of a few seconds.
Rate every photo numericall (1-5), with a color rating (Green, Red, Blue, Etc), a "Pick" flag, a "Reject" flag, self-selected key words, and retrieve every photo at any level of my LR catalog hirearchy by those attributes.
Burn entire collections directly to CD at any size and resolution I want without having to first dump a bunch of JPGs to disc, further cluttering up my file system.
Export photos as JPG images directly to email attachments without having first dump a bunch of JPGs to disc and then manually attach to email. Further avoids cluttering up the file system with more files.
Export and manage whole catalogs for archive off-line but easily reopen and access those catalogs. My current LR catalog has the current year plus the previous two full years of images, organized at the top by year (2011, 2012, 2013). When the new year rolls over, I export the oldest year in to it's own LR catalog and store on an external harddrive, and remove that year from my current working catalog. Keeps my image volume manageable. But if I need to get something from an earlier catalog. It's less than a 2 minute operation to close my current catalog and open the archived one to find and work with what I'm looking for.
I could go on and on. IMHO, anyone who thinks LR doesn't bring significant added value to their workflow of PS either doesn't have enough images to make it worth their while, or isn't using LR to maximum effect.
Great info gbchriste, been thinking of getting LR, the above is very compelling. Being able to roll back history and take virtual copies as you have described is incredible. That alone makes my mind up.
Two questions if you don't mind though before I download a trial.
Do all vers have this facility or is it only the latest?
Can you also roll back crop info?