Meanwhile, the classic version continues to be great, the CC version did not cost anything, and I still don't have any kind of a work flow that lets me automatically sync images to the cloud as I take them for backup purposes, and later transfer them to my NAS and remove them from the cloud. I don't have a lot of time to fool with trying to figure this out, but it doesn't look obvious right now.
This might be obvious to you, so I apologize in advance - I use a Dropbox folder to store my images. Lightroom imports them to that folder and accesses from there. Instant backup to the cloud, and auto sync to my laptop from my desktop. Granted, I only have a half terabyte of images because I'm a hobbiest who aggressively culls 4 out of 5 images, so it might not work for you. Then again, for a professional, more cloud storage might be a justifiable business 'insurance'.
Since there's a lot of uncertainty in this thread, I decided to install the new CC (since Adobe *very generously* gave it to me for free along with the updated lightroom classic as part of my subscription) and play for a bit.
So here's a little of the critical things I've learned:
* Some people seem to have assumed it's something like running out of a web browser - it's *not*. It's a full local native application.
* It works *fine* without an internet connection. You can have a full copy of every image in your catalog locally, or let it just keep a percentage of the most recently used images local. Changes are synced when you are online.
* It is *fast* - Really fast to scroll through your photos, and edit. I was able to speedily apply edits and review photos while it I was importing ~1500 raws as a test set without any noticeable slowdown. That is a big improvement over classic.
* You can import more photo's than you have available adobe cloud storage for. Edit and play away, no problem - They just won't be synced, and a small warning symbol will appear. So if you like the new CC more, but don't want to pay for the storage upgrade, you don't need to.
* There is no way (as far as I can tell) to decide which photo's are in the cloud and which aren't. I'd love to be able to keep the 20gb default plan, for example, and just sync a small album of my most recent images to edit and review on the run on my iPad.
* You can create albums, and folders to organise these albums in, but they're all 'virtual' and not reflected on your hard drive - So you lose any categorisation you had, and the ability to search through the drive using other tools (I did manage to find my original DNG's in the new catalog directory, organised by how they were in the original import)
* As folks know, a bunch of tools are missing, but on the other hand for a casual user this UI is simple and easy to use (and did I say 'fast' before? ). It's up to the end user to decide how important those particular tools are.
* Search is brilliant. I typed in 'bees', and up popped my photo's of bees. I never tagged them - This is adobes cloud based image recognition kicking in, and it's cool. No need to waste time tagging any more, just search for it like in google.
* You can't really control the syncing in the background - If you pay for data, or have poor internet, this is obviously going to be a poor choice.
* You can still back up locally to your NAS. If you set 'keep a copy of all originals', it's easy to find the images in the catalog directory you created, sorted by year/date folders (at least in the case of my import - May have been because that's the structure on my disk from my original catalog import).
* Irritatingly, it makes a copy of the originals when you import, rather than being able to keep a reference, or 'sync' to that folder like with lightroom classic.
* Security is a problem - As someone in the industry, I can tell you that it's almost certain that this service will be compromised at some point. Nothing is private any more. But if you're using services like apple iCloud, or dropbox, or google, well - you already have that problem. (arguably some of these services are likely to be more secure as they have a lot of experience in the running cloud services.)
I have to admit; I actually like it and I'm tempted to pay the extra 5$ a month upgrade fee to get the terabyte of storage and live in the new app.
I can limit the space used on my laptop for images and import photos while travelling - All while knowing that they'll be available on my workstation at home without me needing to do anything. It's compelling.
Adobe are building something new for the changing software world. I suspect that a lot of the fear is justified - Eventually, they will abandon lightroom classic in favour of the new CC. However, they will only happen when most users switch - And they will know this very clearly because since it's all cloud, they can see when users are in lightroom classic vs lightroom cloud.
Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion and doubt (and maybe some of the fear.)
I've spent the morning experimenting with Lightroom CC (Cloud) and Lightroom CC Classic. For use on mobile devices, I like the cc version. For my pc, the CC version is not quite there, it has a huge amount of missing features, but for ordinary edits, its ok.
I've decided to use the combination of Lightroom Classic for my desktop and lightroom CC for mobile devices. Its easy to choose which images to sync, so I can limit what is in the cloud, and remove what I choose easily. This is basically the same operation as the older lightroom version with lightroom mobile, create a collection that syncs with lightroom cc. Remove images from the collection to remove them from the cloud and vice versa. Changes on either end sync just fine.
So I can add images to my mobile phone or tablet or laptop running lightroom CC and they will sync to my desktop when I open it.
Next, I want to see how well images added to my mobile directly from the camera using wi-fi or cable can be synced to all my devices. (I have a lot of them).
Photoshop is now much less pirated than it used to be -- Adobe is so happy about that, that it could really care less if people pirated old versions of Lightroom (that soon won't support the newest cameras)
I agree that Adobe sees smartphone as giant future growth.
The truth is, there are billions of smartphone users, and a good portion of them care about taking pictures from their smartphones. Proportionately, there are a tiny number of photographers that shoot RAW, or that take enough photos to need software to organize them.
And the real question is: how many of them will pay $10 (more outside US) per month when they can use Apple Photos or Google Photos for free - directly supported by their phone OS, highly integrated with their camera apps, offering often "unlimited" space, and implementing most of the editing functions they need (Apple Photos just added Curves, by the way)? IMHO the smartphone shooters needing LR are still a tiny number. Alienating the old customers may not have been a smart move.
Tom Hogarty may have been good at using internet "influencers" (reading is LinkedIn profile is illuminating), but one thing is trying to use them against the usual Adobe competitors, another trying to go head to head against Apple and Google, which are not really newcomers in marketing - and have the required firepower. Aperture may not have been a critical product for Apple, but capturing user photos, and the large source of data within, will be.