I think I need to upgrade to Aperature because IPhoto doesn't recognise my  RAW files. I checked with the  Apple store and they seemed to think I might also to upgrade my software. I have a Macbook 4.1 and it says it is running OS X version 10.5.8.  Do I need to upgrade to run Aperature? If so, what do I upgrade it too?
 When you say RAW files, tell the source of the images: Digital Camera (brand, model, etc), iPhone (model iOS)
their current location: on My Computer (file extension?) downloaded from camera (does iPhoto give an Error Message? - What is it?
or still on the camera and iPhoto doesn't see the camera as a source when connected (how)? What Error Message?
 Don't know. Aperture might require upgrade but need info from  first to see if iPhoto is inadequate.
 AppleStore = Online? Brick and mortar? A sales associate will try to get you to buy something in my experience whereas a Customer Service associate (Genius Bar - AppleCare) should be able to answer definitively.
FoxFifth (is that a subtle Pulp Fiction reference?)
I used to run a Customer Support & Technical Support group for a software company with a very specific user base. I learned very quickly to listen/read carefully and try then to read-between-the-lines to get to the real issue rather than rely on the caller/writer's preconceived notions.
CE did ask one question, which you so handily gave the right answer to, but the real issue is why is iPhoto not recognizing these files, wherever they may be.
I didn't ask CE if this misbehavior is NEW - if so was it behaving with the same setup before? or is the source device the new thing? etc., thinking that the info might come out in the answers to my questions.
Too many questions at once, ya know.
I hadn't thought of the possible Pulp Fiction connection! A long time ago I owned an Arctic Fox Fifth Wheel camping vehicle and was a member on a forum related to that and have been using the same username on other forums. May have to change it to "Fox Force Five" on the next forum I join.
I also at one time managed a customer support group for a software company -- but it wasn't my primary responsibility and I wasn't very good at that part of the job; good news was that there were some people there that were very good.
It did occur to me that there may be a solution to iPhoto recognizing the RAW files and also that an Aperture upgrade may not be the solution, but RAW files and Aperture are not an area I have any significant expertise in -- so I provided the little information that I could provide.
The recent versions of Aperture and iPhoto are both using the same raw support.
Look at this list: It tells you, which cameras are supported by your current MacOS X version:
If you update to the latest iPhoto version, that is supported by your MacOS X, you can use the RAW files of these cameras in iPhoto.
Newer cameras will be supported, if you upgrade to newer system versions. The full list of currently supported cameras is here:
The footnotes will tell you, which MacOS X versions introduced the RAW support.
FoxForceFive it is then !
Yeah, the management part is kinda stretching the real deal - let's say I was the first one to take up the support role after the software author didnt have time to do it anymore. As user numbers grew - my initial reason for joining up was marketing and R&D features to keep up with current tech at the time - I hired a buncha people, and trained 'em. So experience is definitely hands on.
I see that you just answered the question. Thing is, I hate to see someone spend money needlessly, even if I might be the one selling.
I don't have a whit of experience with RAW files. I use iPhoto so I can import stills into iMovie (pain in the you know what WorkFlow) - I have a Pismo running 10.4.11 for cryin out loud! But.... no matter how late-model a car is, there are still basic steps you take when it don't run right. (see K.I.S.S.)
Your model can only upgrade to Lion (10.7) if it is a 4,1 - see specs here:
What model camera do you have? It may be the older version of iPhoto, but, it can also be the camera model not being supported. Here are the search parameters digital camera models which are supported:
You'll note that the first one is Mountain Lion; way down on the list is Snow leopard (10.6); I do not remember if RAW images were even supported in 10.5 at all.
According to your machine specs, you could easily upgrade to Snow leopard, but if your camera is newer, it may not be supported in the (no longer supported) Snow leopard.
After checking all these, post back with your camera model and how you wish to proceed.
Edit: Leonie, you beat me to it.......