Turns out that all this time there’s been a pretty sold Photoshop alternative in the shape of Photoline v14 (another piece of German shareware … what is it with these German indie developers?). It’s a cross-platform app and its UI seems a trifle clunky in spots, but it’s very stable and its feature set is certainly in the ballpark (in fact it has some nice features that Photoshop doesn’t have). Price is â‚¬59 (about USD 90).
Oh, and Photoline launches in ~1s.
Sorry, but a half-assed image editor with a ton of Core Image filters is no match for a mature image editor with a few well chosen filters (Gaussian Blur, Noise, Clouds, etc.).