Last June, Apple announced that it will be releasing a cloud-oriented photo management application called Photos on Mac. Nine months later, the company last night started to roll out a beta version of the application as part of the preview of OS X 10.10.3. The application resembles its iOS counterpart and also borrows some features from iPhoto and Aperture, the two applications it is superseding. Photos for OS X is now available to download for developers, while non-developer users should expect it to release in April.
The Photos application aggressively focuses on cloud-based features. It syncs photos from a user’s iPhone to their computer and vice versa in an effort to provide them access to their collection at any time and from anywhere. Users, however, have an option to not use the iCloud and instead store files locally, if that’s what they prefer.
The user interface of the Photos application looks neat and simple, and in order to give users a familiar feel, it borrows features from iPhoto and Aperture while also including some new handy additions. Users now have the ability to sort different kind of photos and videos. They also get a new auto-crop tool which automatically detects the orientation of the image.
Much like the Photos for iOS, users can now also click on the thumbnail on Mac to get a zoomed out view. Additionally, it also features new square book formats for improved prints out of images. It also comes with editing tools including Light, Color, Black & White, Levels, White Balance, Definition, Vignette and Revert.
Additionally, there are a number of features that the company hasn’t included in the application (in the application’s most recent build, at least). Users, for instance, don’t have an option to quickly share images on Facebook and Twitter. The start rating system is also nowhere to be found in the suite, and the built-in mail tool is also gone. Users won’t be able to use the geo-tag feature either.
The Photos app will replace the iPhoto application for Mac. The company is also likely to discontinue its focus on Aperture, its professional photo editing app, though it assures that Photos isn’t meant to be its replacement. The launch of Photos app — primarily a consumer-oriented tool — shows the growth of Mac userbase from being a niche set of users to becoming more mainstream.
It’s been 13 years since iPhoto first came out, and in that duration things have drastically changed. We now click more images with our phones; we rely on cloud more than we ever did before; and we expect a range of advanced tools from our photo management tools, features that just aren’t possible with iPhoto. With Photos for Mac, Apple is addressing all those concerns.