Now available: OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 beta with new Photos app

Apple released a beta version of its OS X Yosemite software on Monday, making it publicly available to all Mac hardware owners for the first time, says iMore. Aside from expected stability fixes and performance enhancements, OS X 10.10.3 provides a first look at Photos for OS X, the new app meant to replace both iPhotos and Aperture.

To get the new version of Yosemite and try Photos, which was announced last June, you’ll need to register with Apple here.

photos for OSX iOS

Last month, MacWorld took an early peek at Photos and found that the app has elements of both OS X and iOS in it, as you’d expect; [company]Apple[/company] has been merging together elements from the desktop and mobiles for some time. For example, you can view and group photos by Years, Collections, and Moments, just like you can on an iPhone or iPad. While you can save and sync photos from an iCloud account, it’s not a requirement.

Image editing appears simplified as well, combining several elements from both the old Photos app and Aperture, which has more advanced controls and features. Editing menus include Enhance, Rotate, Crop, Filters, Adjust, and Retouch; each of which having multiple methods to tweak pictures the way you want to.

 

Apple previews its cloud-oriented iPhoto replacement for OS X

Apple announced a new cloud-oriented app called Photos last June at its developer’s conference, which we later learned would replace iPhoto and Aperture. The new Photos app for iOS came as part of iOS 8 last year, and on Thursday, Apple previewed its OS X counterpart in a new pre-release preview version of Mac OS X Yosemite.

Developers can download the beta version of OS X that includes Photos now. For non-developers, Apple had promised that the new Photos app would be available in “early 2015” — which we now know includes April, according to Apple. Previously, users could check out the web version of Photos at iCloud.com.

The key to the new Photos app is that is relies on Apple’s iCloud storage to sync photos from a user’s iPhone to her computer and vice versa. Cloud storage isn’t required for Photos to work, and all photos can be stored locally. But iCloud integration is likely to be most users’ favorite part of the new Photos app and the area where Apple has made the biggest strides. According to the Wall Street Journal, the new Photos app includes “some behind-the-scenes intelligence to prevent large collections from eating up” limited built-in storage space — like the relatively tiny 128GB hard drives that come with most entry-level MacBook models.

In many ways, the new Photos app is the completed version of the photo-syncing vision that Steve Jobs presented in 2011 and was internally called “Hyperion” at Apple. If it works as promised, it’s likely to convince a lot of people they need to pay for extra iCloud storage. (Only 5GB is free.) The increased number of synced photos Apple will be handling may be why it’s investing $2 billion in a new data “command center” in Arizona.

The Photos interface appears to be simplified and streamlined from iPhoto and the professionally-oriented Aperture. While it might be a godsend for many amateur photographers snapping shots with their iPhones, pros will probably move to Adobe Lightroom. (Adobe even recently released an export plugin for Aperture users.) But for consumers, has Apple finally cracked the problem of photo backups and syncing on smartphones? We’ll find out when Photos is officially released to the public later this year.

The iCloud Photos web app quietly disappeared

The iCloud Photos web app, which allowed users to access photos uploaded from iPads and iPhones in a web browser, has been taken down. Users navigating to the beta app’s permalink now receive an message that Apple “can’t load Photos.” The web app launched for iOS 8.1 users in October. Remember that Apple has promised to launch a new photo app for OS X in “early 2015” to replace the native Mac versions of both iPhoto and Aperture — so the iCloud Photos web app could be coming back in a new form when that app launches.

Update 2:20 ET: As pointed out by commenter patrick2, the iCloud Photos web app is back up. I was able to load it a few minutes ago.

The new Photos app for OS X will replace both Aperture and iPhoto

At WWDC, Apple announced a new app for the Mac called Photos, which will be part of OS X Yosemite. Many wondered what the announcement meant for Apple’s current photo library programs on Mac, which included the consumer-oriented iPhoto and the pro-oriented Aperture. According to a statement from Apple provided to Gigaom, there will be no new development of Aperture when Photos for OS X becomes available early next year. It also appears that the new Photos app, with a heavy emphasis on iCloud Photo Library integration, will replace iPhoto. This leaves Adobe’s Lightroom as the logical choice for professional photographers using a Mac.

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