Back when it revealed OS X Yosemite last June, Apple also showed off a new desktop app for managing pictures called Photos. It was always supposed to launch in early 2015, rather than at the outset of Yosemite availability, so Apple is keeping with that timeline with today’s introduction of the software in the developer preview of OS X 10.10.3.
The Photos app replaces iPhoto, and will work with your iCloud Photo Library to sync up your desktop, iPhone and iPad pictures and videos. Edits on one device will be instantly available on Photos on your Mac, and things are organized in a way very similar to how they’re arranged on the iPhone currently, meaning you’ll be able to zoom out to see entire years at a time, as well as zoom in to specific moments and collections.
Navigation is handled via the top bar, letting you switch between those views, as well as check out the new Projects section, where you can work on the books, cards, calendars and other print orders that were a core part of iPhoto’s offering.
Built-in editing tools include a one-click enhance, like on mobile, as well as smart sliders for general categories and the ability to zoom in to specific measures like exposure or color balance to fine tune. A lot of these granular capabilities go some way to replacing Aperture, the professional photo lightbox and digital darkroom software which Apple has decided to sunset. Users can also apply filters to their images, like those found on mobile, and share via various services, including third-party extensions.
Basically, Photos on the desktop looks like the best parts of the mobile app writ large, combined with the on-demand print services that made iPhoto a handy tool for coming up with winning gifts for friends and family. I like the idea of a more lightweight experience that foregrounds the photos and does away with most of the interface and chrome, and I look forward to being able to use this instead of iPhoto, which honestly isn’t showing its age so well.
It’s available now for registered OS X developers, as mentioned, and will also be rolling out as a public beta via the official OS beta seed program later this spring. It’s also set for a spring launch for the broader consumer population, too, so expect it to be available for all for free in the coming months.