Apple Photos released as part of OS X 10.10.3 Beta

After removing mentions about its upcoming Photos app for OS X a few days ago, Apple today published a new website detailing the new features in the iPhoto (and Aperture) replacement. While the beta version for OS X 10.10.3 – which includes Photos – is available for testers only, Apple also made the new app available to some select news sites:

The app itself felt stable and looks a lot like an scaled up version of the iOS 8 Photos app. It works the same way when navigating between Photos, Shared Photos and Albums. The Photos view also has the same model of drilling down from a yearly overview, to location and date based automated photo groups.

One big gripe is the iCloud data storage used if you want to sync photos between your Mac and iOS devices. This requires a lot of space and Apple only gives you 5 GB, which is shared not only with the photos you want to upload but also iOS backups, iCloud mail and all apps that use iCloud to store anything online in Apple’s cloud service.

Apple offers a variety of upgraded storage options (from 20 GB for $0.99/month to 1 TB at $19.99/month) but that doesn’t take away from making 5 GB feel like it’s 2008. Sharing that little amount of free storage across multiple iOS devices gets tight quick.

It’d be a different story if Apple would give you 5 GB per active device. So if you had a Mac, iPhone and iPad using the same iCloud account, you’ll get a total of 15 GB for free.

When it comes to the actual editing Photos seems to be a mix of iPhoto and Aperture, while definitely aimed at users of the former. It’s not a professional app like Aperture, let alone Lightroom. If you’re looking for anything more that simple editing features, Adobe’s Lightroom is the place to look at. For regular users iPhoto should be more than enough though. It’s certainly possible that Apple could add more features over time like it did with Final Cut Pro X after it was released and everybody got up in arms over its missing features that were part of Final Cut Pro 7 before.

Photos should be a welcome update, coming some time later this spring, most likely with the release of OS X 10.10.3 which it was bundled with in today’s developer release.