photos-mac-keynote-5

During the 2014 WWDC keynote, Apple demoed a very early build of its upcoming Photos application for Mac. The app will be available next year for OS X Yosemite, but for now all we really know is that its arrival will bring about the end of both iPhoto and Aperture. That news drew the attention of everyone who uses either of those applications, with many saying Apple no longer cared about pro-level users.

In an attempt to quell the outrage, Apple released a statement to ArsTechnica saying that Photos for Mac would still support pro features, but what exactly constituties a “pro-level” feature in Apple’s eyes? According to the statement, Photos will feature support for third-party plugins, library search, and advanced editing. If that sounds a little vague to you, it’s probably because Apple doesn’t really want to answer the question.

The first look we got at Photos for Mac covered a few basic editing tricks: color and lighting adjustments. It certainly wasn’t anything groundbreaking, and the choice of editing tools mirrors what’s available in iOS 8. In other words, the selection isn’t that impressive. At least not that we’ve seen.

Probably the best look we’ve gotten so far at Photos comes from an image on Apple’s website:

newphotos

Even that doesn’t do much to ease the uncertainty of users who might be looking for something closer to, you know, actual pro-level image editing. It seems that while Apple is claiming that pro users will feel at home because of things like “library search,” the truth is that most will end up frustrated with the company’s insistence on a unified experience across platforms where everything needs to conform to the capabilties of the lowest common denominator.

Of course, the Photos applications is still in development, and it’s possible that the screenshots we see now could differ wildly from what’s eventually launched next year (though it probably won’t). A cursory glance over the Aperture features web page quickly reveals a bevy of features that don’t appear to be included in this new software, especially under the “image adjustments” section. You also likely won’t find support for iPhoto’s printed products in the new app.

One interesting note here is that pro users aren’t the only ones who will likely be disappointed with Apple’s decision to end development on its existing photo products. It doesn’t look like iPhoto or Aperture will be updated with support for Apple’s upcoming iCloud Photo Library feature in iOS 8. As a result, those who make the jump from basic iCloud Photo Streams to the full photo library syncing feature will lose the ability to wirelessly sync their photos between Mac and iOS until Photos for Mac arrives with support for the photo library feature.

Of course, there are always issues that arise when making a significant switch like this, but it seems like a funny thing to overlook. Perhaps the iCloud Photo Library feature will be delayed on iOS until the Mac client is ready, like iCloud Keychain was before Mavericks was released.

Like it or not, Apple is making big changes to its lineup of photo editing products—though, given what we know of the software so far, it seems many power users will end up firmly on the “or not” side.

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59 Responses to “OS X’s Aperture/iPhoto replacement ‘Photos’ appears to focus on iOS 8’s editing features, not pro tools”

  1. I’m glad they are ditching iPhoto, the new Photos app fits in much better with the way Apple are going. This will just be one of those cases where Apple rips everything out and it’s only until the second version that feature wise it matches the software it replaces. But every now and then ripping something out and replacing with it something new, it always ends up being a good thing.

  2. This article needs to be corrected. Apple never suggested that users should move to Adobe. That was a spurious report made on TechCrunch which has since been withdrawn.

  3. I don’t get why Apple feels the need to dumb things down to make everything seamless. The comment about conforming to the abilities of the lowest common denominator has been talked about before. Apple tried this with Pages and such and there was such a backlash that Apple actually reinstated features afterward.

    My worry is that Apple is going to make their OSX platform less and less so its just like iOS. Even though Apple’s platform is a walled garden of sorts, it brought specific strengths to make it a viable competitor in the computer market even though its a lot more expensive then a PC. You take those away and one is left wondering what is the point of paying vastly more for a computer.

    I’m beginning to wonder if Apple is doing this on purpose to eventually phase out the Mac or OSX all together. For me, from where I stand, if Apple continues down this path. I’ll be choosing between paying more for a platform where its just more expensive to have where and I need now to go outside to make it as robust as it was before without having to go outside or pay less for the same hardware spec’d system and still have to go outside to make it a robust setup. The photo business is a prime example. Aperature and iPhoto gave a lot for customers to use. Apple so far seems to be taking that away and giving customers the limited iOS version of photos. Apple is also now telling customers to go for Adobe. Apple had a robust system and now takes it away and tells customers to go outside (Adobe) to get the same functions back. I’m just wondering what Apple’s thought process is.

  4. Reblogged this on Taste of Apple and commented:
    Aside from the obvious issues with dropping pro apps, I’m super excited for this new photos app for Mac. It looks like a big step up from iPhoto. In iPhoto everything was okay, up until your picture library grew too big and then all that would happen was a great deal of loading. I’m looking forward to seeing how this “rebuilt from the ground up” photo app runs. Hopefully, as good and smooth as it looks.

  5. Hey Mike, you left out “Opinion” in your title. But then again, you leave that out on all of the other bullshit articles you post.

  6. Why are you guys in denial? Apple only cares about anything related to iPhone/iOS! Couldn’t you see it with iWork?

  7. ‘support for 3rd party extensions’ is a key here. This continues the spirit of developer love from WWDC. I also wouldn’t be too surprised if they allowed 3rd party apps on the Mac to support the iCloud Photo Library.

    One of the themes of WWDC was that Apple was good at providing basic ‘dumbed down’ apps that ship on the device. Instead of competing against developers they focus their energy on extensibility and doing whatever they can to help developers make better versions of those apps. This is a good thing.

    FCP is an enigma because it is one of the rare apps that Apple really kicks ass on and dominates the market. So I wouldn’t expect the same fate as Aperture, which was on pretty equal footing as Lightroom.

    • “FCP is an enigma because it is one of the rare apps that Apple really kicks ass on and dominates the market”

      You can add Logic Pro X to that list.

      • adampardy says:

        Cant say for Logic, but I’d say FCP in no way dominates the market. I’m an engineer for a major broadcaster and we have ditched FCP 7(X was barely considered) for Premiere. I don’t know of anyone who uses it, certainly not as there main edit system.

    • Agree with @adampardy here. Comments like this reflect the Apple “PR machine” rather than the market that we pros are actually, you know, DOING work in. I had several extended “clients” (folks I have consulted for in the past, including PC to Mac “Switchers”) using Final Cut and every…SINGLE…ONE ditched it after the FCX debacle. Two were also on Aperture and went to Lightroom straightaway too.

      It is odd to me how Apple catered to this crowd while they were “dying”, but then hung them out to dry once they got a bigger revenue stream. From Mac Pros to the Pro Tools, Apple has disappointed over and over and over after having really sparked changes earlier in the Pro markets. Which is a shame, considering that these folks were good Mac users, good Mac buyers, and often were an “invisible hand” of influence for Apple. At this point, Apple had best hope the money mine doesn’t dry up; because if it does, they have bitten too many loyal hands in their greed. ($150B money pile means they should be more than comfortable extending their role in the Pro market, not receding from it.)

      Finally, to another comment critical of @mikebeas, saying he should label his stuff “Opinion”, Mike, screw them. I’ve watched for too many years as Apple has done THE SAME SHIT, using PR fluff to bypass actual hard reporting. It is NOT “opinion” to point out that Apple is pulling the rug out from under a core demo that they courted just a few years ago, and it CERTAINLY isn’t “opinion” to be critical of their lack of transparency on the development track of these new products. Perhaps the fanboys don’t have the expertise to understand this, but that kind of information exchange is EXPECTED in the pro market with EVERY vendor, Apple has just seemingly gotten a pretty wide path…up to this point. I don’t think their actions reflect they deserve it, and I think more critical reporting, even if it DOES verge on “opinion”, is necessary to get Apple to either change their ways or inform the users whose products to use (which would NOT be Apple’s).

      • Excellent comment, couldn’t have said it better myself!

        Note to Logic and remaining FCP users: Apple says NOW that they aren’t ditching the other pro applications, but once you see the updates getting longer intervals, grab some education on competing products and their workflows. Just saying…

  8. This confirms that Apple is more a consumer company, rather than prosumer\power user\enterprise\other fancy word you want to use. I enjoy using their machines, operating systems (to some extent), but their first party applications are always a bit dull, and their enterprise tools aren’t too flash (Apple remote desktop, system management tools (which is why Google had to write their own)).

    However, I say this because I mainly focus on Enterprise, so it’s purely my opinion, not fact.

  9. tilalabubakr says:

    1- I hope other developers will come up with enormous amount of plugins like (HDR, Individual Colour Adjustment, Noise Reduction, Brushes, etc…)
    2- What about face recognition? Is it going to be ditched as well?

    • PMZanetti says:

      Why would anyone assume that core features that previously powered Faces & Places would go anywhere?

      From what I can see, Photos will finally be the ultimate app. Sensible, automatic organization that requires NO help at all…..Unbelievably powerful and almost magical photo enhancing as already seen in iOS 8 (one of the most understated capabilities of the new OS)…..and best, 3rd party plugins to enable a whole host of other features.

  10. sardonick says:

    Bollocks. More watering down.

  11. This article is just full of negativity, but based on … ? (Nothing)

    • rogifan says:

      You would think a site called 9to5Mac would be more Apple friendly. But this site is full of negativity and bitterness. The worst example so far, claiming Apple redesigned an app just to spite this site for leaking information on it.

      • thejuanald says:

        Wow, it’s like you all want 9to5Mac to just praise every single thing Apple does, no matter how bad it is.

      • so much arrogance and entitlement in this article and almost no fact.

      • I don’t expect them to be all rainbows and unicorns about everything but I have come to realize every time I read an article written by Mike I can expect for there to be a negative slant to the whole thing… Really it is just click bate that is all.

  12. Stefan Amann says:

    What about RAW Pictures? Do we know anything about RAW and Photos, yet?

  13. I think Apple has realized that it hasn’t offered a high quality experience with things such as iCloud. I see the departure from making non-standard software a business Apple is looking to move away from. Personally, before Yosemite is finally released in public Alpha, Apple will announce that is will no longer continue development on Final Cut. I think that this transition started with including iWork for free with new Apple devices. They are only going to make software for their products which is included at the time of shipment. Currently, iWork doesn’t hold a candle to Office. Apple is struggling to launch new products like iTunes Radio, the rumoured iWatch, an updated Apple TV as is and a clear, concise focus on the most important projects is what is causing this lack of development. I don’t think Apple is interested in hiring substandard employees. If they can’t poach the quality away from Adobe or Microsoft, they have to shift their focus.

    • Microsoft would be the last place I would think Apple is trying to poach employees from.. What have they created lately that is worth anything? Surface? Ah, what is that? Windows 8, bigger flop than FCP X. The main reason that Office is so popular is only because it has been the go to for the past 30 years, it isn’t because they have come out with something ground breaking in the realm of Word Processing, Spread Sheets and Presentation software. Because if they had everyone wouldn’t be leaving Office for free alternatives.

  14. Stopping the development of Aperture is one thing. It might be okay for prosumers and most of the real pros have already switched. We don’t know yet.

    The problem for me (as a prosumer) is Apple’s horrible communication: I definitely would like to stay in their ecosystem but announcing the EOL of Aperture and a new photo app without any further specification is inexcusable. This uncertainty about Apple’s plans on photography has started 2 or 3 years ago when Aperture did not get any significant updates and will last a few months more.

    It does not feel good for me as a customer. Tim Cook usually so proud of the customer satisfaction stat – he should take a look at it for the subset of photo enthusiasts.

  15. 1. It’s not done yet. If Apple still needs this long to finish the app, it can only get better than it is right now.

    2. It’s already (clearly) more powerful than its iOS 8 counterpart.

    3. Think iWork. The suite got dumbed down to the lowest common denominator to get the consistency and iCloud sync right. Since that happened, Apple started adding the missing (and new) features again to the Mac version.

    • A horrible approach when you think about the fact it took them 5 years for a new version of iWork for Mac, something that used to get YEARLY updates.

      We can try to sugarcoat it all we want, in the end their communication is lousy at best.
      Hey, it’s cool with me when they want to keep their latest and greatest products and features a secret, but when they leave you hanging in their, unsure of when your software reaches EOL and potentially becoming a semi-closed silo of data, then you really start getting funny feelings. Especially when you’ve experienced this before already.

      Seriously, for all those many things Apple really gets right, sometimes massively better than so many others, there are some really nasty catches with them as well.

  16. You can’t have such a complex software (especially in photo editing) that can satisfy both consumers and professionals. That is just not possible, professionals need completely different UI and UX to operate efficiently.

    Seriously, Apple can spend $3b on a very doubtful Beats acquisition, but cannot hire enough engineers to develop Aperture X?

    • They stopped caring, man.
      Developers seem to have to fill the voids now, which sucks tremendously… I loved the integrated workflow of synching, viewing, managing, editing in one app.

      I’m not a big sucker of plugins (adds dependencies and worries about compatibility, yuck!), but requiring me to actually shop around for apps to fill the voids… Seriously?

      One of the key reasons I came to Mac was that I could get many things in one thing. Integration you know. Now everything gets separated and linked and patched together from all over the place, wait a minute… I know that approach from Windows!

  17. Ditching iPhoto is the right move. The introduction of iPhoto on iOS was a mistake in the first place. People were used to organizing their photos in iPhoto on the Mac before. Then on iOS it is suddenly called purely Photos with a paid iPhotos app in the App store, that apparent feature was the editing capabilities that “Photos” lacked.

    It confused me before and it keeps confusing me. I’m glad Apple is evening out the photo experience across their platforms even if it comes at the cost of some pro features. Maybe they can save their goodwill with the pro community by introducing some awesome way to integrate third party plugins.

    Next up: Unlimited photo cloud storage for free (–> Yahoo, Microsoft).

  18. By the way, awesome UI for editing on the iPad. Really convenientto have the controls on the side when holding the device. But I hope there’s an option to put the UI on the other side, not all of us are lefties.

  19. rogifan says:

    So more anti-Apple garbage from 9to5Mac based on nothing concrete. How about you guys wait and see what Apple delivers before you trash it?

    • gpdiller says:

      Apple is discontinuing a pro app that thousands of people use daily with no details for those users as to how that will impact their workflow. Given what Apple did to FCP and iWork and given Apple’s general dismissal of pro users I wouldn’t say criticism of Apple at this point is unwarranted.

      • FCX is a much better program now then previous versions. So Apple fixed that. They also said that that they are not dropping the other pro apps.

        I will say this again here. You still were able to use the previous versions of those Apps, upon the new apps release. So, while iWork was handicapped at the onset, you still were free to use the previous version without an issue and continue like nothing changed.

      • thejuanald says:

        FCX is awful compared to previous versions.

  20. Glenn Hessel says:

    I’m wondering why Apple even bothered to mention that Photos is coming “early next year”. It’s a little out of character for them to announce future products so far in advance. If they’d kept their mouth shut and waited to unveil the fully-formed product at the same time they announced abandoning Aperture, perhaps there would be much less backlash when it is known, exactly, what the capabilities of Photos is.

    • probably so they can see complaints etc. They also learned something from the iWork release last year. They made the release and then got the complaints. They then worked to get features added back in that users really wanted. So, by letting the cat out of the bag now, they have time to address the majority of concerns being voiced by the users now, prior to release. But even if the App itself falls in the middle, they may be working with a 3rd party developer, who is privy to the new Photo App, to bring some additional functionality to pro users on day 1. Who knows.

      But, I also don’t get why anyone is freaking out now or is making rash decisions to just ship and go to Lightroom etc. Your Aperture still works and will work for at least another 12months from the release of photos/Yosemite. This was no different then iWork. You still could/can still use the old Apps. No one has to make any decisions. In fact you are better off waiting anyway. . Even if Photos is mainly stripped down, compared to Aperture, it doesn’t mean that within the 12months, you won’t have functionality added back by Apple or some 3rd party developer. Lightroom doesn’t have any way to retain all the info from your Aperture Library. They may build out tools for this, but until that point why change anything. If you were happy, keep doing what you were doing. RAW support is built into the OS not Aperture and those Updates will still happen. Lets all calm down and not make any rash decisions. Stating features you want or don’t want to loose is important. That is what should be communicated.

  21. The only thing missing in Lightroom is the ability to create shared photo streams. Here’s hoping Apple will open up the iCloud photo library to 3rd party applications, especially now that Aperture is dead.

  22. I think people fail to look at the methodical approach Apple takes. They release a feature (limited) to gain traction and then enhance it in the next OS or hardware release. So, go back to a year ago. Apple releases Touch ID in a limited fashion. It then has a smaller subset of users to ensure everything is working properly. In addition, its functionality is limited (in this case just phone locking and unlocking). They then can make adjustments and perfect for the subsequent release across all devices with enhanced OS API’s. It has always been this way.

    Apple released the revised iWork Apps last year. Personally, I think Apple probably would have wanted to wait until this year to do this but IMHO they were trying to gain traction (since it was now free) since MS was still reluctant to bring office to the App Store. They knew the day was coming and wanted to pounce. The old iWork was still functional and even though the apps were limited at the start, it was a safe move to test out the new platform.

    Now we are on year two. Apple is now looking to move that functionality to photos. But, like the case with Touch Id, Siri, etc. the feature set and API’s are increased over last year. One now has 3rd party extention support (both in iOS and OSX). That wasn’t the case before. So now you could possibly even see extensions for even iWork Apps to improve functionality there as well. Ability for 3rd part apps to use the same core library. This too was never the case (On iOS anyway). Apps would pull the photos or documents into their own libraries and store them there. This is huge. Not only can 3rd party extensions be accessed from inside the original core app, in this case photos, but you could now use a separate 3rd party App entirely and still access and work with the original library. Thus, someone could create an Aperture equivalent or something better and use the same library. Lets not overlook the iCloud overhaul. You now have access directly to your iCloud Storage in the finder. You can upload anything organize anything, etc. This was all stuff that could not be done previously. The ability to inexpensively add additional cloud storage is another huge plus. Also, Apple has made it cheaper and easier for developers to make iCloud based Apps. Add up all the part together, you have a very powerful foundation and fantastic tools for developers and a common file system.

  23. telecastle says:

    The unified experience and features between iOS and OS X is the most important part. Seamless syncing between the two platforms is just as important. The advanced editing features are not as important in my view. All Apple needs to do is to provide a good API plugin interface so that the digital proofs can be managed and synced properly by the Photos app (on iOS and OS X), and all advanced edits could be managed by third-party applications that could pull the proofs from the Photos database and store edits locally in their own database. It would be up to third-party developers to create their own ecosystem to manage and sync edits made by their applications (on iOS, OS X, and perhaps Windows). Apple will be responsible for properly managing and syncing proofs and non-advanced edits that the Photo app will be able to do natively.

    Let’s be honest, 90% of Aperture users never do any advanced edits, so the Photo app will serve them just fine. Those who are seriously into advanced photo editing don’t use Aperture anyway; instead, they use Photoshop or other advanced photo editing tools. So, we are talking maybe 5% (at most) of Aperture user base that will feel that the new Photos app is not advanced enough for them.

    • Your point is pretty much in-line with what I wrote. However, I am not sure about the part about “It would be up to third-party developers to create their own ecosystem and manage and sync edits made by their applications”. I believe that the ecosystem is one and the same. 1 Photos library. Its all non-destructive edits, so the originals are always intact (Full reolution originals are saved including Raw to iCloud) any edits or modifications done in either a 3rd party plugin or using a 3rd party app, which accesses your photo’s library, saves all of those edits back to the library in a separate file, same as Aperture.

      All of those edits are sync’d to all of your devices, with the same iCloud ID. So you can view all of those photo’s on all of your devices. You would need the App installed on the other devices to make further enhancements using that 3rd party app. If you purchase that App on the App store then all of your devices of that type (be it an iOS app or a Mac App) would have access to that same software via the app store. So maybe you edit using a 3rd party plugin on the Mac, you will see that edit in your photos library on your iPhone. However you can’t make further corrections on your iPhone, if that vendor doesn’t have an iOS version of that App. IMHO this makes sense. Also, the Photos app for iOS can automatically be set to just keep high resolution images in the cloud and lightweight versions on the device, to conserve space.

      The new iCloud Developer framework will allow the kind of 3rd party Apps and Integration that many had been asking for. Like Aperture for the iPad. Things like the ability to offload their photos onto an iPad when remote. Do some tagging, organization, etc and then do the editing back in the office. Thus as the photos are uploaded off the iPad to Photos, they are sent up to the cloud and back down to the mac in the office seamlessly.

  24. thejuanald says:

    I’m really glad they are getting rid of iPhotos because that’s a horrible program for photo management. Photos looks like a good program for that aspect, but getting rid of Aperture is a horrible idea. I’m by no means a professional photographer, but I love Aperture. I can imagine people who have better use of Aperture being upset that Apple is completely dumbing down their “professional” software.

  25. What the HELL are people on about when they say “This proves Apple is a consumer company” or that “Apple only cares about iOS”. Seriously people. THINK before your write trash. So, Microsoft is a consumer company too? So, both of them make a OS that runs PROFESSIONAL apps from third parties (Lightroom, Premiere, Capture One, etc…) It just so happens that the FREE software that Apple supplies is far better than the FREE trash Microsoft supplies. Also, Apple do make PROFESSIONAL software such as LOGIC and Final Cut.

    • thejuanald says:

      Final Cut was severely hampered with Final Cut X, so it kind of seems like a trend. They’ve taken a step back from the original Final Cut X, though, because of so much outcry, but it still is a troubling trend.

  26. Josh Mobley says:

    I’m not worried. As a Logic Pro user, it’s obvious they will continue to develop the app. The user base is massive and it’s the only real competitor to pro tools. Each update has added very powerful functionality without dumbing things down. Aperture just never seemed to take off and I don’t think the user base was nearly as large as the logic user base. My take? After the fiasco of that final cut release, any pro app is going to be released as a pro app. Aperture lost to Lightroom and it’s as simple as that.

  27. b9bot says:

    Based on little or no facts since Photos won’t be released until next year. There’s a lot still to do and Apple has only begun to work on it. Jumping to conclusions at this early stage is simply dumb. There will probably be a lot that IOS8 and the desktop app will do the same but it is way to early to say there will be no Pro tools in the desktop version. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

  28. This is FCP X all over again except with iPhoto. This decision is even worse than removing the PCIe slots from a mac “pro” (pro machine without PCIe 3.0, yup!). Lol. The “new” apple…sigh.

      • You’re like the car dealer who says “Don’t worry about your favorite feature being stripped, we have that as an option now… let me check the price list and run the numbers…”

        It’s another ~350 bucks.
        No, people who buy Mac Pros aren’t on tight budgets, but that’s not the point.
        I like the compact size of Apple’s new powerhouse just like the next guy, but it really comes at a price, if not just for adding hardware parts externally now and having more cables and devices hanging on your now “semi-portable” computer.
        Suddenly the two-handled “old” 2008 Mac Pro seems like a nicer design.
        Yes, it’s a desktop, but my desktop certainly doesn’t look tidier with all those drives, some cards and whatnot flying about and isn’t that one of Apple’s goals? Less cables? I mean, wireless keyboards and mice have been standard configuration for many years now and there are more examples of that ethos.

  29. PMZanetti says:

    I’d love to know what Mike Beasley thinks “Pro Image Editing” is.

    Do you have NO comprehension whatsoever of how powerful iOS 8’s photo editing magic is? And how that will translate to Photos.app?

    I like how you throw up a screenshot that “has a lot on it” as your way of saying, THIS is what photo editing requires: Lots of useless palettes.

  30. Sebastian Rasch says:

    I like it. For pro features, I was using third party software anyway.

  31. matthewpoxon says:

    I can understand Apple replacing iPhone with a Photos app which contains all the basic features of iPhone but integrates with iCloud. What I cannot understand is why drop Aperture??? We know Aperture works with the same Library as iPhoto allowing people to seamlessly upgrade from iPhoto to Aperture so why not have Photos app and Aperture co-exist to keep the pro users happy.

    The mac is designed for creativity and it seems madness to drop Aperture.

  32. Jeff Raines says:

    Apple are geniuses when it comes to marketing. The internet is full of speculation about the new iphoto replacement and I am sure that carefully controlled “leaks” will continue to appear. The suspense grows and grows. It’s a good technique – look how it’s building interest in the new iphone and iwatch. I was just about to download a Lightroom free trial when I heard about this. Now, I’ve decided to wait, hoping that I will be pleasantly surprised with the new application. In the meantime, let the hype continue!

  33. Will Kelsall says:

    I’m getting sick of Apple these days…..anyone else? Where do I migrate to though?