Apple’s new Photos app means big future changes for free photo storage

Photos for Mac

Apple yesterday released a preview of its upcoming all-new Photos app for Mac, which replaces iPhoto and Aperture with a simpler all-in-one photo editor and library manager. Most of the discussion of Photos focused on the huge number of changes from iPhoto and Aperture, burying one very important detail: Apple is changing the way it handles cloud-based photo storage.

Before Photos, Apple offered free storage of photos with limitations in a feature called Photo Stream, which didn’t count against iCloud storage. But the new Photos app uses Apple’s beta iCloud Photo Library feature, which was recently added in iOS 8.1. iCloud Photo Library promises to let you synchronize your entire photo collection including edits and albums across all of your devices… but you have to share your iCloud storage with photos, and album syncing and edits don’t apply to the free 1,000 – 25,000 image storage of Photo Stream.

As most long-time iOS users know, the free 5GB of iCloud storage Apple offers is often not enough to store much more than a single device backup, and for many that will mean no spare room for a photo collection. Consequently, Apple is suggesting that users should buy additional iCloud storage, paying monthly fees to store and sync their photos. As the Photos app is rolling out, Apple is allowing users to stick with the old Photo Stream feature and continue using the new Photos app without turning on the iCloud Photo Library. But it remains to be seen if that will be an option long-term once Photos is released publicly and how users will respond when they find out their free 5GB iCloud storage isn’t cutting it for their photo collection…

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More diverse Emoji characters likely coming with OS X 10.10.3

While the highlight of the OS X 10.10.3 pre-release seed yesterday was the iPhoto replacement app simply called Photos, the beta version of the OS X software update also contains changes to how and which Emoji characters are presented.

First, the new Emoji picker found in the OS X 10.10.3 beta has been redesigned with a new window that allows you to scroll through each category of Emoji characters. The new design is similar to some third-party Emoji keyboards for iOS 8 including Emoji++ as sections no longer require choosing between various pages of characters.

Next, it appears Apple is preparing to include more diverse Emoji characters in the next OS X release as various place holders have been spotted on the beta’s current character picker. Read more

Apple releases OS X 10.10.3 pre-release seed to testers with all-new Photos app

Photos for Mac iCloud Photo Library

Apple is rolling out the first pre-release seed of OS X 10.10.3 to testers and developers today including the all-new Photos app with support for iCloud Photo Library beta. Previously, iCloud Photo Library was only available for desktop users through iCloud.com using a web app. The new Photos app replaces iPhoto while Aperture is also no longer being developed. Apple first announced the new Photos app at WWDC 2014 and later added that development would no longer continue on either iPhoto or Aperture. Adobe released a tool last fall to help Aperture users migrate photos to their pro app Lightroom. Read more

The Next Episode: Apple’s plans for Beats-based music service revealed

CueBeats

Six months after buying the subscription music service Beats Music, Apple is actively working to launch a completely new paid streaming music service that will compete with Spotify and Rdio. Yet to be named, the new service is entirely Apple-designed, yet leverages Beats’ technologies and music content, a collaboration that has thus far led to personnel challenges and delays. Multiple sources within Apple and the music industry have provided the first in-depth details of Apple’s upcoming streaming service, which we share below.

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Seagate zaps Thunderbolt drives, LaCie to continue lineup

Seagate-Thunderbolt-drive

Seagate will discontinue its lineup of Thunderbolt storage products in favor of pushing Thunderbolt under its premium LaCie brand, 9to5Mac has learned.

A company spokesperson confirmed the move noting that the product life cycles for the company’s USM technology, which allowed integration of interfaces like Thunderbolt through adapters, is “coming to a conclusion.” Read more

Apple’s Back to School sale returns to Australia and New Zealand w/ gift card promo

AU Apple Back to Uni

Apple’s annual Back to School sale in Australia and New Zealand has gone live with a promotion for qualifying students to receive Apple Store credit with the purchase of a Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Similar to last year, the Back to School sale includes the usual education pricing on Macs and iPads, but this year Apple is including Apple Store gift cards rather than App Store gift cards like last year. Read more

Apple releases OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 with WiFi fixes, iCloud Drive in Time Machine

Screenshot 2015-01-27 12.59.10

In line with our report from earlier this week, Apple has released OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 via the Mac App Store. The update brings the changes that we detailed in our previous report:

  • Resolves an issue that may cause WiFi to disconnect
  • Resolves an issue that may cause web pages to load slowly
  • Fixes an issue that caused Spotlight to load remote email content when the preference was disabled in Mail
  • Improves audio and video sync when using Bluetooth headphones
  • Adds the ability to browse iCloud Drive in Time Machine
  • Improves VoiceOver speech performance
  • Resolves an issue that causes VoiceOver to echo characters when entering text on a web page
  • Addresses an issue that may cause the input method to switch languages unexpectedly
  • Improves stability and security in Safari

Apple also released iOS 8.1.3 with various bug fixes today.

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Tim Cook agreed to allow Chinese government to conduct security audits on Apple devices – local media

iphone-6-plus-ifixit-teardown-1

Beijing News reports that Tim Cook has agreed to allow China’s State Internet Information Office to carry out security audits of Apple products sold in the country. Cook reportedly made the offer during his meeting with China’s Cyberspace Administration minister Lu Wei in December.

China has long expressed suspicion over the security of Apple products, seemingly resulting from frosty relations with the U.S. Government. A state-run TV station in China described the iPhone as a “national security concern” last July due to its location-tracking capabilities. Apple responded by pointing out that location data is stored on the phone, not on Apple’s servers, and is encrypted …  Read more

Alleged photos of 12-inch MacBook Air lid and display appear online

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Photos of what is claimed to be the lid and display for the upcoming 12-inch MacBook Air have been published by iFanr9to5Mac exclusively reported earlier this month that Apple was planning to launch a mid-size variant of its notebook computer lineup, and these photos seem to provide even further evidence of that being that the case.

The legitimacy of the photos has not been determined, but you can see several additional photos below, including shots comparing it to current Apple devices such as the iPad and existing MacBooks.

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Amazon releases Kindle Textbook Creator for Mac, a cross-platform iBooks Author competitor

Kindle Textbook Creator Beta Mac

Apple first released its iBooks Author Mac app for creating interactive textbooks for the iBooks Store back in 2012, and now Amazon is delivering its own textbook composing Mac app for publishing to the Kindle Store. Kindle Textbook Creator, announced today, is available in beta for both Mac and PC with the competitive benefit of publishing to the cross-platform Kindle Store, which is available on iOS, Mac, Android, and more. Read more