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Apple took down Photos for OS X preview pages, but launch plan still on track


Apple made a small change to its website last year upon the public release of OS X Yosemite that has led some to question the release date of for Mac. Originally announced for an “early 2015” release, the Mac app has had virtually every mention scrubbed from, save for a single help article that now lists it as being “available at a later date.”

Following a tip from a reader, we noted the change in the original version of this article. We’ve since learned that the application’s release is still on track via an update to OS X planned for “early 2015.” What does “early 2015” mean? According to Tim Cook’s comments today: by the end of April.

The Photos banner that formerly appeared on the Continuity page

The Photos banner that formerly appeared on the Yosemite Preview Page

To coincide with the upcoming release, Apple announced that iPhoto and Aperture are scheduled to be discontinued. Competitors like Adobe have already started putting plans in place to help users transfer their photo libraries into Lightroom.

Meanwhile, Apple has continued to expand the feature set for its web-based iCloud Photos app, adding support for uploading new photos, as well as tweaks like the ability to zoom in on images.

Thanks for the tip, Garrett!

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  1. ezfe - 8 years ago

    We’ve all been complaining Apple rushes software too much. This is what we get.

    I’m not complaining.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      You know, that’s a good way to look at it. Hopefully this thing will be solid when it ships.

    • Also people would get really angry if Apple somehow losses an important family photo. There isn’t much room for errors on this.
      We also have to remember Apple just announced Swift at the same keynote. Maybe the Photos team decided to make in Swift instead in Objective-C after the keynote, because it’s a new software and will be there for many years so they didn’t wanted to be already obsolete on its release date. That also would result in delays.

    • PMZanetti - 8 years ago

      What a great outlook that completely lets Apple off the hook for not living up to their promises, and seemingly, not able to complete basic software rollouts anymore.

      • virtualstorm - 8 years ago

        Apple, HIRE MORE people and invest in more infrastructure! I am sure you can pay from that $178B pile!

      • Asbjørn Ulsberg - 8 years ago

        @virtualstorm, More people won’t help. Read about “The Mythical Man-Month” and ponder on its very basic premise: “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”.

    • frikova - 8 years ago

      Yeah, because throwing people and money at problems solves everything! It works for companies like Microsoft… Oh wait, it doesn’t.

  2. Avenged110 - 8 years ago

    Really, how hard is it to build an app containing mostly features you’ve built before and primarily just displays a grid of photos?

    • Richard Alvarez - 8 years ago

      I don’t know. Why don’t you take a crack at it and let us know?

      • I agree with OP, but when asked the same question, I would open Chrome > Facebook

      • Avenged110 - 8 years ago

        Maybe because I’m not a team of world class software engineers getting paid an awesome salary from a company with seemingly endless hoards of spending cash to build an app that, based on what has been shown, is not terribly complex for engineers of their skill levels that contains features not largely dissimilar from what the company has done several times over…

    • Sounds like you don’t know much about software development.

    • Smigit - 8 years ago

      Not trivial. The reason we are getting the application is because they needed to do a complete overhaul of the existing application which was getting long in the tooth. They’re also probably trying to keep not only the general home users happy, but a subset at least of the Aperature users happy which can be a fine balancing act in itself. Many Aperature users will sit on the old software or move to Lightroom, but I’m sure more than a few will at least give the Photos app a try.

      I’d also suspect the new iCloud integrations would be complex and it’s one area where you really don’t want corruption occurring resulting in a library being blown away or whatever.

      • Avenged110 - 8 years ago

        I wouldn’t say it’s trivial, but they’re not inventing something completely different. They should have at least some experience building a photos app/adding iCloud integration to an app. Not saying they should rush it, just of all things to take so long to build…

      • Smigit - 8 years ago

        Yeah I’m sure previous experience helps and I imagine a lot of the code around filters and the like could be ported over fairly seamlessly. Hopefully the development time equates to a quality application.

    • iJonni - 8 years ago

      The big problem I believe is Library. Most people who’s iPhoto library that I’ve seen has gotten out of hand have over 10K photos stored. This is only increasing and becoming normal. iPhoto library wasn’t built for that mang photos and aperture only solved it by letting you have multiple libraries in one instance of the app. Let them take their time. But get it right.

    • Asbjørn Ulsberg - 8 years ago

      If you’ve used iPhoto with more than a few hundred events containing a few thousand pictures, you know how that hog handles it. I assume that the bulk of the code inside iPhoto is very old and written in a synchronous fashion for computers with one CPU core. Meaning most of the code within iPhoto is useless in today’s multi-core, asynchronous computing environment. Which again means that most of the code needs to be rewritten. From scratch. And, in Swift instead of Objective-C, I reckon.

      And iPhoto is doing much more than just “display a grid of photos”. I expect the Photos app to be for iPhoto what Final Cut Pro X was to Final Cut Pro 7. A complete rewrite, from the bottom up, with modern code and practices that will run much more smoothly on modern hardware. Doing this properly takes time.

  3. frikova - 8 years ago

    I just hope that this was a result of moving resources to tune OS X and iOS. I would have no problem with that, I would rather have a better OS than a new Photos app.

  4. Nathan Woods (@4wdphoto) - 8 years ago

    I’m bummed to hear this, because I really do think the concept of photo storage is “broken” and can be fixed. I like the promise of iCloud, but I love Lightroom and even Bridge. I absolutely hate being unable to select images from a folder in OSX features like Mail and Contacts, etc… Having my images locked away in iTunes or locked away in a folder for other apps is like having the Great Divide in my digital media archives. This is chaos and it needs to end! I am so ready to dump iPhoto and have my phone’s Photostream sync to a folder I dictate!

    • Martin Stær Andersen - 8 years ago

      Apple has had a lot of problems with their cloud services, I expect the delay is because Photos is all about iCloud and they are still having reliability issues. Experimenting with iCloud, some photos sync across devices, but random ones don’t, same with Photostream, although if I go to, they are there. Cloud syncing is by no means easy, it is one of the hardest things to pull off cleanly in fact, but others, in particularly companies like Dropbox, has managed to do it reliably for a long time. I’ve never used Amazon, Microsoft, or similar cloud services, but can only imagine they are more reliable.
      As for Photos, I moveed to Aperture a long time ago, and have all my photos on external drives in a hierarchy of my choosing. I can open it in iPhoto seamlessly, you just don’t have the control like you do in Aperture. I’ve tried Lightroom a few times, I switched to it exclusively for a while to give it the best chance I could, but I just wash;t happy with its clunky Modules paradigm, and whereas auto-adjust works wonders in Aperture, it worked really badly in Lightroom 4, which I was trialling. Loved its editing capabilities, not so much its file management and poor tagging abilities. It doesn’t fit my workflow, which worries me as Apple announced Aperture’s demise without a clear statement of intent for photographers like me going forward, other than to say Photos would support Aperture’s adjustments and tagging.
      I fully expect the first version of Photos to be half-baked and lacking all features, which has been their modus operandi of late with the revamped iWork etc.
      If the one mockup screenshot of Photos is to something to go by, then there is a lot of potential and possibly something to be excited about. But I am hesitant and sceptical going by their record of late, and as I said expect it to be a slow start as features are added gradually.
      For now, I am happy with Aperture, and will keep using it for as long as it will work and I am satisfied Photos is a worthwhile replacement. Otherwise I am in for a world of pain moving to Lightroom, which I dread.

      • Little known fact, most cloud services run on Amazon’s Azure network. So most of the backbone is taken care of by Amazon. Apple is trying to step away from that, I think.

      • Asbjørn Ulsberg - 8 years ago

        @JPJonesbonhomme, Azure is a cloud service from Microsoft. Amazon’s cloud services are called AWS (Amazon Web Services), which includes EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), S3 (Simple Storage Service), EMR (Elastic MapReduce), CloudFront, etc.

        I believe Apple only uses Microsoft Azure for CDN (Content Delivery Network) of static files like images, CSS, JavaScript, etc. The bulk of the iCloud service and its data is most likely hosted inside its Maiden, N.C. data center.

  5. Giovanni Longo - 8 years ago

    iPhoto is so loved by people so Apple CAN’T fail with the new Photos App.

    Considering the actual level of the “quality control” of the software I think we can consider this like a good news.

  6. 2015. The year, a smartwatch is getting onto the market earlier than a simple photo album software….

  7. Will Cate - 8 years ago

    The Apple software nightmare continues…

  8. Not the best news today. This is the last app needed to create app parity with iOS. But now that stability and speed in Apple’s software are practically terrible (remember when these were selling points in the days of Snow Leopard?), I’m hoping they’re spending the extra time to make it a great product that (most importantly) syncs reliably through iCloud.

  9. robotmo33 - 8 years ago

    Just because I can’t code Photos doesn’t mean I can’t complain that the company that owns the OS, programming language, and hardware can’t do it. I hate how Apple leaves software to wither on the vine (Aperture), while we await something that might have half the capabilities.

  10. Eric Erickson - 8 years ago

    I’m thinking this is a good thing. It might be wishful thinking, but I’m hoping they’ve decided to drop the new Photos app altogether. Considering what they’ve done to their other apps, I’m not sure I want to see what Photos will be, at least the initial release. That fact that it’s not already out tells me it’s no good, because it shouldn’t take that long to go through and do a replace of “Aperture” with “Photos.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Aperture is perfect or couldn’t stand to be updated, but it’s a mature app that has steadily gotten better to the point where it is now.

    • Asbjørn Ulsberg - 8 years ago

      Aperture (and iPhoto) is a hog. The functionality it offers is great, but the way that functionality is implemented shows that the application is old and outdated and that its foundation needs to be ripped out and replaced with something more modern. Locking up for several minutes after importing a few hundred pictures is just not right on the enormous computing power Aperture has available on today’s Macs.

      As I’ve written elsewhere, I expect Photos to be to Aperture and iPhoto what Final Cut Pro X was to Final Cut Pro 7. A complete rewrite to make use of modern hardware in a much better way. That takes a lot of time to get right

      • Eric Erickson - 8 years ago

        I agree. Aperture is a hog, but it’s losing the functionality that I’m worried about. I sure hope you’re right that Photos will be to Aperture what FCP X was to FCP 7. Even there though, it took at least a year after its initial release for Final Cut Pro X to catch up on some of the features (multicam and others) that were in its predecessor. Like you said, it takes a lot of time to get right and hopefully that’s just what they are doing.

  11. Joe Cranford (@jodeo) - 8 years ago

    Is Apple still working to update Pages, Keynote and Numbers to restore features they inexcusably dropped? I know they’ve brought quite a few back, but there’s still quite a few key features missing.

  12. iPhoto is a shame in the Apple ecosystem, I am counting the days to its replacement! I hope to see it in “early 2015” as announced

  13. Marco Ponce - 8 years ago

    Sad news because I am on the border of just migrating to lightroom or possibly keeping the photos prospect for only my iphone pics… dslr goes to lightroom.