OS X Photos App: Not just an app, it's a platform

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ipedro, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. ipedro, Jan 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015

    ipedro macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    Toronto, ON
    #1
    While I blame Apple for being too secretive with a professional market that relies on predictability, I understand what Apple is doing with the Photos.app and I'm patiently waiting. I haven't run scared to LR although I admit I did briefly consider it.

    The Photos.app isn't just an app, it's a platform at the operating system level. With extensions featuring large in iOS and with devs already taking advantage, it's clear what this will mean for Photos on OSX.

    Apple will build a very capable photos organizing and editing tool whose library any external app can access. If you're a semi pro, the native organizing and editing tools might be enough. If you need more, you can get an app or an extension that satisfies your additional needs. You won't manage a separate photo library with those 3rd party apps. They'll access your Photos library and using the API, follow the rules on how to edit your photos so you end up with non destructive edits available to the entire operating system and even to other 3rd party apps. Once you've done your edits, your photos will exist in Photos and with that be easily found via OS level search and organizing tools in the Finder.

    I can see some fancy Aperture tools disappearing but only because they'll be replaced by more capable modern tools. For example, the loop will be gone but only because you can pinch to zoom and pan much faster using familiar OSX gestures on your touch pad. Rather than individual projects and folders, I imagine that photos will use OSX's tags to label projects, clients, type of shoots, content in the photos, etc. You can then create Smart Folders that will show you all the photos from that client or all your studio shoots or all your event photography for example.

    [​IMG]

    Apple is going somewhere big with this as they usually are when they scrap a successful product and start from scratch. I can imagine Canon or Nikon taking advantage of this extensibility and automatically connecting your SLR with your Mac, iPad or iPhone and importing your photos on the fly. Perhaps even something like CarPlay for cameras where Apple's OS appears on the camera if you're within distance of an iCloud Photos connected device.

    I'm an event photographer and I've been doing a lot of my editing on location live from the event using my iPhone 6 Plus and I'm impressed at how capable it's been. I look forward to better integration once Photos.app launches so that I can upload photos in full res at the event and continue editing on my Mac once I get back to the studio.
     
  2. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    #2
    I wrote an analysis on another site that is suited to this thread:

    To understand what pros can expect from the Photos app we can look to the new iOS Photos app for clues. Apple rebooted iWork so that it can achieve feature parity between OSX and iOS. It's apparent that the same is happening with Photos.

    I took a couple of screen shots:

    [​IMG]

    Crop does have an align wheel in the new iOS Photos app so no doubt it’s the same in OSX Photos. Filters is going to be where some extensions will live. WWDC 14 brought on deep extensibility with iOS and photo filters were one of those mentioned. Retouch (not repair) will indeed be for what it sounds like: healing and (hopefully) cloning and brushing in/out adjustments. Red Eye gets its own separate direct button since it’s widely used by regular people and shouldn’t be hidden away. For Pros, we may use it less (never) but it’s harmless to be there.

    This is a common theme I’m finding: it’s both a consumer app but with professional capabilities. The Pro stuff is there but isn’t overwhelming. You open those options if you’re a Pro.

    Now here we have a peek at the DAM. As you can see in iOS, that “Collections” button changes as you drill down. Years > Collections > Moments. If you’re a consumer, you’ll probably stick in this tab most of the time.

    [​IMG]

    But look what we have there: Projects. I imagine that’s where pros will live. Consumers won’t think much of this but photos taken on “Pedro’s iPhone” may go in their own Project, “Pedro’s iPad” in another. For Pros, we’ll of course organize our projects by shoot. Hopefully there’ll be folders so you can sort Projects by Client as well.

    I’m inclined to think that Projects will be treated more like Libraries are in Aperture. What I mean by this is that when you import your Aperture Libraries into Photos, they’ll each be turned into a Project, each of which has their own iCloud settings. You may want to turn on your iPhone and other personal photo Projects but leave off all your large photoshoots from syncing to iCloud. It will be on by default. Pros will probably turn it off.

    Now, I don’t believe that Apple is going to transition every tool we’re used to in Aperture over to Photos. If they did, it would quickly get bloated and too complex for consumers. Besides, Apple is reinventing Photos for a reason. It needs to leave old conventions behind. So instead, they’ll deprecate tools in favour of a simpler way of doing things.

    Two examples: The much beloved Loupe and Stacks.

    The Loupe is a favourite tool of many photographers but it was developed at a time when most of us were using mouses or Wacom tablets. Now we have gestures. Craig Federighi demonstrated how fast it’ll be to flick through photos, pinch to zoom in and out and pan without lifting your finger off the trackpad. The Loupe is dead. Long live multi touch.

    Stacks may not be handled the same way that they are in Aperture but there’s already a replacement in use in iOS: Burst Mode. When you shoot 20 or 50 or 100 photos in burst mode, they all show up under a single photo that iOS determined is the least blurry and where everybody has their eyes open. You can open that photo and skim through all the photos taken in that burst and check mark the ones you like and they’ll then show up in your library outside of the stack.

    What I’m still holding out for is Metadata. The Heart button is for “Favorite”. You hit it and it goes into a Favorites album. I can see how we can use that for Selects but I hope there’s a more robust rating system. Also: Wacom tablet compatibility. Will Photos respond to pressure sensitivity, and allow for commands to be assignable to quick keys?

    There’s very little Photos doesn’t seem to be delivering to Pro photographers and what isn’t yet known may still be available once we find out more about the app. We asked for a Final Cut Pro X reinvention treatment for Aperture. OSX Photos is Aperture X.
     
  3. cairene2011 Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2013
    #3
    I really enjoyed reading your analyses. I'm very open for new approaches even if this entails a learning curve that's going to temporarily slow me down in my work. The only thing I'm truly worried about is the transfer of my current aperture library over into the photos app. I recently tried to do this somewhat seamlessly in Lightroom (using the plugin) and everything ended up in a huge disaster, with all my carefully hierarchically structured shoots jumbled together or ripped apart. It was impossible to manually fix the mess and I ended up deleting Lightroom again rather horrified. As long as Photos won't cause similar devastation among my projects, I will happily embark into it.
     
  4. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    #4
    I had a similar opinion after watching the WWDC video on the Photos API. Too many hooks in there that a lot of 3rd party developers can use. I can't see them passing up on the opportunity.
     
  5. sarthak, Jan 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015

    sarthak macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Thorough and interesting point of view.

    All that being said, much of the Photos.app related information has been stripped from the site with no new leaks or information anywhere since WWDC. You are correct in that they are being highly secretive in an industry that relies on information to make decisions, often for the long term. However, from what I got out of the event, was a modern version of iPhoto or in other words, a built-in app (should have been) for managing photos in the same familiar way as one can on iOS.

    I shifted away from Aperture reluctantly to LR, loosing out on some of the most interesting features (i.e. automatic face detection). Apple revolutionized the industry with an "all in one" photo editing suite many years ago but, it's just been far too long since they abandoned A3. I don't see myself or many others migrating to the Photos.app no matter the number of third-party capabilities (which are probably on par with features and pricing of low quality/preset based plug-ins such as those from NIK).

    They are creating a problem with such a stripped down application than solving the existing issues. Probably why, from my initial thoughts from WWDC, as an app that was never intended to replace and build on the foundations of Aperture. Not only faces but, tools that Aperture mastered such as stacking based on capture time, keyword based management, ratings and sharing. Some of which are still poorly implemented in LR to be genuinely honest.

    I consistently jump around applications, importing in DxO Optics Pro due to often better noise handling, using LR for many of my adjustments and using C1 for tethering. On top of that you have, DxO Viewpoint & Perspective and Photomatix Pro for a slew of other things. As much as I like using multiple tools for maximum control, it often gets cluttered and I would prefer to have everything built-in and managed by a single app than having multiple versions and space hogging TIFFs.

    Ideally, I was hoping Apple released Aperture X per the rumours back in 2011. A tool that should have continued to build on the "all in one" capabilities with built-in Photoshop-like (or now LR like) healing/cloning tools as well as full on control for HDR, Keystonning and incorporating technologies similar to Microsoft Photosynth or at the least, basic panorama stitching.

    I find it to be like using Preview in Contact Sheet mode, selecting your photo and editing it using the basic tools provided through Adjust Color option. Either way, not much more than using iPhoto to manage your shots taken on iOS devices. It might however, be the fastest and easiest to use app for "managing" your photos in a fashion like Preview does (in terms of speed and gesture support) than the LR (or Aperture) nonsense thumbnail generation and rendering requirements for viewing/editing. It reminds me of using Picasa (a really long time ago) on a Windows machine, the speed, ease of use and simple editing tools.

    Even with extensions, you'll end up with dozens of applications that utilize these new technologies as a large portion of the tools or full on control as in A3 and LR (as one would expect at the minimum) are no where yet seen Photos.app from what we know. Not sure if I recall correctly, but they showcased OpenCL acceleration in one of the sessions? Such performance enhancements could most certainly be leveraged by other applications but, by the time this is released, Lightroom 6 beta with GPU acceleration (whether CUDA or OpenCL) would most probably be headline news for pro photographers.

    Bottom line, don't hold out for it if you're a (semi)pro photographer. They've ruined the Aperture brand, it's recognized as abandonware by photographers yet, still sold on MAS for an outrageous price. Apple would have to invent a real world Time Machine to go back and win pro-photogs over with tools that incorporate the best from the competition (without violating IP or licensing them of course). An absolute disaster that could have been so much more, the once weapon of choice for photographers now as useless, ugly and bug ridden as Corel ASP1.

    Though, Apple despite, taking an absurdly long time, should prove this wrong by releasing a high end all in one suite for Pro-photographers ... the same way as they did by changing the way we think about a pro machine with the release of the nMP. Wouldn't hold out on it for that much longer.
     
  6. ipedro, Jan 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015

    ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040

    ipedro

    Joined:
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    #6
    There's very little reason to have switched to LR at this point in time. Aperture 3 works just as well as it did before Apple announced they were replacing it. Migration from Aperture and iPhoto to Photos is a given. Certainly, it'll be more graceful than migrating to LR has been.

    I can understand the panic some people experienced and decided to get ahead of things and start learning LR and migrating their work there. This is Apple's fault, a product of their secrecy. At the very least, Apple could've come out and said: We're still committed to supporting pro photographers. Hold tight, we've got something for you in Photos.app

    While I admit I had a brief period where my heart sunk because I'd have to reluctantly go to LR, after I delved into figuring out what Apple's plan was for Photos.app, I realized that what they have in store is going to be even better than LR because it'll incorporate integration into their mobile hardware as well. I decided to keep working with Aperture at the same time as I'm adjusting my workflow to comply with an expected workflow in Photos.app.

    Whether you want to or not, I can almost assure you that you will be using the platform established by Photos.app if you're going to continue using a Mac for your work. You may not want to use the Photos.app front end but photo applications made for OS X will begin to adopt Mac OS X's photos platform.

    At first, I expect Pixelmator and small apps that can turn this around rather quickly. Ultimately, even LR and Photoshop would benefit from letting OS X handle the photo library management and focus LR and Photoshop on the tools and front end UI.
     
  7. sarthak, Jan 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015

    sarthak macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Surely they have created a powerful engine if you will but, Adobe does things their own way.

    Using A3 reminds me of running LR2 on a PowerBook G4. There isn't a whole lot to it. As we progress forward, more tools, customizability yet at the same time confidence of an all in one package is demanded than the other way around.

    OS X consistently receives camera compatibility updates there is no doubt Photos.app will continue to receive the same. Perhaps, they can integrate things further with photos.app but it won't be much more than the Media Browser pane (i.e. the one that lets you pick out photos from your iPhoto / iMovie, Photo Booth or in some cases Aperture library) and then export it back out to view/organize in photos.app.

    There is nothing wrong with what it is or expanding it's technology with third party apps or plug-ins. It's just not what most pro photographers want at this point.

    LR6 will likely introduce more photoshop-like features in and build on what Aperture was once (all in one) and could have / should have been. I highly doubt adobe will abandon it's current approach to integrate photos.app style management. Pro photographers need thumbnail and preview generation, color profile management among a slew of other highly customizable features. As much as I would prefer LR to function with gesture support, it is completely impractical as one would have to switch from a Magic Trackpad to a standard mouse when going back and forth between the develop and library modules. One can simply get nothing done with a Magic Mouse let alone anything at all with a Trackpad (i.e. the laughable ad Apple created with the initial MacBook Pro Retina Mid 2012 released showcasing someone editing a photograph of mountains in A3 only to end up overflowing onto other areas when using the brush tool with a trackpad).

    To be honest, I've bought into Pixelmator just for it's UI design and ease of use for quick adjustments. It's far from getting something actually done in Ps and Ai. Third party apps can continue to integrate such technologies for optimization and management but again, it will be a slow if at all (and I highly doubt it) process with LR, DxO and C1.
     
  8. robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    #8
    I applaud your optimism; Photos might be a nice addition to my existing applications. Especially if free ;)

    I realize this subject is kind of being beat to death, but do you have any post WWDC info on the product?
     
  9. luke lau macrumors regular

    luke lau

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    #9
    Was there a general release date given at WWDC or will it be released with the next OS X? Either way it looks great and I can't wait. Anything is better than iPhoto at the minute honestly
     
  10. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #10
    No release date other than the general "early 2015." It was announced as a feature of OS X Yosemite, no hints that it has been bumped into OS X Mojave (or Catalina, Monterey, Shasta, Marin, Redondo, Capistrano... no shortage of California place names to work with, is there?)
     
  11. robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    #11
    The way things are going, I think it's part of OS X Leisure World, in that it's slow, losing features and all it's relatives are dead and dying...(and I say this a senior, so I can).
     
  12. jmantn macrumors 6502

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    #12
    See this
    http://9to5mac.com/2015/01/27/photos-for-mac-removed-from-apple-website/

    Seems it's delayed, hopefully for more features and possibly more integration with iOS 9's feature set.
     
  13. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #13
    According to Tim Cook above, "early 2015" means up through April 2015. Although he was speaking of the "early 2015" release of the Apple Watch, I assume that Apple Standard Time applies across all products.

    Or maybe that means it's delayed for more integration with the Watch's feature set....
     
  14. ipedro, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015

    ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    #14
    I understand the caution in releasing this app. Photos are by far more important to Apple than any other application. The iPhone is their flagship product that accounts for almost 70% of Apple's revenue and the iPhone's camera is considered the best portable camera on the market so photo organization and editing is critical. They got it right on iOS 8. Now they need to really deliver on OSX if it's going to be a suitable replacement for both iPhoto and Aperture.

    If we look at how Apple overhauled Final Cut Pro by restarting from scratch and how they messed up on its rollout, I can see why Apple would want to get this right before its public release.

    It could be that the Photos app is ready for release but they've decided to keep it maturing before putting it out. In a sense, instead of giving us a Photos v1.0, they're waiting to release a v1.3 or even a v2.0.

    Given that this is going to be a core technology and a flagship app, and seeing that Apple has erased Photos from Yosemite's feature list, I wouldn't be surprised to see Photos instead being released in the next version of OSX in the Fall. As long as they keep Aperture humming along on Yosemite and on the next OSX so that there's a transition overlap, I'm ok with that.
     

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