Apple on Feb. 6 made available for its worldwide list of registered developers and OS X beta testers the first OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite beta. The move came only about a week after the company released OS X 10.10.2 to general availability.
This particular beta release is unusual because it is basically v10.10.2 with one major additional feature: Apple's new Macintosh Photos app, destined to replace iPhoto. Although iPhoto has been Apple's sturdy photo app since January 2002, the company needed a completely updated image app because a lot of IT advances have happened since then, such as the cloud.
Photos will provide fast, new-gen image management, editing and cloud-syncing features, the company said. In fact, navigation of the libraries is notably faster than iPhoto, early testers have said.
Switching over to the new app ostensibly will not pose a problem. Users will be able to steer through their current image libraries using the Photos, Shared, Albums and Projects tabs in the application. As before, they will be able to store photos and videos in their iCloud Photo libraries and access them from the library or iCloud.com via any iOS device.
The differences in Photos versus iPhoto are mostly in the additional image-handling capabilities. Users can optimize photos for sharpness and contrast with a single click; then, if they choose to do so, they can go into the app's manual customization features to make more specific changes.
"Photos can be used to create professional-quality photo books with simplified bookmaking tools, new Apple-designed themes and new square book format," Apple said in its description of the product.
Prints also will be available in various shapes; for example, users will be able to buy prints in square and panoramic sizes when it goes public this spring, the company said.
The new beta is available now to registered users through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store and through the Mac Dev Center.