Posts tagged with "iCloud"

Photos for OS X Review

Let me begin this review with a disclaimer: I am not a photographer. In high school I took a class called Photo Imaging, which taught me how to use Photoshop and attempted to teach me how to take quality pictures. Now I know the Rule of Thirds, and can create images of middle schoolers defeating lions in battle, but it didn’t fix the problem that I simply don’t have a natural eye for photography, nor the patience to develop one.

What I do have, however, is a world-class camera that I carry in my pocket everywhere I go. While I might not be taking world-class photos with it, I do take pictures of my family, my friends, and my life. These pictures are not thoughtfully composed, they are not shot in Raw, and I do not spend hours meticulously editing them. Despite that, they are very dear to me.

As someone who’s written tens of thousands of words on automation, you might expect me to have some crazy photo management workflows in place, or at least to be using one or two or five different services devoted to the practice. In truth, I don’t use any photo management workflows or services. I’ve always been interested in them, and I’ve tried almost all of them, but they’ve all been too much of a hassle for me.

I take all of my pictures on my iPhone, and I take a lot of them. I have a habit of hitting the shutter button at least three or four times whenever I’m trying to capture something, because often at least one or two of them are blurry, or someone’s eyes are closed, etc. Eventually I get around to going through and deleting all but one of these groups of multiple pictures, but sometimes this isn’t until days or weeks later, and any third party photo management service I’ve used will have already uploaded the duplicates. The result is huge amounts of extra photos taking up often limited space and cluttering companion apps built to let me view my stored photos. Worse, making changes to the photos on my phone won’t sync to the backups, and vice versa.

Eventually I’ve grown tired of every third party service I’ve tried and reverted to just cramming everything into iPhoto (so that I at least had some sort of backup) and ignoring it. iPhoto is outdated, slow, and ugly. Any time I’ve wanted to look through my photos, I just go to my iPhone and look there. Any necessary edits are similarly completed on my phone, and the extra features that iPhoto may have offered (smart albums, faces, etc.) I’ve simply gone without.

Enter, Photos for OS X.

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Apple Releases OS X 10.10.3 with Photos App, New Emoji

Apple released version 10.10.3 of OS X Yosemite today, bringing a new Photos app that works with iCloud Photo Library from iOS 8, 300 new emoji, and a slew of bug fixes. We're working on our Photos article – in the meantime, iMore has done an excellent job in covering iCloud Photo Library and the new app.

I use OS X twice a week at this point, so I only installed the public beta of 10.10.3 last week and took the Photos app for a quick spin. Since late last year, iCloud Photo Library has become my only photo management solution, where I've transferred about nine years of photos from all my devices. The new Photos app for Mac took a couple of minutes to download my library; after that, it showed the same collections and edits as my iPhone and iPad. The process was painless.

I've upgraded my iCloud account twice to put everything in iCloud Photo Library, and I couldn't be happier. There have been many cautionary tales about Apple's cloud services and photo management apps, but I think they nailed it this time. I'm happy with iCloud Photo Library because it's seamlessly integrated with my iPhone's camera and photos – I don't have to manually upload anything, and I don't have to think about managing photos. This is quite the departure from what I used to do, and I like how I'm not wasting time with scripts anymore.

For this reason, I welcome Photos for OS X. Even if not for me, I like knowing that my photos – the same photos I keep on other devices – will show up on my Mac as well.


iWork for iCloud Beta Available for Everyone, No Need to Own an Apple Device

Late last week Apple made a change to their iCloud web services, opening up the iWork for iCloud beta to everyone. Previously the iWork suite of web apps (Pages, Numbers & Keynote) was limited to those users who owned an Apple device.

With last week's change anyone can go to beta.icloud.com, click the banner (shown above) to sign up for an Apple ID (which includes 1GB storage) and use the iWork for iCloud beta. Just make sure you do head to the beta iCloud website, as the main iCloud website doesn't let you sign up for an Apple ID yet. The iWork for iCloud web apps, which are still classified by Apple as betas, was first announced at WWDC 2013.

[via iMore]


Why Every Photo Storage Startup Dies Or Gets Acquired

Casey Newton on Picturelife selling to StreamNation:

No wonder people keep building superior services: it’s impossible to store your photos with Apple, or Google, or Amazon, and not imagine you could do it better. And the need grows larger every day. Last year, trend forecaster Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins estimated that we upload 1.8 billion photos to the internet a day, up from 500 million the year before. But while services like Picturelife have attracted thousands of paying customers — I’m one of them — they haven’t found enough to build a sustainable business.

I liked Picturelife. For a while, I used it to browse photos, even though I still kept a copy in Dropbox for backup.

These days, I'm using iCloud Photo Library, with no other backups or workflows involved. I pay €0.99/month for iCloud storage and all my pictures are on my iPhone, iPad, and iCloud.com. I realize that this is an unpopular choice – primarily because of iCloud's not-so-great reputation – but the service has been working flawlessly for me and I like how I don't have to think about managing it. It's built right there into the Camera and Photos app and it demolished the need for a third-party photo app for me.

I hope this post won't jinx it.

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iOS 8.1.1 Brings Fixes for Share Sheet Extension Reordering, iCloud Crashes

Earlier today, Apple released iOS 8.1.1 with bug fixes and performance improvements for the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.

What Apple doesn't specifically address in their release notes are two welcome fixes that people who use iOS devices extensively will likely notice: the order of action and share extensions in the system share sheet now sticks across apps and app relaunches; and, the iCloud hanging/crashing bug appears to be gone.

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iCloud Drive: What Is It, How It Works & Its Fundamental Problem

With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, Apple is introducing a new feature of iCloud: iCloud Drive. Apple bills it as a feature that will let you:

...safely store all your presentations, spreadsheets, PDFs, images, and any other kind of document in iCloud. Documents you store in iCloud Drive will be kept up to date across all of your devices, and you can access them from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.

This brief article aims to clarify what exactly iCloud Drive is, how you access it, as well as the big problem that it has.
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Paid iCloud Customers Getting Partial Refunds After Apple Reduced Prices

Earlier this week Apple adjusted the pricing of their iCloud plans to be more competitive, and as part of those price reductions, Apple has also been ensuring that existing paid iCloud customers can take advantage of the discounts. As noted by MacRumors and others, Apple has begun emailing those customers, informing them that they will be given a refund based on the price reduction and the number of months remaining on their subscription.

As noted earlier this week, the new plans start at 20GB for $0.99 per month and range up to a 1TB plan for $19.99 per month. A big reason for the new iCloud pricing is the imminent introduction of iCloud Drive which allows users to store any kind of file and access it from any device.

[via MacRumors]