The reviews are in for Photos for OS X Yosemite

In today's Apple roundup: Read reviews of Apple's new Photos app for OS X. Plus: AnandTech reviews the 2015 MacBook. And the 20 best MMORPG games for the Mac

Reviews of Photos for OS X Yosemite

The new Photos app in OS X Yosemite promises to replace Aperture and iPhoto. But how well does it work? And how well does it function with Apple's iCloud service? Some reviews have started to come in of Photos, and the buzz about it from the critics seems mostly positive.

Walt Mossberg reviewed Photos for Recode and ran into a snag with iCloud:

I’ve been testing the new Photos app on two different Macs, and I consider it a big improvement over iPhoto. It’s faster, easier to use, and has a more modern feel.

Alas, my positive feelings about Photos on the Mac didn’t extend to iCloud Photo Library. While syncing my locally stored photo library, the cloud service failed to do its job properly.

Even though my iPhoto library of 18,000 images isn’t considered large by Apple standards, and my home Internet is speedy in both directions, my library took nearly three days and nights to upload to the cloud — far longer than Apple estimated. And even that was only possible because I asked Apple about it for this review, and the company (with my permission) analyzed my library and found a “rare bug” it says it had never seen before. This was resolved with a back-end workaround, but I can’t consider this a full solution.

Bottom line: I can easily recommend Photos, but you’re taking a chance with iCloud Photo Library.

More at Recode

Alex Guyot at MacStories had a better experience with Photos and iCloud:

When I take a new picture on my iPhone, it is immediately, automatically added to my iCloud Photo Library. If I take a series of pictures, then go back and curate them (regardless of when or on which device I do this curation), the ones I delete are deleted from all my devices, and the ones I edit are edited on all my devices. All of this happens without me needing to do any maintenance or manual syncing. No wires are ever required. Photos for OS X, combined with iCloud Photo Library, is a perfect representation of Apple’s classic “It Just Works” ideal.

Photos for OS X is an incredible step up from its predecessor. Its streamlined interface and easy initial import mean that if you’ve already been using iPhoto, there should be nothing but advantages in moving your existing habits over to the new app.

However, while Photos is built to support the past and present, it is also fully capable of handling the future. As people who have grown up with iOS devices start getting their first Macs, they’ll be bringing the libraries that they’ve spent years developing on their iPhones, iPads, or iPod touches, and they will love the familiarity that Photos will immediately offer.

Photos for OS X completes the promise of iCloud Photo Library: your photos, on all your devices, synced together perfectly and with no maintenance necessary. This is Apple at its best.

More at MacStories

Serenity Caldwell at iMore liked Photos, but noted it isn't quite ready to replace Aperture:

After years of iPhoto's bloat, ever-increasing iPhone photo management issues, and random folders of images scattered within my computers, Photos for OS X is a breath of fresh air. It's speedy. It's smart. It syncs with my other computers and iOS devices. The app has eliminated the cruft of iPhoto without taking away its magic and accessibility to beginners, and iCloud Photo Library offers a photo management revolution for those who have previously found themselves siloed on each individual device.

It's not perfect. Faces is still disappointing in its facial recognition. Duplicate photo recognition only happens during import; there's no way to trigger a "find duplicates" command in your library at will. (If you have iCloud Photo Library enabled, it theoretically performs automatic duplicate merging every time your device connects to iCloud, but those who have chosen not to enable it are out of luck.) And search, although promising, could use work.

Nor is it a true Aperture replacement. There aren't any brushes, to my great disappointment. The loupe is gone, replaced with Multitouch pinch-to-zooms, as are some of the more advanced management features. And you can't edit your images in an external editor, or properly work with a reference library unless you disable iCloud Photo Library.

But as app reimaginings go, it's the best Apple has ever accomplished. Photos for OS X feels solid and steady in its 1.0, and the features I'm missing are more wish-list items than dealbreakers. This won't be true for everyone, of course. But for the general Mac population, this is the photo management tool they've been looking for. And I can't wait to see what Apple does from here.

More at iMore

iMore readers shared their thoughts about Photos for OS X Yosemite:

Skrimaging1: "Photos 1.0 seems really only catered to the iPhone shooters...if you rely on a DSLR for shooting and editing, Photos will leave you disappointed. Plus, I can't imagine having all my photos on iCloud PL... I'll stick to external storage for my backup needs and use a NAS Hard drive if ever I want to make my own personal cloud.

Long time Aperture user and disappointed by Apple's lack of interest in this segment. (no star ratings or flagging system; I tend to import from SD card and reject pictures while importing...a simple reject or keep option would have made this more useful) Here's hoping they add extension support after WWDC 2015 and let developers add plugins to this lacklustre app.... it could redeem this app from one containing a bunch of pics to a true professional workhorse DAM."

Freediverx: "My hope is that Photos might replace My Photo Stream as a single conduit for importing photos and video into Aperture. I could allow iCloud Photo Library to keep the Photos library automatically sync'd across devices, but I'd retain Aperture as my main repository. Among other things, this would give me the option to delete some content from the Cloud, while keeping that content in my local (canonical) Aperture library.

This may sound convoluted, but it beats adapting to some crappy alternative from Adobe and giving up on Apple's Cloud features for photos."

Beingbenjamin: "The syncing across devices is all I've ever wanted! How I hated to be tied to plugging in my phone for this one last thing: importing photos. Then create albums, then open iTunes, check the albums, and sync. Each device. Bleh. I'm no pro but I did use aperture and I find the tools more than adequate. With the first import during beta, it took a little reorganizing and deleting of some duplicates. And for some reason I'm seeing TONS of albums called "Roll #" and named by dates on that I don't see on any device, but those aside, I'm gladly paying $3.99 per month for iCloud Drive for the conveniences of this new program."

Micche: "Just updated on both iMac (2009) and MacBook (2011). The iPhoto library has been duplicated and iPhoto stopped to work because "not updated for this version of Yosemite." Sadly the workflow I've been using for months has been destroyed because all the other software that were pointing to the Master folder can't read them anymore and in the new one the Raw version are unavailable. For the others I should manually change all the references. Anyway, the greatest issue for me is that the command in the file menu to reach the originals in the finder is unavailable on both machine."

Rick Faced: "This is a very thorough review of the new Photos app Ren. Thank you. I've discovered that the projects do not sync however. That's a feature I hope they add in the future."

More at iMore

AnandTech reviews the 2015 MacBook

Apple's new MacBook has been getting tons of attention because of its retina screen, reduced weight and new keyboard. But is it worth buying? AnandTech tries to answer that question in a full review.

Ryan Smith reports for AnandTech:

The idea of laptops and tablets crossing over is no longer merely an idea, but now it is reality. Apple for their part may not be doing any kind of wild 2-in-1 transforming design, or even pushing the concept of a touchscreen OS X device, but they have clearly tapped their immense experience with tablets in putting together the new MacBook.

The biggest benefit of course is the size; the MacBook is a 0.92kg, 1.31cm thick professional grade Mac laptop, with many of great features that come with such a device. If the Retina MacBook Pro were miniaturized, then it would end up looking and behaving a lot like the MacBook that Apple is delivering today.

The biggest drawback in turn is what you give up to pack a full Mac into such a small laptop. Make no mistake, Core M is no slouch, and in bursting workloads can perform very well. But when faced with sustained workloads, a 4.5W processor can only go so far, and it’s not going to be able – nor is it meant to – keep up with the more powerful processors found in the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro. The end result then is performance that’s anywhere between on-par with last year’s MacBook Air to the MacBook Air of a few years ago, depending on the specific task being run.

Speaking solely for myself here, I’ve come away rather impressed with the MacBook. As an 11” Ultrabook user I already have a fondness for the weight and size of the form factor, and as a journalist frequently carrying around a laptop to trade shows and meetings I particularly appreciate the reduction in weight. The regression in performance is unfortunate, but the combination of weight, battery life, the Retina display, and the keyboard in my mind more than make up for the performance the MacBook can’t offer. After all, I have a workstation for when I need performance; what the MacBook fulfills is delivering acceptable performance when I’m away from that workstation and need portability over performance.

More at AnandTech

AnandTech readers shared their thoughts about the new MacBook and the review:

PICman: "I'm sure Apple will sell a lot of these, and my guess is that this is the most profitable product in a long time. Their reason for only having one port is to cut manufacturing cost. This enables them to have a tiny PCB. Yes, there is more battery volume, but batteries are much cheaper than PCB area."

Krysto: "I just find it hilarious how tech writers from major tech sites tip-toe around major product issues when said product comes from Intel or Apple (the fact that this one includes both, just makes the bias that much worse)."

Speedfriend: "So an attempt at a hybrid device but without a tounchscreen? How anyone can think that Macs are cutting edge when they don't even have a touchscreen which is the way that we interact with technology 80% of the time. And the force click rubbish, which is just right click in disguise!"

Flunk: "I honestly think this would be a lot more usable if they had dropped the headphone jack and instead had 2 USB type-c connectors. Not being able to plug in anything at all while charging makes this product totally unusable, at least for me."

Joscha: "Why do you keep insisting that this is somehow a tablet? Apple had a 12in laptop ten years ago. This thing has no A7 processor, no iOS, no touch screen. Standard sized keyboard, touchpad, OS X. This is just a normal MacBook with big dongles, aimed at early adopters that can live with slightly limited memory, harddisk and speed."

More at AnandTech

The twenty best MMORPG games for Mac

Mac gamers have more games to choose from than ever these days. And some of those games are MMORPG titles that will keep gamers playing for days, weeks and even months. MacGamer HQ has a list of the twenty best MMORPGs for OS X gamers.

Chris Tallant reports for Mac Gamer HQ:

The Massive Multiplayer Online genre is constantly evolving. It’s never easy to stay on top of all the trends, changes and newcomers, but with this guide, you will know everything there is to know about MMORPG for Mac.

...this ultimate “Mac MMORPG” list will include only the best games out there (and some stranger, but still cool ones). No web-based fremium stuff here. Sorry!

You may think that MMORPGs are not your cup of tea, but believe me when I tell you that once you find the one that’s right for you, it will change the way you see video-games. Let’s find the best Mac MMORPG for you (in no particular order):

World of Warcraft

The Elder Scrolls Online

Guild Wars 2

DotA 2

Star Trek Online

The Lord of the Rings Online

League of Legends

EVE Online

Dungeons and Dragons Online

Savage 2

Heroes of Newerth

The Sage of Ryzom

Puzzle Pirates

Spiral Knights



Regnum Online

Minions of Mirth


Warhammer Online

More at Mac Gamer HQ

Mac Gamer HQ readers shared their thoughts about Mac MMORPGs:

Cjohnson44546: "You forgot the shut down game...City of Heroes/City of Villains. One of my all time favorite MMOs that I really miss."

Mac Gamer Ric: "Good point man, I had to trim the guide a bit, otherwise it would have been MASSIVE..."

Wizard of Odyssey: "No love for Vendetta Online? It's the space-trader-shooter game I always wanted, and it runs on almost EVERYTHING, including Windows, OS X, Linux, Android (including phones!), OUYA, iPad, and eventually, iPhone."

MGregory666 : "I think it's time for someone to break the mould on MMO's. It's become so stagnant and is full of WoW clones. ESO did nothing to change this when they had the most pedigree and back lore to play with."

Arnold Corso: "Sadly, Star Wars: The Old Republic is the only MMO I've ever been tempted to play, and it's not on a Mac :("

More at Mac Gamer HQ

Did you miss a roundup? Check the Eye On Apple home page to get caught up with the latest news about Apple.

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