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Apple releases first beta of OS X 10.10.3 with debut of Yosemite's new Photos app

Developers can be among the first to get their hands on the new Photos for OS X application, thanks to the release of a preview build of of OS X 10.10.3 on Thursday.

OS X Yosemite version 10.10.3 is now available to developers as a pre-release build. It marks the first time that testers will be able to sample Apple's forthcoming Photos application, which replaces iPhoto for Mac.

Thursday's release is identified as build 14D72i.

Apple offered a preview of Photos under embargo to select publications ahead of Thursday's beta release. Impressions published by Re/code make it clear the application is yet another marriage between iOS and OS X, including icons and a general look and feel borrowed from the native Photos application for iOS 8.

In the release notes, Apple states that Photos for OS X automatically organizes a user's photo library, and includes comprehensive editing tools. Users can also store both photos and videos in the cloud using iCloud Photo Library, accessing them across devices.

Features of Photos for OS X, according to Apple, include the ability to:

  • Browse photos by time and location in Moments, Collections, and years views
  • Navigate library using convenient tabs: Photos, Shared, Albums and Projects
  • Store photos and videos in iCloud Photo Library in their original format and in full resolution
  • Access photos and videos stored in iCloud Photo Library fro Mac, iPhone, iPad, or with any Web browser
  • Perfect photos with powerful and easy-to-use editing tools that optimize with a single click or slider, or allow precise adjustments with detailed controls
  • Create professional-quality photos books with simplified bookmarking tools, new Apple-designed themes, and new square book formats
  • Purchase prints in new square and panoramic sizes
Editing tools in the all-new OS X Photos application, via The Verge.

Photos replaces not only iPhoto, but also Aperture, both of which Apple discontinued last year. However, the new OS X Photos application is not meant to be a professional-grade photo editing application, as Apple has advised pro photographers to transition to Adobe's Lightroom.

Though development on iPhoto for OS X has ceased, it remains the default photo-editing application on the Mac until OS X 10.10.3 and the accompanying new Photos application are released to the public. Apple has not yet provided a timeframe on when it might launch.