Apple releases OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 with new Photos app

The latest version of OS X is publicly available with the typical feature upgrades and fixes. This time around, Apple includes the iOS-influenced Photos app shown off last year.

After weeks of beta test versions, Apple officially released OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 to the general public on Wednesday. Aside from the typical software tweaks and fixes you'd expect in a new OS X release, this is the first version with the new Photos for OS X app that Apple previewed at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) last year. The Software Update function in OS X can be used to download and install this version.

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The new Photos app takes the place of Apple's older iPhoto and Aperture software, bringing a photo-editing experience similar to the company's iOS products to its OS X hardware.

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There's no mistaking the iOS influence on Photos for OS X; the overall look and feel is nearly identical. Your images, for example, are shown in various views that iOS users will be familiar with: albums, years and collections.

Apple's release notes suggest that you can edit photos with powerful tools in the software, but my own experience shows that Aperture users who rely on filters or edits to selective areas may be a little disappointed. The editing tools are instead more akin to what you have on iOS, keeping the process simple and intuitive. The functionality is likely enough for most people although any professional or pro-sumer photographer will be left wanting much more.

Also in the OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 update are Apple's new diversified emoji complete with skin tones. I'm not a big emoji user, so this isn't a personal selling point to me. Safari also gets some security enhancements, which are welcome, and Apple says it addressed some wireless radio issues. Wi-Fi performance is reportedly improved on Mac hardware and an issue causing some Bluetooth devices to disconnect is addressed in the new operating system software.