Last summer Apple announced that they were discontinuing both Aperture and iPhoto and we are now seeing the replacement application. Apple Photos solves the modern problem of what to do with the hundreds or thousands of photos you take, often with many devices and over a long period of time.
Apple is leveraging seamless iCloud integration across devices, allowing you access to all of your images while keeping the large original files on your computer hard drive and/or iCloud drive. Apple gives users a free 5GB of iCloud storage, which if you're like most people is probably already gone from your phone backup. Luckily, you can purchase additional iCloud storage space starting at $0.99 per month for 20GB. Considering how most people use their phones as a go-to camera for everything from everyday life to vacations and life events, an extra $12 a year to store it all is pretty reasonable.
The app has a very clean look, fitting with the iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite UI design. Photos is designed to be user friendly, especially if you've spent any amount of time on a recent iPhone or Mac.
Apple Photos also introduces an easy to use toolbox of editing tools. In addition to basic adjustments like cropping and exposure, Photos also offers Instagram-like photo filters. These edits are instantly applied to the photo across all of your devices. The available tools are not as robust as a program like Lightroom, but will work for quick and simple tweaks.
The limited editing options mean that this is in no way a replacement for Aperture (discontinued) or Adobe Lightroom, but it is fine for amateur photography, phone photos, or personal work that doesn't need heavy editing.
Apple Photos was released to developers this week, with a public beta version coming soon, and will be available to the general public as a free upgrade this spring.