Apple plays the game of table stakes as well as any technology company. That’s why we have default versions of Safari, Mail, Calendar, Photos, Garageband, Notes, and Reminders, even though similar apps may have more features. This week I installed the preview of macOS High Sierra and tried out the new Photos app. You’re in for a surprise.
Upping The Ante
Apple’s table stakes apps are well known, and most are in use by a majority of Mac users. That doesn’t mean the world is standing still. Third party app developers improve their wares and Apple does the same. Some of the most impressive new features in macOS High Sierra are in the new Photos app, complete with new file formats and a growing laundry list of new features.
Curate – If you’re at all like many Mac users, and like me, we have a mess of photos in Photos and they’re just not well organized. Photos in macOS High Sierra lets you curate your photos collection with batch processing with a variety of filtered criteria. Nice.
Compare – No more bouncing back and forth between photos. Just use the Compare button to look at photos side-by-side before you apply and adjustment or tweak that doesn’t really do anything.
Tweaks – Speaking of adjustments, Photos in macOS High Sierra is not Photoshop, but it has plenty more image Adjust tools, including Curves and Selective Color which Aperture had. Adjust the hue, luminance, range, and saturation for a specific color. There are built in noise reduction, definition, and sharpen tools, too.
Filters – Photos’ new Filters pane bring an additional list of style to your photos.
- Mono (a black & white filter)
- Silvertone (a black & white filter)
- Noir (a black & white filter)
- Dramatic Warm
- Dramatic Cool
- Vivid Cool
- Vivid Warm
File Formats – HEIF is coming to Photos. That means a file format for Photos which provides higher quality in smaller file formats.
HEIF stands for High Efficiency Image Format. As the name suggests, it’s a more streamlined way to store image files… it allows digital photographs to be created in smaller files sizes, all while retaining higher image quality than its JPEG alternative… HEIF isn’t really a format as such, more of a container for images and audio. The way Apple has outlined its use will be to store still images encoded with the HVEC video format. This will work particularly well with Live Photos, as multiple images can be saved in the HEIF container.
GIF Support – This is one of those ancient standards from the past, fully unchanged in a few decades, that has made such a resurgence in use as animated videos that Apple decided now is the time to park GIF support into Photos.
Sidebar Fun – The sidebar is back, always on, and packed with a number of new views, including chronological order for previous imported photos, new Media Types, which also display panoramas, selfies, slow motion, and burst shots, among others.
Edit – I’ve never like how Edit worked in Photos but now I do. Tool Types is on top, select one and get a different set of tools to match the new image filters. Some of these are hidden tools from the past but now visible.
Competition – Photos in High Sierra means you can select a photo in Photos and open it up in a third party photo enhancement app; Photoshop, Pixelmator, Affinity Photo or whatever else you need that gives more tools than Apple gives with Photos.
Memories – This feature took some time to appreciate but basically there are a dozen new Memories categories and Apple is pushing its own version of machine learning to another level by recognizing photos in your collection that contain specific and obvious objects. You’ll be able to click on Pets or Weddings or Birthdays or whatever else is on the list and see all the photos from that category without having to add keywords yourself.
Those are the highlights from my weekend with macOS High Sierra and Photos.