Apple closing Photo Print Products Service by Sept. 30

Apple Inc. will be closing its integrated Photo Print Products service this fall, according to a dialog box in the macOS 10.13.6 Photos app. The app now recommends the user download a Photos Project Extension from the Mac App Store to create books, cards, calendars and prints. The company added final purchases using the existing built-in service must be placed by Sept. 30, 2018.

Photo Project Extensions were introduced in the current macOS High Sierra, with the following apps at the launch:

Since then Fujifilm Prints and Gifts extension has been added. Also, R.R. Donnelly, (who industry insiders report was the white-label printer of the Apple Photo Print Projects through its CGX subsidiary), launched on July 14 its own extension, called Motif.

The news boosted Shutterfly’s stock 2%.

The Apple Photo Print Products service was integrated into iPhoto since its 2002 introduction, which evolved from simple prints to albums, photo books and calendars. Integrated photo printing, however, never made into the iOS Photos app, increasing the opportunity for third-party printing apps. According to 9to5Mac, the next macOS, Mojave, does not include any references to Apple’s integrated Photo Print Products service.

Given Apple’s attention to its mobile, wearable and entertainment platforms, as well as relatively paltry macOS hardware updates, it should come as no surprise the Cupertino, Calif., was withdrawing functions from macOS. After all, this is the same company that removes features – headphone jacks, USB ports, SD card slots, etc. –  from its products without regard for customers. Further, according to Statcounter, macOS has only 5.6% market share among all operating systems and 12.6% among desktop platforms.

Despite its relatively low market share, the Apple Print Service was highly regarded, earning top honors in consumer reviews from the New York Times’ The Wirecutter, CNET, Tom’s Guide and more. Also, having a major company like Apple acknowledging the value of photo printing in one of its marquee products certainly benefits the entire category.

Fortunately for the photo printing business, Google has taken the leadership role in driving photo innovation. In fact, Google recently has added photo printing features to its online Google Photos service in the past year.