Photoshop Launches on iPad, Illustrator is Next

Posted on November 4, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in iPadOS with 24 Comments

One year after Adobe announced Photoshop for iPad, the app is finally available. Now, Adobe is also bringing Illustrator to the platform.

“Photoshop on the iPad version 1.0 launches today,” Adobe’s Pam Clark writes. “This is just the beginning of our journey to expand Photoshop to devices, increasing your choices on how to work using Photoshop. We are launching the first version on the iPad, starting with Photoshop’s top workflows, compositing, masking, and retouching, with more to come. Over time, we’ll add more capabilities and workflows as we learn more about how customers use Photoshop on a mobile device. With Photoshop documents and create with many of your favorite Photoshop features using mobile and touch. It is reimagined with a new user experience completely redesigned for the iPad with touch and mobility top of mind.”

Additionally, Adobe revealed that it will also bring Illustrator to iPad in the coming year.

“We’re still in the early stages, but fundamentally, we’re reimagining the Illustrator experience from the ground up to take advantage of the unique capabilities a tablet offers in terms of touch and Apple pencil,” Adobe’s Scott Belsky announced. “We’ve connected with thousands of designers to understand how they could use a tablet in their creative process.”

Among the ideas that Adobe has for Illustrator is seamless connectivity between devices, the ability to start a project on iPad and finish on iPad as well, a more intuitive user experience, and unique features that take advantage of the iPad form factor.

Finally, Adobe also launched Fresco, its iPad-based drawing and painting app. The firm is bringing Fresco to other platforms, including Windows, as well.

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Comments (24)

24 responses to “Photoshop Launches on iPad, Illustrator is Next”

  1. MikeGalos

    So "Photoshop for iPad" is to actual Photoshop as WordPad was to Word.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Not at all. It’s the software engine of the real Shop, with a new UI. Since redesigning the ENTIRE application without user feedback in this situation would be absurd, the decision was made to implement the core functionality and then work with users on how to design the more complex bits and bobs.

      Seriously. You can get your Shop on with an iPad now.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        And WordPad used a lot of the same Word routines. That doesn't make them the same any more than this stripped down, minimalist subset is "Photoshop".

        • BrianEricFord

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          I don’t know what’s there and what’s missing, but “full photoshop” (for years now) has been “full” in the same way one is full after gorging on an all you can eat buffet.

          It’s mostly bloat. There’s a reason several competing apps can provide many of the same services at a fraction of the size.

          if the iPad version strips out the bloat and builds some features back in over time, that’s a good thing.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      It took them 30 years to create the Photoshop you see on the desktop today. You expect them to port it all to iOS in 2 years. Get realistic. So they have the base in place now and people are using it. Now they can add the missing features over time. They did the same thing when Lightroom for iOS came out. Now it is a more complete product.

      • dontbeevil

        In reply to lvthunder:

        it's funny when it comes to ios people suddenly understand this, when it comes to UWP people suddenly forget how sw development works

        • nbplopes

          In reply to dontbeevil:

          It is funny because you have been missing the point in the last 10 years. I think its time for you to put irreverence aside, the same kind of irreverence that Windows "knows" and "does" it all and cheaper and actually have a deep look at the problem domain.

          Try and think about this by paralleling the context of computing devices with the context of motor vehicles. In the second you have different categories like, electrical bicycles, motorbikes, cars, caravans, trucks, bus, airplanes. In each of these categories there are subcategories. They all share some commonalities and play with the same laws of physics and motion. Well that is why they are called motor vehicles. Yet, its is not what they have in common that defines them as replaceable. In fact, you find that each does not replace the other in practice.

          To simplify, take a look at three of them: motorbikes, cars & caravans, trucks. And take this mapping:

          iPad - Motorbike

          Laptop - Car & Caravan

          Desktop - Truck

          Workstations PC - Airplane

          Instead of thinking each as computing devices trying to do the same thing in the same contexts.. Think about it as computing vehicles. The only thing each have in common is the feature of taking something from point A to point B.

          If you think in this terms you will see that its not due to artifice that motorbikes can be faster than many cars, even a truck or Airplane when transporting something from point A to point B. Indeed this speed is not a sign that Motorbikes may replace Cars ar all. In particular it does not mean that they are capable or will be capable by design to cover the same spectrum of things that people want todo. Neither its desirable.

          Why would you want to turn a Car into a Motorbike and vice versa (Car Mode, Motorbike Mode) ? You see, either way there is entropy, you would still have a Car and a Motorbike at a given moment. Isn't this great? In abstract yes, but in practice you want to ride the Car the Motorbike would be extra load that constrains you, if you want to ride a a Motorbike, the Car is extra load. Meaning this aren't just modes that bare no weight. This modal approach is what Microsoft pursued without understanding what makes a good Motorbike ... that is why UWP totally failed due to friction/entropy! Full of side effects ... weight.

          Putting an iPad against a Laptop is similar to putting a Motorbike against a Car. Its pointless. Instead, think why would a a Motorbike be a better fit than a Car in your context to carry productive digital workloads?

          For me the answer is becoming clearer has time passes and iPads evolve. 20 years ago I stopped using Desktops and above (Trucks) and moved to using laptops. Laptops are similar to Cars, like Sedans. The reason was not that I did not need to power of a Truck for my work, but that I also needed more mobility. So it was a compromise. I traded computing power and versatility on the desk for some mobility. I could use both, yet maintaining both systems for software development is not without any work. Applications need to be installed, environment variables, scripts, software updates, so on and so forth ...

          I spend most of my work time (80%+) on a desk. Meaning that my laptop spends most on it. But those 20%- that I don't are crucial. So crucial that up until now the iPad was still not a good fit. Yet, with the advent of the iPad Pro and as iOS evolves, I can see those 20% being well covered. So it makes sense to actually going back to having Truck on the desk and a good Motorbike / iPad Pro for those 20% that I'm out. Granted, I will not do much software development / code on it, but that is not all my work is (Emails, Design, Prototypes, Presentations, Proposals and other Documents ... Management). In an coding urgency I can always remote back to the Truck.

          So back to the article, what does it mean having Photoshop on the iPad Pro close in function to the one on the Truck? It just means that those 20% or minus of time, that are crucial, are even better covered. Furthermore, I have the best tool to use on the desk.

          So you see, neither replaces the other. In fact, the more they work together in tandem the better for me. Things like SideCar and Continuity make all the sense rather than having a Car with the Motorbike above or a Motorbike pulling the Car in the back.

          Will ever the iPad approach replace the Laptop or a Truck? Well, has much as a Motorbike replaces a Car or a Truck. So that is not the interesting question at all. In fact you will see that Sedan/Laptops s will probably the most popular computing vehicles for a long time when it comes to workloads. In fact, if you are unclear about what you need probably a Sedan its the safer bet ... go from what you know. But if you are very experienced or just starting ... probably you can think differently and find that a Motorbike is a good fit for your work/life style.



          PS: I always smile with your snarking remarks. Not because of its content, but due to its irreverence along with nativity. But also makes me a bit sad, because it blocks the path of actual understating trough experience.

          PS: Think like Surface X are for me an artifice of branding. It plays with the fact that people recognise Windows as the OS for Cars and Trucks, so they will try to use it as such and be extremely frustrated. The approach has its merits though but the marketing/education about it misrepresents it, as of does not clarify. Yet, using it as a Motorbike ... it can be useful, but it in comparison its lacks the apps/culture tailored to Motorbikes due to the historical friction MS created with their modal approach. This is further intensified by the fact that is marketed as of very capable of running Car applications. A benefit that poised the approach since inception.

  2. wright_is

    Erm, if the features aren't there, how can they learn what features the users require by analysing their usage patterns?

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to wright_is:

      To be fair, he didn't specifically say anything about analyzing usage patterns (i.e. telemetry)-- just that they would "learn more about how people use" it on a mobile device. A big part of that learning will be listening to feedback and user requests. But on the telemetry side-- and to be clear, I'm not a Photoshop user-- I can imagine them looking at which menu items, feature sets and workflows get used the most. If most people are heavily using feature set/workflow 1, then perhaps that is a signal that Adobe should start bringing in additional related capabilities from the desktop app. If a particular menu item gets very little usage then perhaps that is a signal that Adobe doesn't need to bring over more desktop features that would be under there; etc.

  3. lvthunder

    Fresco on iPad launched on iPad last month (or was it the end of September). What launched today is Fresco for Surface devices and the Wacom tablet.

  4. dontbeevil

    Full photoshop is coming to ios...

    ...nahhh just kidding

  5. mclark2112

    Maybe they can "reimagine" their pricing scheme too. The subscription (and the whole subscription scheme) rates are ridiculous.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to mclark2112:

      No they aren't. They are really reasonable if you ask me. I mean Photoshop and Lightroom for the cost of 1 or maybe 2 fast food meals a month is not ridiculous.

    • geschinger

      In reply to mclark2112:

      How so? Before subscription pricing versions like Photoshop CS3 were ~$650. Unless you stuck with same version more than 5 years the subscription pricing is reasonable in comparison at $120 a year (which also includes Lightroom).

    • ronh

      In reply to mclark2112:

      I agree. I love Lightroom, but it is now too expensive. It also didn't scale well on my surface. It was cheaper with the upgrade pricing before. I am looking for an alternative. I cancelled my subscription and I need to find something before April

      • wright_is

        In reply to RonH:

        I received a free copy of CaptureOne with my Sony Alpha. I found it was very good and fulfilled my needs. The free version doesn't have all features and only connects to the Sony - although it imported my back catalogue of 20,000 Canon RAWs without complaining.

        There is a paid for Pro version that works with most camera brands. But it is expensive.

  6. F4IL

    This is the kind of commitment developers look forward to when they're trying to adopt and invest in an OS as a development/deployment station. Unfortunately, this is exactly what msft never did for metro, UWP, etc to inspire developers and make the case for a thriving store and a modern application ecosystem.

    Anyway, this is a product that will help sell more iPads and that's all that matters.

    • Jeffsters

      In reply to F4IL:

      Maybe but, last I looked, Apple already sells WAY WAY WAY more iPad’s then the combined number of Win based tablets.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to F4IL:

      My impression was that Microsoft spent a lot of money courting developers, paying them directly to bring apps to Windows Phone-- and in some cases going so far as to build the app themselves. There were many reasons for the death of Windows Phone (being late to market; trying to charge for the OS; targeting consumer while ignoring enterprise; changing the underlying platform in the shift to WP8; pursuing "hubs" that were nice for consumers but at odds with big apps that wanted to own their experience; poor support from carriers; etc.) but I don't think I could chalk it up to Microsoft's indifference.

      • F4IL

        In reply to Chris_Kez:

        I share the same impression as well, however, my point was that msft did almost nothing to port their big applications forward to the new technologies (like metro, UWP, PWA, etc). I don't know if it is indifference but, be it Windows or WindowsPhone, it certainly is not the stance that helps drive platform adoption especially among large swathes of smaller developers. Apple and Google develop their applications on the foundations and frameworks they advertise to 3rd parties, leaving no doubt regarding their commitment and adoption.

  7. Chris_Kez

    I wonder what kind of work Adobe is doing to "reimagine the (insert product name here) experience from the ground up" for touch on Windows. I know Illustrator expanded the touch workspace for Windows in 2015, but it was certainly not a ground up re-imagination of the product for Surface-- and I'm not sure they've done anything to build on that in recent years.

  8. dontbeevil

    meanwhile Adobe released Fresco (UWP) for Windows

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