Adobe is Launching Photoshop for iPad in 2019

Jul 13, 2018

Adobe Systems Inc., the maker of popular digital design programs for creatives, is planning to launch the full version of its Photoshop app for Apple Inc.’s iPad as part of a new strategy to make its products compatible across multiple devices and boost subscription sales - reports Mark Gurman via Bloomberg.

Reportedly, Photoshop for iPad will target users in media and entertainment who'd want to edit their work on the go. There is hope that the ios app that we might get a glimpse of on Adobe's annual Max creative conference in October, will be part of the Creative Cloud family, therefore might be offered as part of the subscription we already have! It's a huge step from Adobe that has been claiming for years to never bring their full desktop experience to the iPad. 

Now the app is rumored to hit the market in 2019 and it might mark the beginning of a long-term effort to spread iPad iterations of other Adobe programs in the future.

According to Bloomberg, Scott Belsky, Adobe’s chief product officer of Creative Cloud, confirmed the company was working on a new cross-platform iteration of Photoshop and other applications, but declined to specify the timing of their launches. “My aspiration is to get these on the market as soon as possible,” Belsky said in an interview. “There’s a lot required to take a product as sophisticated and powerful as Photoshop and make that work on a modern device like the iPad. We need to bring our products into this cloud-first collaborative era.”

Adobe’s main suite of media-editing products is known as Creative Cloud -- a subscription service that gives users access to apps including Photoshop, Premiere and Illustrator on Mac and Windows computers, and companion mobile apps such as Photoshop Mix on the iPhone and iPad. The current Creative Cloud apps are based on aging architectures with different underpinnings for each device. The new versions of the apps will allow users to run full versions of the programs on Apple’s iPad and continue edits on different devices, the people said.

The moves are similar to ones Microsoft Corp. has made as part of its software and services-focused turnaround in recent years. Adobe’s customers, particularly in media and entertainment, are increasingly working on tablets rather than desktop computers, and have asked the company for the capability to make “edits on the fly” to their creative projects, Belsky said.

The app evolution strategy is a long-term effort that will spread to Adobe’s other programs in the future. Adobe’s mission is twofold -- to satisfy the professionals who rely on its software for photo editing and illustration, and to capture casual users. The new tools will have mobile-friendly interfaces more familiar to these audiences, rather than being replicas of the existing desktop versions. The app won’t immediately be a replacement for Photoshop, which has been around since 1990, but will be offered alongside it, people familiar with the project said.

Certainly, running Photoshop and other professional Adobe apps on the iPad would be an endorsement for the device, which first went on sale about eight years ago. Because Microsoft’s Surface tablets are compatible with the full Windows operating system, they’ve been able to run Photoshop for years. The iPad runs Apple’s iOS operating system, so it has never been able to run macOS versions of Photoshop. Adobe’s Creative Suite had become a key advantage for the Surface -- one that will soon disappear, potentially putting a dent in its market. Photoshop features decades of coding overlays that have bolstered its capabilities, but most mobile devices haven’t been robust enough to run the program. Newer versions of the iPad Pro are now powerful enough to support Adobe’s apps, Belsky said.

There's a real chance that a Photoshop iPad app would immediately hurt a slew of mobile apps that have sought to fill the void such as Pixelmator, Affinity Photo etc, or our favorite "bridge" solution we use at digitalEPIGRAPHY, Astropad Studio. However, don't just cancel your subscription yet, field epigraphers, but rather wait and see how much of your day-to-day Photoshop CC tasks can be implemented in the iPad's much more versatile form factor.

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