Why Pho­to­shop on IOS is a huge win for the ipad Pro

It’s a huge shot in the arm for the ipad Pro and an­other sign of where Ap­ple’s plat­forms are go­ing in the fu­ture.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY JA­SON SNELL

So it’s of­fi­cial. Pho­to­shop—real Pho­to­shop—is com­ing to the ipad next year ( go.mac­world. com/phsp). If you’re some­one who uses Pho­to­shop, uses the ipad to get work done, or both, this is big news. It’s a huge shot in the arm for the ipad Pro and an­other sign of where Ap­ple’s plat­forms are go­ing in the fu­ture. In 2019, IOS apps aren’t just com­ing to the Mac—one of the big­gest and most im­por­tant Mac apps is com­ing to IOS.


Most of the time when I men­tion Pho­to­shop around my fel­low com­puter

nerds, it’s met with a raised eye­brow. Lots of tech peo­ple dis­like Adobe’s pi­o­neer­ing of the soft­ware sub­scrip­tion route, and there are nu­mer­ous al­ter­na­tives to Pho­to­shop out there. On the Mac alone, there are ex­cel­lent apps like Acorn ( go. mac­world.com/acrn) and Pix­el­ma­tor Pro ( go.mac­world.com/plpr).

The truth is, Pho­to­shop is huge and it’s en­trenched. It’s been used by graph­ics pro­fes­sion­als for three decades. The work­flows of many dif­fer­ent fields are based on it. Busi­nesses large, medium, and small rely on it. Adobe makes it re­ally easy to buy seats for a site li­cense, write a check, and equip ev­ery com­puter—mac or Pc—with the in­dus­try stan­dard. (Cre­ative Cloud re­ally is to pub­lish­ing and graph­ics what Mi­crosoft Of­fice is to busi­ness.)

And then there’s the per­sonal fac­tor. I learned how to use Pho­to­shop in my col­lege news­pa­per of­fices in 1990—that means I learned on Pho­to­shop 1.0 ( go. mac­world.com/adv1). The com­puter I used for Pho­to­shop—a Mac Iicx ( go. mac­world.com/iicx)— didn’t have a color mon­i­tor, just grayscale. (It also didn’t have lay­ers and only had a sin­gle level of undo, which meant the mo­ment your ants stopped march­ing [ go.mac­world.com/ants], your changes were ir­rev­o­ca­ble. It clar­i­fied the mind.)

Pho­to­shop is deep, deep in my mus­cle mem­ory now. I have, on my Mac, a half- dozen apps that of­fer most or all of the same fea­tures that I use in Pho­to­shop. And none of them costs the $120 per year I pay for Pho­to­shop. But—and this is my key point here—none of them are Pho­to­shop. Only Pho­to­shop is Pho­to­shop, and I ac­tu­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that I can now pay an an­nual tithe to Adobe and make sure that I am al­ways us­ing the lat­est and great­est ver­sion of the app I’ve been us­ing for 28 years.

(By the way, for what it’s worth, Adobe’s pho­tog­ra­phy bun­dle—pho­to­shop and Light­room for $120 per year—is a pretty good deal if you like those apps. Ev­ery other ma­jor Adobe pro app is $240 per

year, and the full Cre­ative Cloud mem­ber­ship is $600 per year.)


On IOS the same rules ap­ply: While there are lots of apps that do many of the things that Pho­to­shop does, most no­tably Pix­el­ma­tor and Affin­ity Photo ( go.mac­world.com/afph), they aren’t Pho­to­shop. (There are even a bunch of “Pho­to­shop apps” from Adobe—but they, too, are weird remixes of Pho­to­shop that aren’t real Pho­to­shop.) For some­one like me, that makes a huge dif­fer­ence.

But it’s not just me. A comics artist I like a lot, Jen Bar­tel, tweeted a while ago about how much she loves her ipad—but can’t use it to do her job ( go.mac­world. com/adaf). Her busi­ness speaks the lan­guage of Pho­to­shop and she has come to rely on cus­tom brushes that are owned by Adobe and only avail­able in Pho­to­shop. To do pro work on the go, Bar­tel—a Mac user and ipad fan—uses a Win­dows-driven Wa­com Mo­bilestu­dio Pro de­vice be­cause it runs Pho­to­shop.

Adobe’s move to ipad in­stantly makes ev­ery­one who knows, loves, or re­lies on Pho­to­shop a pos­si­ble can­di­date for an ipad Pro. And make no mis­take, the ipad Pro is al­ready plenty pow­er­ful enough to run Pho­to­shop, and with the Ap­ple Pen­cil it’s got an in­put method that will sat­isfy most graph­ics pros. Even bet­ter, Adobe has said that it will be build­ing in cloud sync­ing for Pho­to­shop files, so that you’ll be able to seam­lessly hand off projects di­rectly from one de­vice to an­other.

A lot of the crit­i­cism of the ipad Pro as a flawed tool for do­ing real work comes down to soft­ware. The hard­ware is ca­pa­ble—but where’s the soft­ware? These ar­gu­ments have been weak for a while now—i think Mi­crosoft Of­fice for ipad is aces, and Ap­ple’s iwork apps are re­mark­ably ca­pa­ble, too—but with ev­ery ma­jor app that ar­rives on the plat­form, the qui­eter that crit­i­cism has to get. Adobe’s also bring­ing a sim­pli­fied ver­sion of Pre­miere, called Pre­miere Rush, to the ipad. I won­der if Ap­ple’s con­sid­er­ing just

how Fi­nal Cut and Logic might work on the ipad?


In 2019, things are go­ing to change. Yes, we know that Ap­ple is work­ing on a way for IOS apps to come to the Mac. But as Adobe’s an­nounce­ment in­di­cates, desk­top apps are go­ing to IOS, too. When Adobe dis­cusses Pho­to­shop now, it does so as a sin­gle tool that ap­pears on the var­i­ous de­vices used by the peo­ple who rely on it. Pho­to­shop is a sys­tem that spans Mac, PC, and now IOS. It goes where you go, on the de­vices you want.

Ap­ple is head­ing there, too, with its ini­tia­tive to cre­ate a com­mon frame­work that can be used to build Mac and IOS apps. And it’s hard not to look at the ap­pear­ance of Ap­ple’s Phil Schiller at Adobe Max as a clear in­di­ca­tor that Adobe’s moves will be a big part of

Ap­ple’s mes­sag­ing around the ipad Pro in the next year.

Be­cause in the end, what’s the ipad Pro but a com­puter in the shape of a tablet? If you’re an artist, you might want to work out­side, or on the couch, or maybe you want to take a much smaller de­vice with you when you’re roam­ing around town or on a trip. Shouldn’t you be able to bring Pho­to­shop with you wher­ever you go? And isn’t the ipad Pro with Ap­ple Pen­cil per­fectly suited for some of the tasks that Pho­to­shop is also per­fectly suited for?

That’s re­ally Ap­ple’s larger vi­sion for 2019 and be­yond: If you are sit­ting at a desk in front of a big imac screen or trav­el­ing with an ipad Pro, you should be able to have ac­cess to fa­mil­iar soft­ware. Choose the right tool for the job, whether it’s a big desk­top or a tiny lap­top or an even smaller tablet, and you should be able to get that job done.

Pho­to­shop on the ipad isn’t the magic key that un­locks the fu­ture of the ipad Pro. But it’s one of the big­gest signs yet that things are chang­ing—and that the ipad won’t be de­nied as a des­ti­na­tion for peo­ple who want to get work done. ■

Adobe Pho­to­shop 1.0.

The Ap­ple Pen­cil is per­fectly suited for Pho­to­shop on the ipad.

Pho­to­shop for ipad is near to the desk­top re­lease.

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