For years, it seems the defining factor between determining a “real” operating system and some sort of lesser-than solution has rested at the feet of one company: Adobe. Today, Adobe is putting the iPad among the ranks of the great.
Every time I talk Chromebooks, tablets, or other forms of non-desktop computers with people, some form of the same phrase comes up—“If it ran Photoshop it would be perfect.” That pretty much sums up Adobe’s hold on the photo editing market; Photoshop is the gold standard for image tweaks, and if a full desktop version isn’t available on your favorite OS, then your favorite OS just isn’t meant for “real work.”
Today, Adobe announced that Photoshop is coming to the iPad in 2019. Not just a half-cocked version of Photoshop either—we’re talking about “real Photoshop” here. That’s exactly how Adobe announced the product too, making it clear that this isn’t just another mobile version of Photoshop redesigned (again) for the iPad and Pencil input. Nope, this is the real deal.
The underlying code is the same as what you get on the Windows and Mac versions of Photoshop, though the interface has been re-thought for touch and Pencil input. It will sync with Adobe Cloud so all your files can be easily transferred back and forth between a traditional computer and the iPad. The product will initially launch with a set of core features available, with more added in over time. So, out of the box, it will be sort of a Photoshop “light” experience, but only temporarily.
But since the iPad runs a dramatically different system than what we traditionally see Photoshop running on, Adobe decided it was time to also update the PSD file itself with an updated system called Cloud PSD. This is the PSD redesigned for the cloud that will allow for seamless integration of file between desktop and mobile Photoshop versions—Adobe likens this to Google Docs for Photoshop. Instead of your PSD files living on the PC and syncing with Adobe’s Cloud, they’ll live in the cloud. Again, just like Google Docs.
So, if we’re understanding this correctly, it should allow users to work with the same files on desktop and iPad, perhaps even at the same time. For example, if you can leave a Google Docs file open on a desktop computer, then edit it on mobile and those changes happen on both screens in real-time. Whether this is how it will work with Cloud PSD, however, has yet to be seen.
And that’s the biggest thing here: this isn’t readily available yet. In fact, Adobe offered the first public demonstration of Photoshop on the iPad at the Adobe Max conference today, noting that this won’t be ready for the public until sometime next year. It will be a part of Adobe’s CC suite, so if you’re already a Photoshop subscriber you’ll be part of Team iPad right out of the gate. No word on pricing for a standalone version—if one is even going to be available at all.
The Verge has some excellent coverage of Photoshop on the iPad, so hit them up if you want a closer look at what to expect.