‘Real’ Photoshop Coming To iPad

iPad showing Creative Cloud logo.
Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock

Is the iPad a “real” computer? This question continues to be asked by tech pundits. The answer varies from person to person. It was once the standard bar to clear that the iPad could be considered a real computer as soon as it could run traditional apps such as Microsoft Office. Now that the iPad can achieve that standard, the question shifts to something like — when can we expect the portable tablet to run a full-featured version of Adobe Photoshop?

Adobe has made a number of apps for the iPad. The iPad can also be used to access material in Adobe’s Creative Cloud. The Verge reports that Adobe is planning to do more. In 2019, Adobe will be releasing a feature-rich version of Photoshop for iPad.

“Adobe announced at its Max conference today that it’s bringing Photoshop on the iPad in 2019. The app will rely on a new file format called Cloud PSDs, which will track edits and sync them automatically to Creative Cloud, letting users work on the same file from any device. We got to use an early version of the app for a week, and our Art department had a lot of thoughts on whether it’s actually “real Photoshop” or not.”

While the product is authentic and decidedly not vaporware, it is still in the beta phase. So there is time for Adobe to collect feedback from testers and to make any required changes before the product ships next year.

The Verge had a chance to put the app through its paces — and found much to like and much to be desired. They noted that while the beta was not exactly the same as the desktop version, it used the same PSD files. Therefore, they could start working on a file on their desktop, then continue with that same file on the iPad.

Photoshop keyboard
  Maxim Apryatin / Shutterstock

Testers used to the desktop version found the all-touch environment unfamiliar, meaning that the user interface took some getting used to. A major complaint was the lack of keyboard shortcuts. Photoshop professionals have a keyboard-driven work-flow that is not a trivial matter to replace.

Another complain had less to do with the app and more to do with the Apple Pencil. It was not as comfortable to use in long sessions as its competitor in the Wacom stylus.

The app will be bundled with the Creative Cloud suite of applications. If you already pay for Adobe CC, you will not have to pay again to use Photoshop on the iPad. It is unclear if there will be stand-alone pricing for the iPad app without a Creative Cloud subscription.

Adobe has indicated that they are also open to bringing more of their professional apps to the iPad platform.