Maker of popular digital design programs for creatives, Adobe, is planning to launch the full version of its Photoshop app for Apple’s iPad as part of its updated strategy to make its products compatible across multiple devices and boost subscription sales.
Adobe is planning to unveil the new app at its annual MAX creative conference in October. The application is expected to hit the market in 2019, however there is no exact confirmation date.
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.
The app evolution strategy is a long-term effort that will spread to Adobe’s other programs in the future. A new version of Illustrator is in development but a longer way off from being released.
Adobe has dropped hints it was headed in this direction. It recently previewed Project Rush, a light video editing app that works on iPads and computers. Rush is a “test bed” for the new platform, a person familiar with Adobe’s software development said. It also has launched the Lightroom CC app for iPads and iPhones.
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.