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Adobe Photoshop for iPad is REAL and will work 'seamlessly' with the desktop version

Adobe Photoshop CC for iPad

The updates to Photoshop CC announced at Adobe’s annual Adobe Max conference may be relatively modest, but the bigger news is the development of ‘REAL’ Photoshop CC across a whole range of devices, not just high-powered desktop computers.

It’s going to start with the iPad, but Adobe is planning to include other operating systems and computing devices as soon as the technology is ready.

Adobe’s dream is that you will be able to open and edit a PSD (Photoshop format image file) on an iPad and then carry on working on it seamlessly on your desktop computer, or the other way round. This would be a major step forward, avoiding the need to export/import files, convert them to different formats or overcome inconsistencies in tools and effects.

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Adobe Photoshop CC for iPad

Adobe wants to bring the full power of Photoshop CC's layer and masking tools to Apple's iPad tablet.

Making Photoshop CC work on an iPad

The company’s engineers have already carried out ‘proof of life’ experiments using the same underlying Photoshop code and algorithm’s on an iPad and are now ready to launch a 1.0 version for Apple’s tablet devices. 

This has been made possible by improvements to the processing power of mobile devices. A tablet interface is completely different to that of a desktop device, of course, but Adobe says it has completely ‘reimagined’ the user experience. Touch-screen input is a limitation in some respects but an opportunity in others, as it allows a much more tactile and intuitive interaction with the image, with natural touch gestures to speed up editing processes, reflecting Adobe’s “workflow velocity” theme for this year’s updates.

Adobe Photoshop CC for iPad

Photoshop CC for iPad will display Photoshop's familiar vertical toolbar but in a 're-imagined' interface designed for touchscreen devices.

Adobe is confident that it can give the iPad version exactly the same tools as Photoshop on desktop computers, though for version 1.0 it’s offering a smaller set of features simply to get the first version out there and shipping quickly. It’s promising the remaining features will be added gradually over time, so exciting though it is, Photoshop CC for iPad looks like an ongoing project rather than an immediately finished product.

This is not the first time a full-powered photo-editing app has been migrated to the iPad, of course. Serif’s Affinity Photo iPad edition can do everything the desktop version can do, and its interface has been adapted very successfully for touch-screen control, so it will be interesting to see how these to mobile apps compare when Photoshop CC for iPad becomes available.

Currently, Adobe is showing a preview version only, with a shipping version to follow “in the future”. It will use a new Cloud documents system for PSD file synchronisation, which is also only at the preview stage so far.


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Rod Lawton

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio. Previously he has been Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. 

Rod's near-encyclopedic knowledge of cameras both old and new makes him an invaluable resource, whether we need to ask a question about transparencies or the latest X-Trans sensor. He owns all manner of cameras, from Nikon DSLRs through Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm bodies, and on any given day you'll see him using kit from just about every manufacturer.