Adobe is planning to shift its mobile app strategy once again with a full release of Photoshop for iPad, Bloomberg reports. The move, which is part of an effort to make its products available across as many device as possible and thereby boost subscription sales, would see a new full-featured Photoshop app unveiled at Adobe’s MAX creative conference in October, with the app scheduled to be released in 2019. The information comes from undisclosed sources, and engineering delays could still alter the timeline, however Adobe’s Chief Product Officer of Creative Cloud, Scott Belsky, did confirm that the company is working on a new cross-platform iteration of Photoshop, but declined to comment on when the new versions would be launched. “My aspiration is to get these on the market as soon as possible,” Belsky said in an interview. “There’s a lot required to take a product as sophisticated and powerful as Photoshop and make that work on a modern device like the iPad. We need to bring our products into this cloud-first collaborative era.”
Adobe’s approach to Apple’s iPad has been a winding road thus far, with the release of Photoshop Touch in 2012 followed by the app being discontinued three years later in an effort by Adobe to release smaller and more “focused” Photoshop apps. However, the new apps became even more disconnected from the core Photoshop experience, and were met with a lukewarm reception, and never became particularly popular due to their different user experiences and limited functionality. Meanwhile, Adobe has been dealing with legacy and varying architectures in its core Creative Cloud apps on the desktop platforms. The company has more recently been trying to modernize the entire Creative Cloud suite and provide some consistency, as well as promoting its products to hobbyists, so this new approach to fully embracing the iPad may not come as much of a surprise. The new Photoshop app for the iPad is expected to not only be a full version that provides all of the capabilities of the desktop app, but also allow users to easily continue edits across different devices. Adobe has recognized that many of its professional customers are working on tablets, and have in fact been asking the company for better support to “make edits on the fly” in their creative projects, however sources note that Adobe’s goal is to not only satisfy these professional users but also capture more casual users who have traditionally found the desktop Photoshop interfaces too intimidating, and to that end Adobe will be trying to wrap the power of Photoshop up into a mobile-friendly interface, rather than merely replicating the desktop interface on the iPad.