Adobe officially announced its plans today to bring the full Photoshop CC experience to the iPad. The announcement confirms a report from the summer, which suggested that the new app would be unveiled at Adobe’s MAX conference in October, with the release scheduled for 2019, but didn’t provide too many details other than that it would be a full release of Photoshop CC, rather than the scaled down “lite” or focused single-app attempts that Adobe has previously come up with. While today’s announcement still doesn’t provide a specific release date beyond “in the future,” Adobe has provided some additional details on what the iPad experience will be like, noting that it’s “bringing real Photoshop to mobile devices with an approachable user experience and the power and precision needed for image compositing” and that it will work as a standalone app or as a companion that will sync with Photoshop on the desktop via Adobe’s Creative Cloud platform. Users will be able to open PSD files natively directly on an iPad, and use the same editing tools, optimized for the touchscreen interface, and Adobe notes that the iPad version will use “the same underlying code and algorithms” as the desktop version, providing the same results from editing on either platform, and direct round-tripping of the same PSD files between the iPad and the desktop versions of Photoshop.
Adobe’s announcement goes on to note that the project was born as a result of two Photoshop engineers proposing the “crazy” idea to put the real Photoshop code on the iPad, with it surprisingly working well enough that the design team began working on reimagining the Photoshop user experience on a mobile device. That said, Adobe notes that they will be initially releasing “a smaller set of features” in the iPad version for the 1.0 release in order to make it available as soon as possible, with plans to gradually add the rest over time, presumably as free updates. It sounds like all of the core tools should be in the initial release, however, including selections and masking, filters, adjustments, and more. Adobe’s focus on rethinking the user experience may also explain the more gradual rollout of features, ensuring the basics are covered in the 1.0 release before tackling more advanced and sophisticated tools. Users can sign up for updates on Adobe’s progress toward Photoshop on the iPad at Adobe’s Photoshop web page.