photoshop cc iPad

Late last year, Adobe showed off a “real” version of its popular Photoshop app for the iPad, which obviously got a lot of people excited for its launch sometime in 2019.

Photoshop for iPad, in a real version of the app, is a big deal. But since that first unveiling the build-up for the app has been pretty quiet. That is, up until recently. We reported earlier this month that the Photoshop experience on iPad is going to be missing quite a few features, making some wonder if it’s actually a “full” version of Photoshop after all.

John Gruber at Daring Fireball says that, even with the missing features out of the gate, this is indeed still a full version of Photoshop and that new features will be making their way to the tablet version of the app in the future. Gruber says that a lot of the confusion here is expectation versus reality, with Adobe always planning on releasing features for Photoshop at a later date after the app’s initial launch.

This comes down to a distinction between “full” and “real”. Adobe has been describing the Photoshop app for iPad as “real Photoshop”, which is technically accurate. However, others have associated “real” with “full”, and, as such, expected that the “real” version of Photoshop for iPad would also come with all of the features baked into the “full” version of the app available now on desktops.

From what I gather, the mistake Adobe made was not precisely setting expectations for the initial release of Photoshop for iPad. When Adobe described as “real” Photoshop, what a lot of people heard was “full” Photoshop, and that was never the plan. Some of this expectation-setting is attributable to Bloomberg, which described the project as “the full version of its Photoshop app” as far back as July last year.

As mentioned above, the real version of Photoshop for iPad is indeed real, because it relies on the same code as the desktop version. And as noted by Gruber it is indeed an amazing accomplishment to make it happen on Apple’s tablets. But the report states that Adobe never planned on the app being the “full” version at launch.

As such, the company is already planning (and has been planning) to launch new features (or features from the desktop, and new to the tablet experience) at a later date, sometime after the app’s initial launch. When that launch is actually going to be remains a mystery, however.

Adobe says that it is “genuinely all-in” with Photoshop for iPad and is not giving up on the project, even if it is slightly behind schedule. What’s more, the company has an “aggressive schedule” for updates to the app, which will be bringing the requested features to the tablet app.

What I’ve heard, from multiple reliable sources, is that Adobe is genuinely all-in on Photoshop for iPad. They view it as a serious, top-shelf project for creative professionals. The team of engineers working on it has grown significantly from a year ago, and they have plans to add features iteratively on an aggressive schedule. It’s reasonable to be disappointed that it isn’t further along feature-count-wise, but anyone who cares about Photoshop for iPad as a long-term product should be very excited about its foundation, direction, and the attention Adobe is paying to the fine details of a touch-first Photoshop UI.

This is good news all around, and shows how important it is to set realistic expectations especially for a hugely popular app like Photoshop. It might take some time, but it certainly sounds like Adobe is committed to making its tablet app something worthwhile, and, hopefully, worth the wait.

Are you looking forward to the launch of Photoshop for iPad? Even if you’ll have to wait for some features?