April 01, 2011

What’s this about “Photoshop for iPad”?

No fooling: A couple of days ago, Adobe exec John Loiacono briefly demonstrated some tablet-based imaging technology from our labs. Here’s an audience member’s recording:

[Update: Video was pulled from YouTube, but it’s still live here]

Tons of media outlets have picked up & sometimes embellished the news, calling it “a fully-fledged Photoshop Image Editing software,” even saying (rather breathlessly) that it heralds “the End of the Desktop Computing Era.”

The director of our group, Maria Yap, has posted some clarification on the Photoshop.com blog:

While this likely won’t make it into a product for a while, it served to give Photoshop fans a glimpse of what we’re exploring… It’s equally exciting for us, as we’ve enjoyed playing with these devices and dreaming up new possibilities. What we showed at Photoshop World was an experiment with a visual representation of compositing that allows any user to understand Layers.

Maria goes on to give a peek at the kind of Photoshop companion apps we’ve discussed here.

For my part, I don’t subscribe to the hype about tablets eliminating desktop OSes & tools, any more than I think that TV will replace radio. The technologies & experiences are complementary. As John Gruber notes, “It’s the heaviness of the Mac that allows iOS to remain light.” Neven Mrgan writes, “The iPad attempts to simplify computing not by some stroke of magic, but by doing less.” As I put it earlier this year,

Tablet apps have to be about something else–about a different spirit, a different ethos–to be worth doing. Otherwise it’s just the same stuff dumped onto more feeble hardware.

I feel incredibly fortunate to get a chance to bring Adobe imaging technology to tablets, all while rethinking what an interface can be. Thanks for all the feedback, and stay tuned.

Posted by John Nack at 2:30 PM on April 01, 2011


  • Sula — 3:26 PM on April 01, 2011

    I sure hope desktop computing isn’t going anywhere. I love my big display and my large amount of ram and decent video cards; And I sure love them to not have to worry about battery life. :)

    Regardless, I do love working on multitouch directly on screen. I am anxiously waiting to see what will adobe bring up with all this.

  • Benny — 3:55 AM on April 02, 2011

    … and I simply luv a clean monitor to look at without greasy fingers!

  • Jack — 11:58 AM on April 02, 2011

    Thanks for the informative post John!

    I literally want to get my hands (and fingers) on this app.

  • haleonearth — 10:16 PM on April 02, 2011

    Thanks John.

  • Robert Barnett — 7:56 AM on April 04, 2011

    I have no doubt at all that in the next couple of years that desktop and laptop computers will diminish greatly. Laptops will go by the way side completely and desktop systems will be for those that need the special abilities that they offer that they can’t get someplace else.

    Tablet computers are the future and a time will come where they will be powerful enough, with enough storage, memory and processing power to replace a laptop and a desktop for most.

    I do not however see Apple ever bringing this about. Apple likes to play too many games and control things too tightly for this to happen any time soon. Apple will be forced to open because of what others do. Companies like Dell, HP, etc.

    Once we have a tablet computer running Windows 7 64-bit with 12GB of RAM, 1 TB of storage a 10″ touch screen (pressure sensitive would be cool, if Wacom can do it so can others), proper hook ups for USB, and memory cards then tablets will start taking over for most people.

    It is coming 5 years or less I would say. Just don’t expect Apple to bring it. Their update of the iPad from 1 to 2 was weak at best.


  • Alonzo Riley — 9:47 PM on April 05, 2011

    Tablet keyboards simply aren’t good enough. Tablets are nowhere nearly as productive. Apple is too much of a control freak to really be all that useful. It has a niche for convenience, but there’s a huge problem in efficiency and customization.

    I really like Anand’s take on this issue:


  • Lon — 10:55 PM on April 05, 2011

    I sold a Mac Book Pro 5,1 (4 GB, 320 GB HD, 3.0 C2D) and replaced it with a 64GB iPad2, and Zagg keyboard cover. This works for me because I have a MacMini server at home. When home, I use my server. When out, I use my iPad. I am a network/security engineer by trade. I haven’t found a single time that I didn’t have what I needed with me because I chose an iPad instead of a laptop. I got to use the Laptop for 2 years and paid a dollar a day for those two years. Now I have an iPad, keyboard, monitor for my server (it was headless), and I paid off a credit card for what I got for the MBP. Just think, a server plus an iPad is cheaper than a Laptop by itself, They will do everything a Laptop does (and more), and I have an actual hardware backup for theft/damage.

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