Last year Adobe announced that it would be bringing a full version of its venerable Photoshop application to the iPad, and following a debut of the app last week at Adobe’s 99U Conference in New York City, it looks like the company is finally ready to at least make a preliminary version available to iPad users to try out by applying to a beta program.
To be clear, this isn’t another one of Adobe’s minimalist iOS apps that it’s released over the years, but rather the full-blown, full-featured Photoshop CC, sharing the same code base and powerful features as its desktop counterpart, while optimizing the user interface for the touchscreen and Apple Pencil.
This is real Photoshop on the iPad, the same underlying code and algorithms you rely on every day, with a reimagined user experience to take advantage of the uniquenesses of the device.Adobe
Adobe’s approach to Apple’s iPad has been a long and winding road over the years, with the company releasing several half-baked attempts to provide some creative features to iPad users, but frequently hedging on committing to anything close to a more complete Photoshop experience. Adobe’s first attempt, Photoshop Touch, was released back in 2012, providing a small subset of Photoshop features, but it was discontinued three years later when Adobe decided to change its approach and release a set of smaller, more “focused” Photoshop apps. However, this new lineup of apps was even more disconnected from the core Photoshop experience, and the new apps were met with a lukewarm reception at best.
To be fair, one of the problems Adobe faced with Photoshop was wrestling with an older and more convoluted code base from the desktop versions that had evolved over the years across varying legacy architectures. Back in 2016, Adobe began making serious efforts to modernize the entire Creative Cloud suite and clean up the code base in the process, thereby also making it much easier to directly adapt the real Photoshop software onto the iPad.
Adobe’s new strategy has been to make its products, which are now almost entirely sold on a subscription basis, available on as many devices as possible, thereby helping to boost sales. The company also hopes the iPad version of Photoshop will help to capture more casual users who have traditionally found the desktop Photoshop interface to be too intimidating.
Last night, Adobe sent out emails to customers inviting them to apply for the Photoshop for iPad beta program, with a link to a simple Google Form to sign up. On the form, Adobe is requesting just your name and e-mail address, but it also asks you to explain why you’re interested in testing Photoshop on the iPad, suggesting that Adobe may use that information to filter out applicants.
Unfortunately, the e-mail simply says “Photoshop is coming to the small screen. Apply for the beta program and be among the first to try Photoshop on iPad,” offering no other information such as when the beta program will start, how many participants will be invited to participate, or what the selection criteria will be. Still, if you’re a Photoshop enthusiast who wants to give the iPad version an early spin, it’s definitely worth a shot. You can apply to join the beta program here.