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Designers can work on the go with several new Adobe apps for iOS

Photoshop and its professionally oriented siblings may be used as convenient shorthand for computer makers who want to tout desktop capabilities, but Adobe is also adapting its powerful graphics programs for mobile interfaces. On Monday, Adobe released several new mobile apps, although a few are new re-branded versions of software that already existed. The apps are free to download, but require an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and an active internet connection.

Adobe Photoshop Sketch
Adobe Photoshop Sketch

There are now two Photoshop-branded apps in the iOS App Store. Photoshop Sketch is an updated version of Adobe Sketch and virtually turns your device into a drawing tablet. It works well with your finger and stylus. Photoshop Mix, a layer-based image manipulation program, launched for the iPad earlier this year. It was updated Monday to run on the iPhone, and the app got a few new updates that improve its integration with the desktop.

Adobe also overhauled its Lightroom Mobile suite, which is sure attract some attention from professional photographers given the uncertain future of Apple’s Aperture product. Lightroom Mobile is still split into iPad and iPhone editions, which both received updates that gives the apps a social flavor, letting friends and family favorite and comment on photos on Lightroom on the web.

Adobe Illustrator Line
Adobe Illustrator Line

Adobe Ideas, a sketchbook program that was one of Adobe’s first mobile apps, has beget two new iPad-only apps that have taken the name of Adobe’s venerable vector graphics editor. Illustrator Line is a new iPad-only app that allows users to draw vector illustrations using a pressure sensitive stylus. The latest version can send vector drawings directly to a desktop version of Illustrator, as well as share drawings directly to Behance, Adobe’s online portfolio site. Illustrator Line can be paired with Illustrator Draw, which takes vector drawing tools from Adobe Ideas and puts them into a more professionally oriented sketchbook interface.

Premiere is also available for iOS for the first time, in a stripped down version called Premiere Clip. There are a lot of different video editing programs available for Apple’s mobile OS, but Premiere Clip stands out through tight integration with Creative Cloud and the desktop version of Premiere.

Adobe Shape CC
Adobe Shape CC

Perhaps the most interesting apps that revealed on Monday are in a new category that Adobe is calling “capture apps.” Adobe Brush lets users take photos and turn those photos into brushes that can be used in Photoshop or Illustrator. Similarly, Adobe Shape can turn objects from photos — even fonts — into vector art. Unfortunately, that program requires enough power that it will only work on devices newer than an iPhone 5. Rounding out the capture app category, Adobe’s color picker app has been renamed from Kuler to Adobe Color.

Although most of the new apps are for iOS, Adobe introduced an app called Creative Cloud Preview for Android as well.

[company]Adobe[/company] has been getting serious about mobile in the past few years, and this new batch of apps continues to outline its strategy: Instead of big omnibus apps like it provides on the desktop, it’s breaking features into individual, focused apps — following the trend of other app developers that are also unbundling features from their main apps. The strategy seems to make sense. Adobe makes its money these days from Creative Cloud subscriptions, not selling individual pieces of software for hundreds of dollars.

Jeff Veen, VP of product at Adobe, will be speaking at Gigaom’s Roadmap design conference this November. He’s in charge of product development for Creative Cloud, so I’m sure he’ll have a lot to say about Adobe’s mobile app strategy.

Top image courtesy of David Lankford/Flickr Creative Commons