You might have seen an article by Bloomberg that came out earlier this month, discussing Adobe’s plans to create a full-fledged version of Photoshop for iPad tablets. This won’t be like Adobe’s current Photoshop app offerings for iOS — instead, you’ll be able to do everything you can do in the desktop version of Photoshop CC, right on your iPad.

It’s supposed to be revealed at the Adobe MAX Conference this October, with a release date sometime in 2019.

But this is really just the continuum of Adobe adapting for smaller, touch-screen devices. A full, touch-centric version of Photoshop CC already exists for Microsoft’s Surface tablets. And with last October’s release of the new Lightroom CC experience, and its entry into “Project Rush” — a desktop and mobile-friendly version of video production editing tools — it certainly seems like Adobe is going full speed ahead into the future that is mobile.

With all these changes and announcements, what’s that mean for the future of creative apps? What should we expect in, say, 5 or 10 years from now?

Touch-centric, with desktop still relevant

When I was a web designer, designing for mobile was important, but it was seen as a “secondary” device after your desktop or laptop. Now, “responsive first” is leading the way into 21st century web design. And the same can be said for creative apps like Lightroom and Photoshop.

Imagine a future where your primary device is your iPad Pro. You’ll be able to import your photos via a iPad card reader or through your camera’s wifi connection, and then you’ll edit in Lightroom and Photoshop with the help of an Apple Pencil. While you edit you’ll be able to share a live stream link to your clients, so they can look at the progress of the photograph and offer their suggestions.

Photos will live either in the cloud or through a networked drive, that will be accessible no matter where you are in the world.

This technology already exists…kind of. You can tether your camera to your computer, share a Lightroom Web link to your clients and they can watch as photos come through. But it’s never been live or fully interactive. As it stands today, Lightroom Web users can only flag, give star ratings and comment on photos. Imagine your client being able to markup a photo, similar how you would markup a PDF in Apple’s Preview program. Boom — instant feedback.

And while desktop versions will continue to thrive, their feature sets will be on par with their touch-centric counterparts. Creatives will still use desktop versions, especially for large, complex shoots that require more screen real estate and faster processing speed. But smaller shoots can be edited just as easily on an iPad.


Ever since the birth of the iPhone, touch devices have become more and more relevant in society, and they’re becoming more and more utilized by professionals and creatives. Once Adobe releases its Creative Cloud apps for touch devices, high-end editing tools will be with us no matter where we happen to be.