Adobe has released three new iPad-only creative apps today. There are two drafting and sketching apps that are partnered with some neat hardware, and a robust photo editing app called Photoshop Mix, which borrows some of the tools and workflow from its desktop big brother.
The first two apps, Line and Sketch, are two sides of the same coin. They both provide a suite of tools for creating freehand and straight-line drawings using either your fingers or Adobe's new Ink and Slide stylus and ruler. The apps provide different types of drawing experiences and are built to take advantage of that new hardware.
The third app is a bit more interesting. It's called Photoshop Mix, and it focuses on bringing the most advanced compositing tools from Photoshop CC onto your iPad -- for free. With Mix, you can import photos and make complex selections for applying local effects or combining with other photos. Other features include Content-Aware Fill, Upright and Camera Shake Reduction, all from the comfort of your tablet.
Adobe's goal here is to make these tasks super simple and intuitive by paring down the interface and relying on automation. In order to churn through the complex algorithms that make this type of work possible, Adobe actually outsources the processing to the Creative Cloud, where the heavy lifting is done before the results are sent back to your iPad. That means it will require a free Creative Cloud login, as well as an internet connection for some functions.
Another advantage to the Creative Cloud integration is that the images you create in Mix are automatically saved as .PSD files for quick access and editing on your desktop. You can also import specific layers from .PSD files into Mix, and work on them on the go.
For now, all the apps are only available for iPad and should appear in the App Store today, but Adobe says that it will react to consumer demand in deciding whether to release Android versions in the future.
It's clear that Adobe is using mobile apps as a way to lure in customers to the Creative Cloud subscription service. Emphasising the cloud services is smart to prevent the perception that you are paying essentially to 'rent' software. Using the iPad as its sole platform of choice is risky, however, as content-creation isn't the device's strong suit. Adobe will have to work hard to keep their mobile apps evolving in order to keep people's creative iPad juices flowing.
In addition to all the snazzy new stuff, Adobe is announcing a couple of other bits of news that might make you happy this morning. Lightroom for iPhone is now available, mirroring tooth-for-tooth the iPad version. Adobe is also making its promotional Photography Program, where you get Photoshop CC and Lightroom for $9.99 per month, a permanent Creative Cloud offering.