Adobe is Bringing Illustrator to the iPad in 2020
The long-awaited Photoshop for iPad is available to download today, and to keep the momentum going, Adobe is announcing that it’s also developing Illustrator for the iPad, to be released by the end of 2020. The vector graphics program has been optimized for the tablet and features core Illustrator tools like paths and typography, in addition to some new tools developed specifically for the touch experience. Similar to how Photoshop on the iPad has its Cloud PSD files, Illustrator on the iPad will have Cloud .AI files that can be synced across Creative Cloud and opened from either the desktop or iPad. Cloud documents can be downloaded to the device and made available offline, so you can continue to work on your files in situations where you don’t have Wi-Fi, like on airplanes. Illustrator for iPad has been in the works for a while, according to Adobe senior product marketing manager Wayne Hoang. “We’ve been thinking about bringing vector capabilities to the iPad for a long time. [Some of the features have] just been waiting for the hardware to catch up so we can actually implement them,” he says. The app is a combined effort between the core Illustrator team and designers who have worked on Adobe’s other new iPad apps, like the painting and illustration app Fresco. Illustrator for iPad wants to make vector graphics accessible to the masses Unlike most of Adobe’s previous iPad apps — like Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw, which were considered “lite” mobile apps — Illustrator for iPad represents the next phase of the nearly 30-year-old software. “Some of this you’ll find similar to the way we talked about Photoshop on the iPad — it’s full fidelity,” senior director of design Eric Snowden says. But like Photoshop on the iPad, designers shouldn’t expect a full mirror of the desktop app on the iPad version. Adobe has been busy ushering in a new era of mobile-focused apps this year, releasing Photoshop for iPad, Fresco, and Project Aero all just in the past few months. With an increased focus on bringing more of its apps to tablets, Adobe is selling the idea that its products can be versatile enough to evolve with the devices its customers use. Its hope is that Illustrator for iPad will be a companion to people who use the new Photoshop and Fresco apps. “If someone has all three of these products, how are they greater than the sum of their parts? How do we make those workflows really seamless?” Snowden says. There’s no pricing information yet, but if pricing for Fresco and Photoshop for iPad are any indication, Illustrator for iPad could be included as part of a Creative Cloud subscription, and offered at a standalone monthly price for non-Creative Cloud subscribers. I was shown a beta version of the app in a preview demo, and though it won’t be available for another year, I was impressed with how complete it felt. The UI is similar to the other mobile-focused apps Adobe released this year, like Fresco and Photoshop, which was an intentional choice. The app is designed in a way so users don’t necessarily have to be Illustrator pros to use it, with contextual menus that automatically pop up depending on which tool you’re using. “When you think about the desktop, you have all these panels, there’s like 23 different panels,” Hoang says. On the iPad, “everything is just simplified.” There are tools unique to a tablet device, like photo masks, or that haven’t yet arrived on the desktop version, like Symmetry, which lets you live draw with a mirror…
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