Procreate 5 for iPadOS is out with an impressive roster of new features. The update by Savage Interactive includes a new graphics engine, an updated color picker and color management tools, an incredibly deep and flexible brush studio, and a fun new animation assistant that brings your creations to life. Remarkably, these robust new features don’t clutter the app’s UI or add undue complexity. Instead, Procreate 5 delivers its added flexibility and power gracefully and in a manner that I expect both veterans of the app and newcomers alike will appreciate.
I don’t consider myself much more than a doodler at best, which made me question whether the app was for me and whether I should tackle reviewing it at all. Here’s the thing, though: you don’t have to be a professional artist to enjoy drawing. Art is for everyone, and the key to Procreate’s success over its long history is that it too is for everyone. The app’s UI is a model of simplicity and progressive disclosure that stays out of the way, revealing its powerful tools only if and when you need them. Combined with a reasonable $10 price tag, Procreate is a fantastic choice for dabblers or pros alike, and with version 5 out today, Procreate is more powerful than it has ever been, but just as easy to use.
In a video shared earlier today, Tom Hogarty, who’s a Lightroom product manager at Adobe, demonstrated an upcoming feature of Lightroom for iPad – the ability to import photos from external devices (such as cameras, drives, or SD cards connected over USB-C) into Lightroom’s library without copying them to the Photos app first.
Here’s how it’s going to work:
The workflow looks very nice: an alert comes up as soon as an external device is detected, photos are previewed in a custom UI within Lightroom (no more Photos overlay) and they’re copied directly into the app. I think anyone who uses Lightroom for iPad to edit photos taken with a DSLR is going to appreciate this addition. Keep in mind that the 2018 iPad Pros support up to 10 Gbps transfers over USB-C, which should help when importing hundreds of RAW files into Lightroom.
Direct photo import from external USB storage devices was originally announced by Apple at WWDC 2019 as part of the “Image Capture API” for iPadOS. When I was working on my iOS and iPadOS 13 review, I searched for documentation to cover the feature, but I couldn’t find anything on Apple’s website (I wasn’t the only one). Eventually, I just assumed it was part of the functionalities Apple delayed until later in the iOS 13 cycle. It turns out that this feature was quietly introduced by Apple with iOS and iPadOS 13.2, as also suggested by Hogarty in the Lightroom video.
According to this thread on StackOverflow, direct photo import is part of the ImageCaptureCore framework, which is now also available for iOS and iPadOS. I still can’t find any documentation for it on Apple’s developer website.
Adobe MAX begins today in Los Angeles and runs through November 6th. As in past years, the three-day conference is an opportunity for Adobe to announce new products and updates to existing ones.
Last year, Adobe previewed Photoshop for iPad and Aero, an iOS AR creation tool. Today, those apps are finally out of beta and are available to everyone in the App Store. In fact, both Photoshop and Aero showed up on the App Store the evening before the start of MAX, providing me with a little hands-on time with them in advance of their official release.
Adobe has also previewed an iPad version of Illustrator, another of its core Creative Suite apps, which the company says will be available sometime in 2020.
Adobe’s announcements are packed with updates to a wide range of its products, but there’s a clear focus this year on mobile apps. In addition to Photoshop, Aero, and Illustrator, the company also announced updates to Lightroom for iOS and iPadOS and its Rush video creation app.
However, the centerpiece of Adobe’s mobile announcements is Photoshop, the company’s iconic professional design app relied upon by creative professionals worldwide. Ever since word of Photoshop for iPad was leaked to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in July 2018, the idea of ‘full’ or ‘real’ Photoshop on the iPad has captured imaginations. That initial leak, combined with Adobe’s early marketing efforts, led to outsized expectations for the first version of the app.
Instead of the full-featured, desktop-replacement app that some people were expecting, Adobe says that it has built a foundation with its new cloud-based PSD files and Photoshop’s desktop engine, upon which it will evolve with the guidance of users. Based on what I’ve heard from Adobe and seen from my limited use of the app, I believe the company truly is committed to building a more fully-featured version of Photoshop for the iPad; however, it doesn’t appear that users will be able to abandon their desktops anytime soon.
Today, at the keynote event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, Apple announced a replacement to the sixth generation, 9.7-inch iPad. The new 7th generation version of the device extends the diagonal measurement of the Retina display by one-half inch to 10.2 inches. The new iPad also adds a Smart Connector, which makes it compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard, another first.
Other than that however, the iPad’s specs remain the same. The iPad features an A10 Fusion chip, 8MP rear-facing camera with f/2.4 aperture, records video at 1080p and 30fps, 1.2MP front-facing camera with f/2.2 aperture, and stereo speakers. The pricing is also the same too, starting at $329 ($299 for educational buyers). The Smart Keyboard costs $159.
Perhaps most interesting is how close the 7th generation iPad is to the existing iPad Air, which has a 10.5-inch Retina screen and Smart Connector too, but starts at $499. For the extra price what you get is an iPad with a little bigger screen that’s slightly lighter and thinner, has a fully-laminated, True Tone display, better front-facing camera, higher frame rate slow motion video, and faster A12 Bionic chip. Those are meaningful differences, but ones that may be hard for consumers to understand looking at the two iPad’s next to each other in an Apple Store. Still, it’s nice to see Apple fit a bigger screen in an iPad body that’s only modestly larger than prior models.
When I published my Beyond the Tablet story a few weeks ago, I was optimistic we’d get a handful of iPad-related features and optimizations at WWDC. I did not, however, foresee an entire OS designed specifically around iPad. And the more I think about it, the more I see iPadOS as a sign of Apple’s willingness to break free from old assumptions and let the iPad be what it’s best at: a portable computer inspired by the Mac, but based on iOS.
Google Docs has long been a huge problem on the iPad, for two reasons. First, Google’s own iPad app is god-awful and the company seems hell-bent on not updating it to work better. Second, Google Docs in Safari on the iPad right now redirects you to that app even if you “Request Desktop Site.”
On iPadOS, however, Google Docs in Safari seems great.
Admittedly, I only spent about five minutes poking around, but I went straight for the stuff I didn’t expect to work at all — and it worked. Keyboard shortcuts for formatting and header styling, comments, cursor placement, and even watching real-time edits from another person in the doc all worked.
In iPadOS, Apple is setting the Safari user agent to the desktop version (previously, Safari on iPad has used a mobile user agent), but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Setting the user agent will cause websites to display their desktop varieties, but those were built with the expectation of mouse interactions rather than touch. There’s a lot more details to uncover here, but it looks like Apple has done a huge amount of work under the hood to make touch interactions work intuitively in the desktop browser paradigm.
We’ll have many more details on the new Safari changes over the coming weeks and months, but at first glance it’s great to see that Apple wasn’t kidding about iPadOS Safari being truly desktop-class.
Today during the WWDC keynote, where Apple unveiled the next major version of its mobile software platform, iOS 13, the company also had a big surprise to share: iOS is now exclusive to the iPhone and iPod touch and has given birth to a new, dedicated operating system for the iPad, named iPadOS.
iPadOS includes all the existing features of iOS, including the host of updates coming in iOS 13, but adds to it a long list of enhancements that address common pain points among iPad Pro users. From an updated Home screen to multitasking improvements, Files upgrades including USB drive support, a desktop-class Safari, and much more. All of these features aim to make the iPad a more capable full-time computer than ever before.
Earlier this spring, in its last major update, Ulysses added Split View editing on the Mac, a feature that was thoughtfully implemented and which I immediately wished existed on iPad. Today, in version 16 of the app, Ulysses on iPad gains its own powerful split view editor, plus adds a new native publishing option: Ghost joins the existing WordPress and Medium integrations.
Way back in 2016, in the era of iOS 9, I laid out the tentpole features I wanted to see come to iOS and the Mac. Now, three years later, so many things from that wishlist have become a reality that it’s probably a good time to revisit the topics that haven’t yet come to pass, and plan a new wishlist for the years to come. I originally planned this list to have a Developer/User split, but it became clear that the two go hand-in-hand; if you’re doing complex things on iOS today, using the various automation apps, you are but steps away from needing the same things that developers do.