As a techie person, I often don't do backflips over a new app or even a new phone. We're in the era of incremental improvements and "point" releases meant to address minor issues. When the only feature you notice on a new smartphone is that it has a marginally better camera or connects a little faster to a network, we're all in big trouble. 

You can picture me rolling my eyes and twirling my finger in circles in those cases.

Not this time, though.

I'm seriously impressed by the new Adobe Photoshop app for the iPad, the first "real" desktop equivalent that's not just a viewer or light version but the full desktop app you can use to edit photos. It's a huge milestone because it means there isn't really any desktop app I can't use anymore on an Apple iPad, and could mean I can get away with bringing an iPad on a business trip and skip the laptop altogether for real this time.

Let me set the stage for what that really means.

Sure, there are still thousands of desktop apps that don't run on the iPad and maybe never will. I know high-end video games won't work on a mobile device, and video editing is still processor intensive. Yet, I loaded several high-resolution photos in Photoshop for iPad and never had any trouble. I edited a series of photos, adjusting the exposure easily enough.

I like how I could draw a quick circle around an area of an image and make adjustments to that area, and then how easy it was to upload my edited photos to the cloud. I worked in layers as well, exactly the same as the desktop app. So performance was roughly the same on my test photos, the features are all there--it's acting like a desktop app.

What does this mean for me? If I'm heading on a business trip (hello, CES in Las Vegas in a few short weeks) I know I can take photos with my camera, sync them over wireless to the cloud. A camera such as the Panasonic Lumix makes this easy because I don't need to pull out an SD card, insert it into a laptop, load the files locally, and upload images to the cloud. Once the images are available, I can load them on Photoshop on the iPad.

It makes the whole process faster, lighter, more flexible, and more immediate. It cuts out many of the steps and means I have a lighter, longer-lasting travel companion. Yet this applies to everything I'm doing in my daily routine. I know I don't need a laptop if I'm on a trip and need to edit photos for the first time ever. I may still need to edit videos on a laptop, but there's no reason to rely on one for most of what I do on trips.

You could argue that a laptop keyboard is better for typing, but it's easy to make the same argument that, if I'm mainly checking email, browsing, watching a movie on the flight, and then needing to edit photos--it is all streamlined now, thanks to this one app. I've long argued that the only remaining reason I really need a laptop is because of Photoshop.

It's a game-changer for me. How about for you?

Published on: Nov 5, 2019
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