Adobe's Mobile Mission
As of last week, Adobe is pulling Adobe Photoshop Touch from the App Store, Google Play Store and other digital platforms. Why? Check out this video that was released yesterday by Adobe Photoshop Product Manager, Bryan O'Neil Hughes. He demonstrates a prototype of some new software they are developing for mobile devices. The techniques in this video are nothing we haven't seen on a desktop computer. However, that said, the ability to retouch a 50 megapixel file from a Canon 5DS on a tablet, is nothing short of impressive as hell. There have been some pretty good mobile retouching apps on the market such as Snapseed but this Adobe Prototype is the closest thing I've seen to something a professional would actually use in a real world workflow. There is no doubt, that Adobe is using technology that hints toward a eventual full blown version of Photoshop on mobile devices in the future.
If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber, you may already be aware that Adobe offers several mobile apps for iOS, and a very small handful of Android Apps i.e. Lightroom Mobile, Behance etc. I have no doubt that they will be developing this prototype for iOS. No word yet on development for Android as far as I know. Though I wouldn't be surprised if they were developing this for Android as well.
Adobe & Google formed a partnership that introduced "Project Photoshop Streaming" to a small group of beta testers last year in 2014. Selected participants are able to access Photoshop on their Chromebooks! You read that correctly, on their Chromebooks. Photoshop Streaming works directly with Google Drive, which is where you would store your Photoshop files; in the cloud.
What This Means
This means that Adobe is in the early stages of what's to come with mobile based cloud computing. Mobile applications are increasing in functionality & popularity on a daily basis. Such as the apps that run on Google Chromebooks or in the Chrome browser.
My prediction is that in the future, Adobe will have the entire Creative Cloud available in a web app based environment. So no matter what operating system or device you are using iOS, Android, Linux, mobile phone, tablet, computer ect. You will be able to use Adobe Software via the Creative Cloud subscription.
As long as you have a web browser and an internet connection, you would have access to the software. This would mean more dependency on faster internet speeds (hence Google Fiber) but more than likely, less demand on your computer's actual hardware specs. From my understanding, a lot of the algorithms (or math) going on behind the scenes are actually being performed by a server somewhere, not necessarily on your device; meaning the faster your internet speeds, the faster the results. So in other words, if you were going to run a filter in Photoshop, your device wouldn't necessarily be computing the filter, but rather an Adobe Server would be. Your device would simply be the catalyst for making that connection.
I think mobile adobe applications like the prototype Bryan is demonstrating, are simply test applications in the grand scheme of things. They are pushing out bite sized mobile applications that push the use web technology that would later allow them to run an entire Creative Cloud subscription via an internet web app. So think of this prototype as only part of what the full blown web app version Photoshop could do.
And Business For All (Metallica pun intended)
Let's think about this from a business perspective. It's no surprise that the internet of things has changed business' all around the world for better or worse. Entire industries have crumbled and simultaneously thrived. Take the music industry for example. Napster single handedly changed the music industry forever. No longer, did people go out and buy albums. Instead, they got it for free on the internet. This crushed revenue for an entire industry. Major record companies went out of business. Not only did it hurt top record executives, it also hurt producers, sound engineers, and more importantly the artist's. There is still a lot up in the air at this point. Business' that previously never existed are now thriving. Take for example, the subscription based models used in music services like Google All Access Music, Spotify, and Pandora. A monthly fee let's you listen to unlimited music, all through internet access. However, you don't own a copy of the music like you did when you bought a cd. Once you stop paying for that service, you no longer have access to that music. Take a look at another business model like Pledge Music. Pledge music is sort of like a Kickstarter campaign for musicians. Bands and the like, can fund their projects by setting prices on rare items like $7,500 to have the band play an acoustic set at your next backyard bbq, or as simple as a signed album once it's released. There's no doubt that old business models will eventually die and new business models will be formed. Such as the case of Adobe.
If Adobe is able to make this web based app environment possible, then this may suggest that, eventually future applications would no longer be a downloadable source for your physical hard drive. This could in essence, this could prevent unpaid subscribers from stealing their software, which has been a problem in the software industry since the birth of file sharing through the internet. Adobe has been doing a great job of not only giving customers a ton of value for their money by switching to the Creative Cloud, but adapting at a pace in which most consumers of Adobe products favor their cloud based services.
I believe that in the future, many software companies will eventually release software in the form of a web based app, as opposed a physical download to your device. Which may or may not be a good thing, that's for the individual user should decide. However, most consumers don't particularly enjoy seeing a notification that their phone has 10 software updates available at any given time. Web based applications would be updated in the background without the user ever needing to manually update.