Adobe is releasing Illustrator for the iPad today, delivering a streamlined version of its desktop vector graphics app that’s been redesigned to work with touch controls and a stylus. Just about everything you’d expect from a mobile version of Illustrator is here, from the pen, pencil, and brush tools, to layers, properties, and grid options, to basics like the type tool and path options. Some more specific features are still missing, but they may not be things you need day-to-day.
Illustrator is a big release for Adobe. It’s the third Adobe application to make the jump from a desktop app — where it’s among a suite of industry-standard creative tools — to an iPad app. As people increasingly buy tablets, want to do work on the go, and find the touch-first interface useful for illustration, Adobe has its work cut out to make its key apps transition across platforms, without slowing users down. Lightroom has been on the iPad since 2014, but Photoshop only made the jump last year.
The iPad version of Illustrator may feel very different to longtime users, but it’s meant to be capable enough to send files seamlessly back and forth with the desktop version. Core tools have been redesigned to work more conveniently on a tablet, with a toolbar popping up below selections to let you quickly make or lock in changes, without having to move your hand much or dive into menus. Apple’s Pencil stylus is supported, too.
When Photoshop was released for the iPad last year, Adobe was inundated with criticism over missing features. Illustrator is an even older software app than Photoshop, so the company faces the same set of hurdles — bringing the core features to a new platform, without missing so much that users can’t get their work done. There’s already a lot here, but Adobe is still trying to set expectations that this is just version one. Effects, more brushes, and Sensei features are already in the works.
“This is only the beginning of our journey,” writes Adobe design VP Eric Snowden in the company’s announcement.
The app is available to Creative Cloud subscribers with access to the desktop version of Illustrator.