Excellent work, by Tracie Ching, one of Adobe’s testers on their new suite of iOS Apps. This poster was created on her iPad on a long flight to SF. I’m not sure what software was used entirely, but she does speak a little about it on an interview over a on 9to5mac.
Last year, I wrote a piece on using the iPad Pro as my main computer to design with. I’ve decided to revisit it as it approach a year on, to see how the platform has grown, or how my workflow has changed.
In that post, I addressed a few issues why people might not want to use an iPad as their main designing computer, and, for the most part I still agree with them, but I’ve also had a few other points to make. I highlighted that screen size, power, apps, and iOS limitations were in my mind the biggest factors as to why people might be hesitant top pick up an iPad to use day in and day out. LEts take al ok at how they’ve changed.
In November of 2018, Apple launched a new iPad Pro that featured a more edge-to-edge design that any previous models. This allowed the smaller device to grow to 11” and the larger device to stay at 12.9”, but significantly reduce its overall footprint. For users this meant that they could get a bigger screened iPad in the 11” with the same rough footprint as the previous 10.5” model, and thats great. It also meant that more people were now interested in the 12.9” — a device I stated before as the best for anyone wanting to design with and this remains true. You still get that great big display, but now its thinner and lighter to carry around, meaning one of the iPad’s greatest strengths — it’s portability, got even better.
Again, with the latest devices, Apple pushed the boundaries of what they could do with a processor. However, as before I mentioned that this was the least of my concerns. One thing Apple have always pushed for with their computers was to get the computery stuff out of the way and let you do your work. The A-Series chips embody that philosophy in my opinion. They are fast. Fast enough that I don’t really care and fast enough to just do the work I need to do.
This area has made a few strides in the past year. Previously I wrote that this was the single biggest limiting factor for iPad and the ‘pro market’. Two milestones have crossed in that time frame for me, firstly, Affinity launched Affinity Designer on the App Store, an app I have used religiously since launch. It is one of the best examples of what an iPad can accomplish. Secondly, Adobe, potentially frightened by what Affinity we’re doing, announced they were working on bringing a new fully featured version of their creative suite to iOS, starting with Photoshop later this year. Their demo on-stage at Apple’s event in November definitely got the creative industry talking. I still champion what Affinity are doing, I still believe they can disrupt the industry more than they are, but competition is a good thing.
Perhaps the area that had the least changes in the last 12 months moving through iOS 12 with brought performance and stability increases over new features. Although rumours are that the iPad will be the focus of iOS 13 later this year. I watch with baited breath.
What else has changed?
Outside of what has been mentioned above, my workflow has mostly stayed the same. Affinity Designer has become my most used app alongside Procreate. I have been able to design large panels for a convention show on my ipad that were huge files and I’m certain that I mid-tier computer would have struggled with, and my iPad handled with no real trouble aside from a few app crashes along the process. Hard to tell if it was a RAM limitation or just an app bug. All in all, Affinity Designer is a simply a must have tool if you are a designer.
Photoshop for ipad
I am incredibly excited for this, for one simple reason — mockups. Using mockups are a huge resource for designers, and not being able to handle .PSD files with smart layers means I needed to go back to my Mac at some point for a lot of projects. If I’m able to do this on my iPad, I can no longer see any reason why I would need to do that in the future. I would be entirely iPad.
One thing that began to occur to me more and more in the past year looking at my workflow — is that is is my workflow. As a bedroom designer (my term for someone relatively new to design, freelancing straight from their bedroom or office in their house) I can afford to do these thing. I really only need to send my clients work and not someone else, and I’m not working collaboratively in any major way. If you work in an office that uses Adobe’s Suite, or with other creative teams, you might simply have no choice but to use another computer that allows you to collaborate better. I do think iPad is an inherently collaborative device because you can take it everywhere with you, and even someone who doesn’t get computers, can interact with it. I’ve had a few meetings with clients in coffee shops that let me hand my Apple Pencil to them to mark up changes they would like to see in revisions, and that’s pretty amazing. This issue again might be addressed with Adobe bringing their Creative Suite to iPad, allowing you to open and send any documents to anyone.
Should I make the jump?
Apple continue the peel away the barriers that prevented it, this year was all hardware, the latest iPads are incredible devices. Hopefully we see big jumps in software later in 2019 with iOS 13, and with Adobe announcing theyre bringing new full versions of their apps to the iPad should give a lot more people the confidence to jump. Right now, if you are new to design, design on your own, or want a more free and portable way to design, get and iPad and Affinity Designer and get to work, don’t let your tools limit you.
Thanks for reading! If you don’t know me, I’m a graphic designer from Belfast, chronicling my journey into building a graphic design career. If you enjoyed this post, or any others, follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or if you really want, hire me!
Just last week Apple posted a number of ads on their Youtube channel looking at workflows on the new iPad Pro. It’s a brilliant series of short videos. They are short and to the point, and pay homage to a series of great apps, many of which are not even Apple’s.
What’s even cooler is the behind that scenes video that shows that the ads themselves were actually shot and edited on iPad Pro, and so was the behind the scenes video too.
While the videos themselves are cool, and the workflows they show are unique, they are also a clear indicator that great work can be produced on iPad with the right attitude. This mentality is at the heart of the iPad, and the reason why we haven’t seen many ‘pro’ apps from Apple themselves. I think these ads showcase that just because they could make iPad more like a typical computer, doesn’t mean they should. Apple see the way an iPad works as fundamentally different to what we know of computers so far. They see a device that you use to directly interact with, to mark up documents with Apple Pencil instead of adding ‘notes’ like we’re used to, or create a presentation that has your own handwriting instead of something from the listed fonts. They see a device that you scan your documents and receipts directly. They see a device that AR can open up new potential for how you can interact with your home or workplace, They see a device that lets you record and publish a podcast from just about anywhere in the world.
To be clear, I’m not saying that these are the best ways to do any of these things, that will depend on the person doing those tasks. I look at it like this: I am quite computer savvy compared to most, but I wouldn’t really know where to start if I wanted to to record and publish a podcast on my Mac. I feel like there is a thousand different ways to do it, and everyone will have their own opinions of what ones to use, and what tools I should be using to maximise quality. It’s daunting and overwhelming and in my opinion kills creativity. With an iPad, that process feels substantially simpler. I may not get the finest controls and tools for adjusting and maximising audio quality, but rather the tools get out of the way and let me record, edit and publish a podcast easily. I can spend more time thinking about the work that I want to put out than how I’m going to put it out.
”The democratisation of tools” as they say in the behind the scenes video, may be the best description of what I think Apple are trying to achieve with iPad, and why I love using it.