Yes, You Should Be Applauding What Adobe Did

I know how easy it is to be upset at Adobe. Trust me, I feel like I’m in a constant state of that feeling for one reason or another, and for years I have been very hard on them repeatedly.

I’m hard on the company because like with any product I enjoy, I have high expectations. Criticism is part of the process of continually improving, and the best companies understand that.

But today is not a day to criticize. Yesterday, Adobe fulfilled its promise to give a roadmap for Photoshop on iPad, a product many of you feel is underpowered (a sentiment with which I agree), and even if you’re not getting all the features you want by mid next year, you should at least be vocal that this is a step in the right direction.

Coming out and providing this roadmap is a huge turn for Adobe, which rarely does this. In fact, I cannot remember a time for any product it has made where it provided this much information about future updates.

In a time when the company has been coming under fire regularly for not meeting its promises, it would have been easier to just continue to say nothing. When we were told there was going to be a roadmap, I was so conditioned to not believe it that I wasn’t surprised when Adobe didn’t provide it at the app’s launch during Adobe MAX.

I said to myself, “here we go again.” Adobe’s going to promise and then not say anything and hope we forget.

Select Subject powered by Adobe Sensei will be available on Photoshop for iPad in 2019, with more to follow in the first half of 2020.

But instead of that, Adobe did the absolute opposite: it buckled down and told us exactly what we can expect and when we can expect it.

Such an unprecedented level of transparency is something we will continue to need from Adobe as it builds out its new product lines. It’s on us to let the company know it is doing the right thing here, and that it should continue this practice.

The actual substance of the promises are good, too! Select Subject will be available this year, with refine edge, curves and adjustment layer options, brush sensitivity and rotate canvas, and most importantly for photographers, integration with Lightroom mobile (and that means raw support!) are all coming by the middle of next year.

Nearly every box on the list of complaints is ticked here, and while the application still has a lot more growing to do, this is a really good first few steps.

In our coverage of Photoshop for iPad’s launch, Scott Belsky came out and said, “I take some responsibility that everyone is expecting to compare feature lists,” and therefore that the lofty expectations of Photoshop on iPad at launch were his fault, but he also made sure to say that he doesn’t want to continue to disappoint. That’s why he promised an aggressive update schedule – and a transparent one.

Yesterday he kept that promise. It is my hope that Adobe continues this practice, and we should now expect it to. We should be ready to say something in the future should this be a one-time thing, or should it not deliver on these promises. There is a lot of work to still be done, we should continue to have high expectations for Adobe, and its success here doesn’t excuse past mistakes… but today I think we need to stop, take a step back and say, “Good job, Adobe!”

Now, keep it up.