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Adobe Plans to Launch Illustrator App for iPad After Photoshop

Mark Gurman and Nico Grant

(Bloomberg) -- Adobe Inc. has picked Illustrator as the next major application it will put on Apple Inc.’s iPad, the latest effort to create a version of the software maker’s top desktop products for mobile devices, according to people familiar with the matter.

The San Jose, California-based company will preview Illustrator for iPad at its Max conference in November before launching it in 2020, according to the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the decision. Illustrator, which designers rely on for digital drawing and creating graphics, would follow in the footsteps of Photoshop, which is scheduled to be available on the iPad later this year. Illustrator is one of Adobe’s most popular apps in its Creative Cloud software suite and would mirror many of the features from the desktop version when running on the iPad.

“We have nothing new to share at this time,” an Adobe spokeswoman said when asked about the company’s plans.

Adobe has recently launched a slew of other iPad apps, including Fresco and Premiere Rush, that don’t have as many features as the upcoming Photoshop and Illustrator apps. Still, early testers of Photoshop for the iPad have criticized it for lacking some key elements of the version for personal computers, Bloomberg News reported last week.

The new apps underscore Apple’s effort to position the iPad as a computer replacement and Adobe’s need to deliver software to consumers on whatever devices they use. Adobe, founded in 1982, is revamping major apps for mobile devices to maintain a leading position in creative software amid waning consumer enthusiasm for PCs. Adobe’s mission is twofold -- to satisfy the professionals who rely on its software for photo-editing and illustration, and to capture casual users. The strategy may boost sales growth for the company’s Creative Cloud unit, which has slowed over the last year.

Adobe’s plan to place the iPad at the center of its cross-platform strategy is another signal the software maker and the Cupertino, California-based hardware giant are long past a once-contentious relationship. Although Apple had been an investor in Adobe, Steve Jobs in 2010 criticized Adobe’s Flash player for video and games on the internet, saying it hurt device battery life, privacy and security. In recent years, Adobe has been a fixture at Apple product announcements, continuously being used as an example of software that takes advantage of new Apple devices.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Gurman in San Francisco at mgurman1@bloomberg.net;Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Alistair Barr

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