Here's what you'll see from Adobe over the coming year: more mobile apps, new types of stock media, more offerings for large companies and new tools for home users.
The company's future plans were revealed by VP Mala Sharma in a conference call to journalists yesterday. While there was some broad discussion of an emphasis on more mobile tools, the company's desktop products from Photoshop to After Effects were barely mentioned - with the exception of its new UX design software Adobe XD (aka Adobe Experience Design).
Adobe XD is an attempt to take over one notable part of the design market where the company doesn't have dominance - Sketch being the tool of choice for most UX designers. Like Sketch it's Mac-only, but I was surprised that there wasn't an iOS version on Adobe's roadmap for the tool when a beta was released earlier this month - especially considering that mobile apps are a big part of Adobe's future plans, and Apple made a big deal about targeting creative pros with its iPad Pro at the launch of the new smaller model earlier this week.
From using the tool, I doubt it would need the performance only found on a laptop that you'd need to run Photoshop or Illustrator. So why no XD for iOS?
Sharma (below) said that Adobe created XD for Mac OS X as that's where current customers were working on UX projects (i.e. in Sketch) - and those customers don't see the iPad as a platform for creation yet. This is a chicken-and-egg situation though, as creatives won't look to the iPad Pro as a device for designing on until Adobe - or someone else - builds design tools with a professional-level breadth of features for it. And if Adobe is waiting for designers to buy iPads while designers are waiting for Adobe to release tools for it, we're going to stay using desktop tools.
Another possibility is that a different firm could produce pro-level creative iPads apps - disrupting Adobe's hold on the market just as Sketch did for UX design. In fact, an iOS version of Sketch could do just that - though that would only be successful if its extensive plug-ins for tools such as InVision and Marvel were ported over too.
Adobe is clearly aware that it needs to move first if it wants to take creatives onto the devices Apple clearly wants them to move onto (iPads not laptops) - and not lose out to newcomer competitors again. While she didn't reveal any specific details, Sharma said that "Adobe has the opportunity to change the perception around those devices" by producing "apps that are not extensions of [desktop] applications but are interchangeable with them."
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