Adobe Photoshop for iPad’s problems are down to hype, value, and not managing expectations

Bloomberg has run the piece Adobe Exec Defends Photoshop for iPad After App Falls Flat, quoting Adobe’s Scott Belsky about the launch. In a series of tweets, Belsky said:

a real-time v1 lesson: you’ve gotta ship an MVP to start the journey, but it will be painful at first. by definition, it won’t please everyone (and if it’s a reimagination of a 30yr old popular/global product, will displease many)

if you try to make everybody happy w/ a v1, you’ll either never ship or make nobody happy. such feats require customer feedback to truly exceed expectations. you must ship and get fellow passionate travelers on board.

He’s right, but the problem is that expectations weren’t managed. Instead, we got a hype train, and suggestions we would get full-fat Photoshop; instead, v1 is a stripped-down release. Belskey says the team decided to “nail perfect PSD support” rather than “just port 30 yrs of stuff (and baggage) on day 1”, which is sensible, except some of that baggage includes taken-for-granted features like layer effects.

Photoshop on iPad also represents a U-turn for Adobe, who’d previously argued people didn’t want this kind of pro-level software on iPad. It now feels like that argument was made because Photoshop didn’t exist. I can’t help wondering how long this app has been in development. Was it around in some form for years, or is it a reaction to Affinity Photo showing that, yes, pro-level creatives really do want this kind of app on iPad?

Affinity Photo itself is another piece of the puzzle, in the sense of the value proposition. If you already pay for Creative Cloud, Photoshop for iPad doesn’t require further outlay. But if you don’t, it’s a tenner a month. By contrast, twice that cost nets you Affinity Photo – with its richer and mature feature-set – forever. (In fact, at the time of writing, Affinity Photo is on sale, in an epic piece of trolling, for the same price as a single month of Photoshop for iPad.)

Despite its flaws, I’m glad Adobe released Photoshop for iPad. It’s something that needed to happen, and further cements the importance of Apple’s device. But it doesn’t surprise me that the response to what we got has been a mixture of anger and disappointment. Adobe must now iterate very quickly, and bring Photoshop towards feature-parity with the desktop version. After all, that’s another thing that Affinity Photo enjoys – the iPad version is not a ‘lesser’ product.

November 8, 2019. Read more in: Apple, Apps, News, Opinions, Technology

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Is the PS5 actually a sausage?

The PS5 is pretty great, as are sausages. But it turns out it’s good SEO when sites attempt to wring out absurdly long articles from questions that can be answered using a single word, and so it’s time for Revert to Saved to get in on this gig. For those of you wondering whether the PS5 actually is a sausage, we will answer your question right here. Eventually.

The PS5 is, of course, a games console. You can play games on it. You might like games, or you might not. We’re going to spend a little time here now linking to some games, because the editor said “write 500 words on this”, and he’s threatened everyone with only covering Mario Kart Tour forever if we don’t comply. So, anyway, God of War, Driveclub, and Red Dead Redemption 2 are all PS4 games that will probably get sequels on the PS5.

The new question – which we made up while drunk – is our attempt to get loads of people to click here for no good reason, despite the fact we could (as we’ve already outlined) have answered said query in just three characters or less. We could even have done that in really big letters. But we’re not allowed, because reasons.

And sausages are sticks of meat, in case you were wondering. Some people eat them. Some people don’t like them. If you were reviewing sausages as a game, you might give them 7/10 and say “you’ll like them if you like this sort of thing”, to try and keep the publisher of sausages happy. (Do sausages have publishers? Hey, there’s an idea for another article. This is fucking gold.)

OK, now we need a big heading, to get back the attention of readers who may have drifted off at this point.

Is the PS5 actually a sausage?

The PS5 is not actually a sausage.

Now the question has been answered, but WordPress reckons we’re still 200 words short. Shit. So we still need to bang on for another 200 words or so. At this point, embedding a video would be a good idea, to keep people’s interest.

OK, so that’s not a PS5 as a sausage, but it’s pretty close, combining the innards of a toy parrot and a large sausage. (Thanks to Paul Granjon for the above classic.)

Unfortunately, meat-based consoles are mostly a thing of the past, or perhaps we just dreamt them up after watching Videodrome one too many times. But since there’s no PS5 sausage, you’ll just have to wait until Sony makes one, or make one yourself, shortly before getting carted away to a room with padded walls.

Oh, man: 439 words. This is tiring stuff. Aha! Let’s just end on a generic bit about how we here at Revert to Saved thoroughly review every meat-based console we recommend, using industry standard prods and fork stabs to evaluate said gadgets. We’ll always tell you what we discover, even if you don’t want us to. So tell us what you think by emailing the editor. And leave us out of it, because our work here is done, and we now need to shower off the dirt.


A previous version of this article was based on the PS4. It’s now based on the PS5, because someone noted this would be better for traffic.

November 5, 2019. Read more in: Humour, Writing

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The best of Apple Arcade: Craig’s played too many games edition

I don’t often link from here to other stuff I’ve written; I should probably do so more often. But! I wrote a thing about Apple Arcade. More specifically, I – like some kind of deranged games-ingesting lunatic – worked my way through a decent chunk of over 70 games on Apple Arcade, decided which I thought were the best, wrote a bit about them, and recommended how best to play each one. (Some of these games are a much better fit for an iPhone; others really need the big screen + controller experience.)

So please go and read The best Apple Arcade games for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV – 2019 and share it with all your friends, and maybe the powers-that-be will get me to write some more.

October 14, 2019. Read more in: Apple, Gaming

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The iPad is an ergonomic disaster for traditional computing work, and needs full pointer support right now

From day one, the iPad to me never felt like a device purely for consumption. As half the tech industry fell over itself to claim you could ‘never do real work on an iPad’, I saw everyone from artists to technicians doing real work on an iPad. What people really meant was that the iPad didn’t have a full version of Microsoft Word, because that is the only ‘real work’ in the whole world. Or something.

That said, I’ve always wanted to do more work on an iPad than I actually do. The big blocker for me has always been interaction. Simply put, the iPad is an ergonomic disaster for long-term ‘traditional’ work.

By this, I’m talking about the aforementioned ‘real work’ – the sort of thing most people do on a PC, which mostly involves staring at a screen, typing, and interacting with text-based screen content. Ergonomically, the best set-up for this is a display where your eyeline meets roughly its top third. You should be sitting straight in a chair, arms naturally bent and lightly resting on a flat surface, keyboard directly in front of you.

Laptops heavily compromise this set-up. If the keyboard is in the right place, you end up looking down towards the display, thereby placing unnecessary strain on your neck. That’s fine for occasional use, but isn’t good in the long term. This is easy to fix, though: at your permanent workspace, connect your laptop to an external display, keyboard, and pointing device.

Apple seems reluctant to take that final step with iPad. At best, you can bung the thing in a case, whereupon it becomes a sort-of laptop. In fact, it ends up with the interaction model Apple ridicules whenever it releases a new MacBook Pro and pushes back on demands for a touchscreen version. Check recent Apple keynotes, and you’ll see various Apple executives saying it’s not a good thing when you constantly have to lift your arm to prod a screen. And they’re right – yet this is exactly the interaction model Apple forces you into on iPad.

With iPadOS 13, there is the first step towards a solution: in Settings > Accessibility > Touch, you can turn on AssistiveTouch. Connect a mouse, and your iPad finally has pointer support, only it doesn’t really because the cursor isn’t a cursor – it’s a virtual finger. Use Apple’s Magic Mouse and none of the gestural stuff works. To scroll something, you have to drag the content, which soon gets tiring and tiresome on lengthy documents. (Ironically, if you’ve a mouse with a scroll wheel, that does work. The net result here is I’ve an ancient USB Labtec mouse that cost about ten quid that’s works better with the iPad than Apple’s expensive slippy white puck.)

Yet even if this feature was perfect, it still wouldn’t be enough. We need to be at the point where the iPad can mirror the laptop set-up I mentioned earlier. In the hand, it needs to be a full touchscreen device, as it is today. When docked in a keyboard case, it needs to ramp up pointer support, so you don’t have to touch the display nearly as often. But also iPad needs a mode where you can connect it up to a bunch of other kit and never interact with the screen at all.

I love the iPad. The 11in iPad Pro is the best Apple kit I have ever owned. But it does feel like Apple’s unnecessarily digging its heels in when it comes to user interaction, stopping iPad from making that final step towards being the computer for the rest of us.

October 14, 2019. Read more in: Apple, Opinions, Technology

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Google Play Pass and Apple Arcade are not the same thing

Earlier this year, Apple announced Apple Arcade – and it turns out the service is really good. Naturally, Google felt the need to offer its own take on Apple Arcade, which has become Google Play Pass.

The thing is, as much as the press wants to drum up these services as direct competition, I don’t see them as existing in the same space. Although there’s more than a whiff of me-too about Google Play Pass, it reminds me more of something similar I once tried on Amazon – bundling a bunch of existing apps under an all-you-can-eat subscription.

A load of games you’ve probably already played is a far cry from 71 shiny new exclusives. Also, as much as developers are concerned about viability in an Apple Arcade world, they might pause on looking at Google Play Pass, which for two bucks a month directly competes with apps that exist elsewhere on Google Play.

Say what you will about Apple Arcade regarding its impact on iOS game sales, but at least it’s not pitching full-priced premium title Monument Valley 2 against a subscription service that costs half the price – and also includes Monument Valley 2.

October 3, 2019. Read more in: Apple, Gaming, Opinions, Technology

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