Why it matters: Designers who own an iPad and want to integrate it into their workflow, Adobe is preparing a full-blown version of Illustrator optimized for tablets. Just like with Photoshop for iPad, it won't be a full mirror of the desktop version, but most of the core functionality will be there along with special touch optimizations.
Today Adobe released the first true Photoshop experience for iPad users, bringing most of the core features from the desktop version. Now it wants to do the same with Illustrator, which is planned for a 2020 release.
The company demoed the upcoming app at the Adobe Max 2019 conference, and explained that it is currently in the early development phase, which means a lot could change until the final release in terms of UI and functionality. The main focus is on taking advantage of touch and Apple Pencil-based input, but the company also wants to make sure you can work with the same files you use on other platforms.
Adobe says they sat down with "thousands of designers" to get a good idea of what they need in order to use the iPad in their workflow. The new Illustrator will allow some people to do entire projects on the tablet, but you'll also be able to sync files to the Creative Cloud and continue on a laptop or desktop.
The pen tool is central to the new experience, so Adobe has redesigned it to work even without a keyboard by adding a contextual touch modifier that works like a keyboard shortcut.
For those who want to start with a sketch made on paper, you'll be able to use the iPad's camera to scan it and transform it into vector shapes using Adobe's AI Sensei. The company has also added the ability to recognize real world fonts, as long as they're available in its library.
Interestingly, the new app has a community-requested feature that isn't present in the desktop version, which allows you to create mirrored shapes and have subsequent edits reflect on the other side. This functionality will eventually make its way to the desktop, and is part of a broad effort to reduce the steps needed to do things in Illustrator.
If you're interested to try out the new Illustrator for iPad, you can sign up for a private beta on Adobe's website.