iPad v iPad Pro for running Photoshop (and Illustrator)

Community Beginner ,
Oct 23, 2020 Oct 23, 2020

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Hi,

 

If anyone has experience of both platforms, please can you tell me how well Photoshop runs on the iPad Pro v on the regular iPad (recent-ish models).

 

I'd been considering buying an iPad Pro, mainly to learn the Photoshop for iPad interface. And also to learn the Illustrator for iPad interface as well.

 

And sometimes (but probably not all that frequently) also to work on really super big multi layered high resolution Photoshop images where obviously the iPad Pro would seem to be a big advantage.

 

I was pretty convinced my choice should be the iPad Pro - whether this generation or next - but at the moment, while Photoshop for iPad and Illustrator for iPad appear to be very good, they are still evolving as software for compositing.

 

And it occurred to me that maybe all I need right now is the iPad. And then wait a bit and get an iPad Pro in a year or two when Photoshop and Illustrator are perhaps a little more comparable to their desktop equivalents in terms of features.

 

(I have an older, but still pretty powerful MacBook Pro running Adobe CC so I have full software to work with and on a good speed computer.)

 

Any thoughts welcome and thanks for your time.

 

Kind regards,

 

John

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Contributor ,
Oct 24, 2020 Oct 24, 2020

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Hi John

My guess is that you'll get comparable and acceptable performance with the iPad AIR, with the proviso that more RAM is always better when working with large image files.

I've run Adobe apps successfully on a much older iPad Pro:

2016 iPad Pro  (A9 processor, 2.1 GHz, 2 cores, 2 gb onboard RAM. )

The current iPad Air  has better specs  than that old iPad Pro —

2020 iPad Air    (A14 processor, 3 GHz, 6 cores, 4 gb onboard RAM)

So I suspect you'll get acceptable performance on those new iPads.

My current iPad Pro is running the
2020 iPad Pro:  A12Z processor, 2.5 GHz, 8 cores, with 6 gb onboard RAM.
The main plus of the iPad Pro 2020 is that it has an extra 2 gb of RAM and supports the 2nd gen Apple pencil. (You can also load it with a TB of storage memory.)

But the Air is cheaper and runs a faster processor. It handily outperforms my old iPad Pro and you can use the Gen 1 pencil with it. For retouching etc., the Gen 1 pencil is completely adequate.

 

With all iPads, given the much smaller RAM allotment, I imagine there will be some compromise as you start to work with very large multilayer documents. But I haven't hit that limitation yet, as I keep my major work on my desktop iMac with 64 GB RAM. With your 32 GB laptop, I'm guessing you'll have the same experience.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Tom

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Contributor ,
Oct 24, 2020 Oct 24, 2020

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Actually - I correct myself — the new Air is compatibe with the Gen 2 pencil.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 25, 2020 Oct 25, 2020

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Hi Tom,

 

Thanks very much for your time and comments.

 

Your reply arrived just as I was taking a look at the iPad Air and is extremely helpful.

 

My original question was regarding the iPad - do you have any thoughts on this and how well it would work with Photoshop? (It only runs the Apple Pencil Gen 1 and I'm aware of this.)

 

I have a feeling - all things considered - I'm going to go for the current iPad Pro 2020 (Wireless only) with 256GB strorage. And use an iPhone 12 5G as a hotspot if ever I need it to access the internet when outdoors.

 

I might have gone for larger iPad Pro 512GB storage and with wifi+cellular but I think perhaps I'll wait until the Adobe software is a a little more full featured before making this investment.

 

Any further thoughts / comments very welcome and thanks again.

 

Kind regards,

 

John

 

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Contributor ,
Oct 25, 2020 Oct 25, 2020

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Hey, John

 

The iPad 2020 sports 3 GB of RAM and an A12 processor running at 2.49GHz, with 6 cores, so I don't think the processor will be a huge factor. The lower amount of RAM means it will swap out memory more often though.

Just a heads up, I retired my 2016 iPad pro not only for bigger screen size, but also because I had filled the 256 GB of storage. If you plan on keeping large numbers of full res photos and music on the iPad, it fills up pretty quickly. (You can use iCloud to store your full res images off your iPad and download as needed when editing, so you can mitigate that issue). But I'd consider more than 256BG.

 

For performance, I do edits in Lightroom of my large RAW camera images and the 2016 Pro was very responsive as is the 2020. The Photoshop work I've done hasn't been super heavy but, for the basics, it works fairly fluidly. To test that out, I just took an image and resized it to 8000 pixels and then did a few basic operations — curve adjustment layer plus a couple of other adjustment layers, then did a quick select of the subject ( a model with long hair), and did a refine selection.

 

My performance results were as follows:

Resizing to 8000 pixels took about 30 seconds.

That's quite a bit slower than on my 2020 iMac i9, but it got the job done.

• Adjustment layers were near instantaneous.

• Quick select was reasonably fast, but not as fast as the iMac.

So that gives you an idea of what to expect — it's not going to keep up with a fast Mac, but it will get the job done.

• Sketching with art brushes/retouching brushes is responsive with little or no lag.

 

I also found the hair selection process a bit more twitchy than the equivalent function on the Mac.
I'd wouldn't do a working job for fine hair masking using the mobile app as of yet. But perhaps if I used it more I would become more familiar and proficient.

 

Anyway - hope that helps.

I think you'll find the iPad will add unexpected benefits beyond subbing for your laptop — I use it as an "everything device".  It's in no way a substitute for my desktop — not even close. But it goes with me everywhere and I'm never without it. It just fills a lot of gaps for me professionally.

Cheers

 

Tom

 

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Contributor ,
Oct 25, 2020 Oct 25, 2020

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Re your decision to go wireless only and use tyour phone as a hotspot ... I think you're on the right track there.

 

I used the iPad Pro 2016 that way and never missed cellular.

The cellular data plans in my area from Bell Canada are very expensive for precious little return.

My new iPad has cellular but, I've been looking at tablet plans and I can't see any value to them.

 

But someone with first hand experience might have more to add.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 25, 2020 Oct 25, 2020

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Thanks again Thomas for your advice and comments - very much appreciated.

 

John

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