Photoshop for the iPhone – Missed opportunity!


I downloaded the much hyped version of Photoshop for the iPhone today and wow what a disappointment. The number one photo manipulation software in in the world for desktops and they produce a hobbled app that is not worth the price of free. Sure it has the following: crop, rotate, and flip, exposure, saturation and tint adjustments, and easy to apply filters including black and white, sketch, soft focus, pop, border, vignette blur, warm vintage, rainbow, soft black and white and white glow. But so do many other apps. I tweeted my disappointment and was rebuttaled with “It’s good for free” I argue it is not good for free because it is missing a major component that you need to manipulate photos to be the best that they can be. The lack of layers is a huge handicap for the Adobe application and one that a few others in the iPhone app world have already implemented. Photoshop for the iPhone makes you commit to only one of the pre-set effects or colour corrections. Anyone that does photography, either as a hobby or professionally, will tell you that it is the combination of effects and adjustments that are required to take a raw photo and add the magic or the specific look that you as a photographer are known for.

Sure you are thinking “It’s an iPhone app dude, whatever.” Well true is is a low resolution camera and I understand that but have a look at the type of work that can be achieved through iPhone only photo manipulation. This is an old school brand and company that tossed out a brand extension of it’s marquee product into the “hot” iPhone environment. Just the basics that will “get you by”. That’s not good enough for me. Photoshop is a leader and therefore should do the same in this space. Hey if it costs a bit for development then charge for it. God knows they do that in spades for their desktop apps. Be a leader in the app world and not a follower. If left alone this app will be a bottom dwelling in the Photography section of the App Store within a few weeks.

Want to do better with iPhone photo apps? Well you may have to pay a few dollars to do it. Here is a list of apps that are much better than the iPhone Photoshop app.

  1. The Best Camera App [iTunes Link] – Sure the app is limited in the level of effects but you can layer them up to get the look you want. One maojor downside is that the app lets you post to almost every social media site but Flickr. You are forced to use it’s proprietary social site instead. – $2.99.
  2. Photo FX by Tiffen [iTunes Link] – [Blog Review] This app has a huge feature list and utilizes layers and amazing slider control to get the image fx exactly where you want them.- $2.99.
  3. Cool FX by Tiffen [iTunes Link] -More extreme FX list than Photo FX and utilizes layers and amazing slider control to get the image fx exactly where you want them.- $.99.
  4. Mill Colour [iTunes Link] –  This has amazing presets and very detailed control over what effects and corrections you can apply to your photos and is….FREE!
  5. Photo Gene [iTunes Link] Finally there is Photo Gene. Photoshop should have just bought this app and rebranded it. In fact is is closer to the desktop version of Photoshop then the Adobe version. – $.99!

So that is a big list of better bets. Pass on the free version of iPhone Photoshop and pick up one of these paids apps for a much better experience and far superior photo editing. Trust me “Free” is not always better and in this case that adage holds very true.

Here are some examples of how I have used the apps to edit my iPhone photos. Remember none of these have made it to a desktop photo editing application.



  1. James says:

    It’s based on and integrated with (which I’ve always found oversimplified and not terribly useful when I’ve got the Creative Suite sitting on my computer), not it’s big brother app. It’s also a 1.0 release-I guarantee you that further along the development roadmap more functionality will be added. I agree that other apps offer more at this point, but Mobile is definitely the snappiest of the bunch performance-wise, and I expect that direct touch manipulation of images is going to become the norm rather than virtual slider controls (it’s also nice that this app gives a numeric value as adjustments are made-the lack of this has driven me batty in other apps).

    I think for a 1.0 release it shows a lot of promise. Looking forward to the next rev, actually, and I’ll use this for it’s exceptional crop tool if nothing else.

  2. jaypiddy says:

    True, true and all valid points. I had just hope to have the killer app in 1.0. They have the resources to do it and Adobe owns the space on the desktop. I had high expectations I guess. I will wait till the next version before I use it.

    Thanks for the comment.

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