By Graham K. Rogers
Since November I have been a user of the iPad Pro. This device surprised me with the ways I was able to be productive on a tablet running iOS. The keys for me have been the tasks I want to carry out and the content I need to access.
I am not alone in the way I took to the 12.9" iPad Pro. And now that the 9.7" version has come along, I am able to do almost all the tasks I want, with the added attractions of increased portability (although that big screen does have its advantages too) and the camera.
Some commentators keep insisting that mobile computing especially with iOS just doesn't have the power apps that Windows or OS X can provide. In the meantime the major developers, particularly Microsoft, Adobe and of course Apple, have a good range of apps. It is significant that the developers (other than Apple - of course) are making efforts to produce a good selection of apps for iOS. But more than this, these same important developers have released apps that are specifically enhanced for the iPad pro
9.7" iPad Pro - Image Made Available by Apple
Developers large and small are recognizing the iPad Pro as a productivity tool. When I was shown over the 9.7" iPad pro, a couple of apps were outlined. I had remembered that when the large version was introduced at the Apple event some months ago, personnel from both Microsoft and Adobe were on hand to show off apps that had been enhanced for the device.
Microsoft particularly have been shifting strategies in recent years, recognising (as in the early days of Macs) that Apple is not the enemy and that by selling apps - or even better, services - they stand to make money. With a massive user base using Office, providing access to that via cloud services and apps on iOS devices is a win-win solution.
Over the years I have tended to avoid both Microsoft and Adobe, although have tried their products on occasions. At that event for the 12.9" iPad Pro, I was impressed with some of the work Adobe had done on iOS apps (not that they were novices here), especially those that had been enhanced for the Apple Pencil.
An app I was shown recently is Adobe Capture CC. The premise is that, as we go about our daily lives, we may see colors or shapes that we might want to make use of later. By capturing these we can use them in other apps, like jotting down notes as we think of ideas. If I don't write down an idea or sentence as soon as I can, by the time I am home it has evaporated. Pass a color or shape, and it may never be seen again.
Like many Adobe apps, this needs a user registration. I do have this (I tried Lightroom when it was first released) and I set this up quickly on the iPads and an iPhone. I am more likely to have the smaller device handy, but others may use an iPad as their prime device.
There are four capture options available: Colors, Shapes, Brushes and Looks. Of these, the first, Colors is perhaps the most immediate and easiest to deal with. Accessing the camera and passing it over an image will identify certain critical colours. I have captured a number of such colors.
While the image from which they came is captured at the same time, this may not remain in the library. Of the 5 images I used - and the selection of colors captured - I took ome from a yoghurt carton (Cherry), one from a can of oatmeal, and another from a can of Heineken (with its mix of greens).
The Brushes are the most interesting for me. Like colors, the user captures a shape and is offered several options how this might be used as a brush. In early tests, I used a leaf, a shoe-horn, a stone and the bellows of a camera.
I have had less success with Shapes, although capturing these is clever. An image on the camera outlines a specific shape and when selected, a line drawing is presented that allows the user to erase lines: the main shape is kept as an outline drawing in the library.
I am likely to use the last option (Looks) least. This captures a selection of colours that denote a particular tone in an image and this theme can be applied to other images and videos. This will be most useful to those who use Adobe Photoshop and other editing applications or Premiere Pro.
All captures are saved in the user's library and the collection is available on other devices. I made use of Adobe Photoshop Sketch and some of what had been saved in Capture was there (see below). These captures appear to be available in other Adobe apps, making excellent use of the iOS environment and cloud distribution. Captures may also be distributed by other means, like Mail, social networking apps and can be made available in other apps.
Not all of the assets created in Adobe Capture can be used in every app. For example, in Sketch, I was able to use Colors, Brushes and Shapes, but not Looks. By its nature, Sketch is limited (the very name implies that) so this was not a great handicap. Regular users of Adobe products will be able to use the output of Capture more fully.
Both Adobe Capture CC and Adobe Photoshop Sketch are free, along with a number of other apps, such as Adobe Illustrator Draw
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.