Apple patent app details next-gen dual OS X and iOS graphics app to take on Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator

“Today, the U.S. Patent Office published a jaw dropping Apple patent that reveals that Apple is working on a new advanced graphics app to take on Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“The new app will also be aimed at Macs and the iPad. The system is being designed to work with both the mouse and touchscreen gestures. Apple’s two detailed patent applications cover the basics of the graphics app and their new simplified object layering system,” Purcher reports. “Apple’s invention relates to systems, methods, and computer-readable media for changing graphical object input tools.”

Purcher reports, “Various user input gestures may be provided to directly interact with a displayed input tool for changing various properties of the input tool. For example, rather than having to select options on a displayed menu, a user may provide input gestures at or near a displayed input tool to directly manipulate one or more properties of that input tool, such as its size or color. By visually changing how an input tool is represented on a user workspace so as to indicate a change in an input tool property, a user may be provided with a more efficient and intuitive user interface for generating graphical objects.”

Much more, including Apple’s patent application diagrams and illustrations, in the full article here.


  1. This will be interesting to see happen. Keynote, surprisingly, is a powerful little tool for quick mock-ups either for graphics or even websites. There was a story a while back about web developers using Keynote more and more for doing quick mock-ups for their sites. Apple will have to really knock it out of the park to draw users away from Ps and Ai. Users are so steeped in the feature set and terminology of both that anything new, as we have seen with FCP X, will really make them shriek a little. I’d welcome an Apple offering to the graphics toolkit offerings.

  2. It’s not that complicated. Graphics designers at my last company were drooling over what I was able to do in seconds with PAGES… Seriously! Apple has the chops for this, its just a matter of thrashing Adobe (whatevers left of Adobe anyway) and putting something affordable and powerful on the Mac App Store (which Adobe will never do).

  3. Adobe’s programs, Illustrator, Photoshop, In Design etc., started out great or near great and then were enhanced and upgraded to infuriating complexity. They are now tedious, absurd and unforgivably arrogant. Adobe CS is “Catastrophic Stupidity.”

  4. That’s the missing piece from the Clarisworks (Appleworks) suite: a painting program. (They’ve got Pages, Numbers, Bento, and Keynote to handle the rest.)

    I’m wondering if this would include CAD features as well.

  5. Steve Jobs really began to hate Adobe in the end and this patent kind of proves that out, if it makes it to market. This is something that Apple should have done years ago. But it’s never too late for Mac die hards.

    1. Speaking as someone with a common frame of reference to Job’s genetic Middle East blood, having been responsible for making Adobe a viable company by investing in the company (when it was just making Postscript RIP boards for Apple LaserWriters and Linotype image-setting machines) and then witnessing the way in which successive Adobe CEOs after Warnock turned the company’s face against Apple, he would have been rightfully pissed at them.

      In some ways, Adobe is lucky that Apple (under Jobs) considered a lot of what Adobe does to be irrelevant to the coming digital media future otherwise I’m relatively certain he would have wiped the ungrateful, greedy monopolistic bastards off the face of the Earth.

      BTW, I’m not a fan of Quark either: I still don’t understand why they bought mFactory and its mTropolis product merely to ‘knife the baby’ after 12 months.

      I wouldn’t cross the road to piss on either of them if they were on fire.

  6. Not that this matters, but everyone in the video production industry feels apple doesn’t care about professionals anymore. This kind of patent speaks a bit differently if you ask me.

    1. Not that this matters, but I am CEO of a professional video editing and DVD producing as well as book publishing company. I say: Final Cut Pro X is best in the industry, we switched from Premiere Pro CS5 with great joy to FCP X. There are still some clowns who did not understand the great idea behind FCP X, but one day they will. There has never been any solution faster and better than FCP X for a digital workflow. Period.

      1. This. I’m moving every editor I see to FCPX. Once you start using it, you will NEVER go back. My company uses it on a more mograph basis and the combination of FCPX and Motion is frigging incredible. I need native Red support and FCPX to AE (the latest fcp broke most of the xml plugs) – both coming soon btw – and life is perfect.
        If more freelancers knew Motion, I’d probably switch to that as well…
        Getting back to the original comment – the “professionals” I see whining about FCPX are the ones that don’t want to take the time to learn something new. I’ve seen this over and over again in my long career – the old guard that stagnates gets left in the dust. Genigraphics > powerpoint, Scitex/Shimasheiki > photoshop, electronic typesetting > pagemaker/quark, HAL > AE/photoshop etc… the list goes on and on. There were always guys fighting/deriding change, and they always got left behind.
        FCPX is deceptively simple. Under the hood it is doing some really complex stuff that I am happy as hell not to have to think about.
        If you stick with Premiere… good luck with a company that TRULY does not care about it’s customers. Ask Adobe if AE CS6 can create a loop (without rendering), or group layers in folders, rather than pre comp. Sorry this is so long winded, but Adobe has shit on it’s customers for YEARS, and especially it’s mac customers.

        1. I totally agree. I tried Premiere Pro CS6 as well, it was a terrible day.

          I only wish Apple would upgrade Logic Pro 9 to X: Full 64bit, same UI as FCPX, same short cuts.

          Logic still is like Final Cut 7. Not bad, but also not as great as possible. Hope they do it one say.

          1. I’ve been using Logic a lot lately (with Komplete)… I agree – it could totally use an overhaul. I hope they don’t pull a “Shake” and dump logic after gutting it for Garage band and FCPX. I don’t think that will happen, but you never know.

  7. Could Apple please make Pages a true InDesign killer? Or create something else from scratch. I need to work with InDesign all day long, it truly is a great software, best software of Adobe. But I hate that it behaves like an alien on the Mac. All shortcuts are different, the UI is different, it really sucks. The features are great (much, much better than Quark XPress, so there is no other option than InDesign), but I would love to kick it’s ass. Adobe has become arrogant over time, somebody should tell them. Who else than Apple could do it?

  8. As much as I dislike Adobe, they still have best software for designers. Yes, it is way over priced and complicated and their business model stinks. However, they are still on top and can’t wait for anyone, including Apple to make something different and competitive.

  9. Holy crap! This will be awesome! I Use gimp/pixelmator for raster graphics and inkscape/idraw for vector. Lately i can’t get inkscape to work with mountain lion. I have not found an alternative for indesign yet.

    I hope this comes out this year!

  10. This can’t come soon enough. It’s a bad joke that the Mac, which pioneered graphical user interfaces and included MacPaint on the first Macs… now doesn’t come with even a basic painting program. And no, Preview doesn’t cut it.

  11. I would be overjoyed at this. I use to use Ps and Ai a lot, and found Ai unbearably complicated and counter-intuitive. Before using Ai I used CorelDraw on a little PC, and many features shamed Ai for its complexity.
    Things like moving text on a line, in Corel, you just selected a little node under the character and dragged or nudged it, but Ai’s solution, having to select characters then open a dialogue box and set numerical values was just horribly fiddly.
    Can’t wait to see Apple’s spin on this!

  12. Interestingly, this application dates from 2007 which means 4 years of development since. It almost sounds too good to be true. Even though Apple had good drawing programs early on, it was Adobe that worked with them on postscript etc. Given all the patents Adobe most certainly has, combined with Macromedia’s, Apple has a high hurdle to jump to get a professional quality program to compete with the Adobe Suite.
    That being said, Pixelmator is a pretty good alternative and we have Aperture, so it can be done.

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