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Gear & Apps

Affinity Photo For iPad | Full Desktop Features Akin To a 12-Core Mac Pro

By Kishore Sawh on June 16th 2016

In case you hadn’t noticed, you’re not exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to post processing and image asset management. There are options, sure, but there really are only few if you’re serious. You’ve got Adobe’s oligarchical suite of Photoshop, Lightroom, Bridge; Phase One’s Capture One Pro and Media Pro SE; DxO Optics to some sort of degree, and a few others. In terms of pixel bending and true manipulation though, the throne has belonged to Photoshop, and between Photoshop and Lightroom, Adobe has reigned supreme. But then Serif came about…

Serif has entered upon this whole arena an underdog, but of a Russell Crowe in Gladiator-esque way; to date, Serif produces the only real Photoshop alternative in Affinity Photo.


Affinity Photo sort of emerged from the ashes of the Affinity Designer, an intuitive and discount version of Illustrator. But with Affinity Photo, Serif has managed to make true converts all within about a year, and even managed to be the Apple Mac Store App of The Year for 2015. It’s proven to be versatile, fast, stable, and all encompassing – a disruptive piece if there ever was one in our field. Granted, it’s currently only for Apple systems, but a Windows version is in the pipeline.

All that said, their latest news could very well be bigger, and certainly speaks volumes about where our industry and tech is actually going – if you listen close.



So what is it? Affinity Photo is coming to iPad, and before you roll your eyes, allow me a moment to explain why this is so significant, and to do that it must be said right off the bat that what Affinity is promising is the FULL featured desktop application, available on mobile. This statement means a lot and suggests a lot.

For one, if you haven’t used Affinity Photo before, you should give it a try, as they have their free trial still available – though the purchase price is a flat $49 USD. You’ll see quickly that it is feature-rich with things like layers, stitching, healing brushes and liquifying tools, and so much more. What this means is on a mobile device you’ll now have the ability to stitch panoramas, do focus stacking, portrait retouching, color grading, have full layer support, and so on.



Affinity is claiming there will be full bi-directional handoff between the mobile app and the desktop version, allowing for 16-bit sRGB manipulation and smooth 60fps panning and zooming, and full 32-bit HDR editing. Basically (and directly), they’re saying that using this on an iPad Pro is equivalent to the performance you’ll get on Affinity Photo on a 12-core Mac Pro. This will be the first application to truly allow you to leave the computer at home, and fully edit your images on the road, on the fly.

[REWIND: Is It Time To Switch From Lightroom to Capture One Pro? Here’s Why It Might Be]


All of this was divulged as Serif visited Apple’s WWDC this week, and we are all urged to stay tuned for more details. I’m sure we will, with baited breath. This is proof of the importance of mobile in our photo world.

Check out Affinity Photo here.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Arvin Genetia

    It’s good!

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  2. Ett Venter

    Sheesh, that looks incredible. Much like you, Kishore, I’m in the market for a new iPad, and this is the one thing that makes me think that an iPad Pro might be the one to get.

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  3. Dave Lyons

    The stacking and pano alone are worth the $49. The most amazing part is that it doesn’t hog all your resources and spew memory leaks everywhere or crash on a regular basis. It’s much more “light weight”, faster, more stable then ps. Actually it’s close to what ps should be at in this day and age but like m$ their trying to chug their dinosaur along.

    Now that you can use ps plugins inside of it’s a no brainer but how it works is a bit different and people hate change which is too bad as it’s already better than the average photographer needs. I guess i’ll actually have to get an iPad now ;)~

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I’m going to have to give this a thorough handling when it arrives – and need to go buy an iPad Pro….

      I still haven’t used Affinity Photo all that much as I’m just so familiar and used to PS and work so much in it. Maybe it’s time for a review.

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  4. Will Gavillan

    So excited for this. I’ve been a Photo user since beta and haven’t turned back. Now I only need Capture One to follow suit and I’ll be set!

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  5. Marlon Richardson

    I already really love Affinity Photo for desktop. I’ll give this a spin when it launches.

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  6. Paul Wynn

    I’m not an iPad user, but this would certainly help with mobile productivity. Very interesting.

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  7. John Cavan

    That would probably convince me to buy an iPad Pro… I’m a fan of the Mac version, though I still tend to Photoshop because I’m so used to it.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      That’s along what I’m thinking. I happen to be in the market for an iPad, as it were, and trying to decide if a Pro is really what I would use. This is another nudge.

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