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Adobe previews Lightroom for iPad app complete with RAW photo editing

Adobe has provided a sneak peek at Lightroom running on a tablet, but stressed that project is still in its infancy.

Tom Hogarty, Adobe's group product manager for Lightroom, appeared on Wednesday's episode of The Grid, a weekly online chat show, and showed off RAW processing on an iPad.

As the show noted: "This is big news as it gives a glimpse into the future of Adobe Systems plans for incorporating a high-end photo-editing software for tablets. The new app would be a close relative to Adobe's Lightroom software for PCs and serve as a cloud-connected companion to the programme."

Hogarty said the app is being tested internally at Adobe right now. He admitted that the move is "a pretty big sea change," but said Adobe is discussing the project publicly in order to "start the conversation," similar to the Lightroom 5 beta that was released last month.

During the show, Hogarty showed off editing for RAW photo formats, including Lightroom Develop-module parameters like exposure, clarity, shadows, highlights, and white balance. At this point, a lot of these editing features consume too much processing power to work on a tablet, so heavy edits are relegated to the PC.

"Please notice that if I touched on some of these, the iPad itself would explode," Hogarty joked about some of the not-yet-active options on the Lightroom tablet app.

Ideally, however, the solution being developed by Adobe will allow for on-the-go edits, including 100 per cent zoom, which will be synchronised via the cloud on the PC. Right now, photo editors can "kluge things together with Dropbox and other things that will move data around, but it's not going to be as efficient," he said. As host Scott Kelby noted, Dropbox also does not support RAW images and converts them to JPEG.

"I just want to be able to sit there with my mobile device and enjoy my time with photography, wherever I am, with whatever device I have and not be tethered to a laptop anymore," Hogarty said.

That vision is currently just a "geeky demo," Hogarty said, but it will hopefully materialise into something workable in the future.

Adobe did not immediately respond to a request for comment. For more, check out the video below. Hogarty's demo begins around the 18 minute mark.