Serif recently released the long anticipated major updates to it’s Affinity suite of creative apps bringing them up to version 2.0 and adding in a new Publisher app for the iPad bringing it up to full parity with the desktop app suites.
I’ve used Affinity Publisher for the iPad for a week during which time I’ve imported several of my regular, client projects, mostly, newsletters. And yesterday I just finished off a marketing one sheet and a newsletter. For the newsletter importing from the Mac version of Publisher 1 was easy, no issues. Importing from a pdf also worked very well with various images, text, shapes, etc mostly intact. Exporting the final pdf was fast and as expected. Exporting a Publisher package also went without a hitch with the expected folder of linked images, fonts, and the package file.
Publisher on the iPad works exactly as it does on the Mac with the exception that instead of the top level menu the iPad has the touch, optimized tools and what Affinity refers to as “Studios” on the right side of the window: Layers, Pages, Colors, Text, Stock Photos, Assets, Text Wrap, etc.
Using the “more space” option in the display settings on the 13 inch iPad Pro has the effect of making some of the touch points fairly small, even in full screen. Fine for using with a trackpad or Apple Pencil, but a little bit difficult with the fingers when, for example, selecting layers.
Somewhat surprising to myself is that I did most of the two projects yesterday in tablet mode using the Apple Pencil and my fingers to select text from documents provided by client to place or paste into the publisher document. It works very well and I am reminded why I enjoy using the iPad so much for this kind of work. It’s a very smooth and quick experience alternating between a pencil and fingers as needed to select, move, copy, drag and drop from Files, est. Oh, and notably, moving between pages, and using touch to zoom in and out of details on a page was super smooth just as it’s always been on the Photo and Designer apps by Affinity.
Looking forward to trying it out on an external display when 16.2 is released. I tried the trackpad a bit while importing and updating some of my other projects and it also works very well (as expected).
Not too much of a surprise for a new app there are a few issues. In my case I noticed a few font issues which others are also reporting. I also had a few app crashes though I’m using Stage Manager so it’s possible that might have been related. With the next project I’m going to use it without SM to compare. Oh, and the top toolbar is hampered by Apple’s 3 dot window dropdown widget which gets in the way of any button underneath it. Hoping I do find that 3 dot window widget useful but hope Apple increases the window chrome just a small bit at the top of windows because it’s something I accidentally tap far too often in many apps. Guessing I’m not alone there. So, not really an Affinity app specific problem.
All in all, I think Serif has done an excellent job and, with Publisher on iPad, my full workflow is now possible on that device. My Mac will be officially retired to file/media server backup. For Mac users I have no doubt that the 3 new Mac apps are all solid upgrades. And I expect Serif will be fairly reliable in releasing bug fixes for all the platforms as they’ve done so in the past. For a one-time purchase it’s a fantastic deal if you’re someone that needs these kinds of apps.
Quick Start Guide for Affinity Publisher 2 for iPad
The Universal license provides access to all the V2 apps on all the operating systems: Mac, iPadOS and Windows is 40% off for a few weeks, only $100. A bonkers good deal!