Our enthusiasm about a full refit of Procreate Pocket, this was eclipsed by the incredibly exciting release of iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. This hardware combination was such a big deal for us that we had no choice but to stop development on Procreate Pocket and focus everything we had on Procreate for iPad.
That was the right call. Procreate was already the leading painting app for iPad, and iPad Pro and Apple Pencil allowed us to take the product to a whole new level. There was already a dedicated community of artists using Procreate, but with more precise hardware and a lot more power to work with, many more artists began to integrate Procreate into their workflows.
The combination of iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and some monumental feature updates meant that Procreate rapidly became a powerhouse for artists working professionally in film, design, illustration, calligraphy, and a dozen other industries.
In the meantime, Procreate Pocket sat untended on the App Store. It didn’t receive an update for over two years, and we knew that this didn’t meet our standards. By the end of 2017, Procreate for iPad was powered by an entirely new Metal engine, had a plethora of powerful new features like StreamLine, Automatic Selection, Perspective Guide, and PSD Import. Procreate Pocket didn’t even have QuickLine, and its overall design hadn’t aged well. From both a technical and user experience standpoint, the product lagged behind.
There was no easy solution. Procreate Pocket had been without updates so long, it was starting to feel beyond repair. Fixing things would require more than just a minor patch - it would effectively mean we had to build the app all over again. So, the question became: is it worth it?
At our annual company meeting at the end of 2017, James announced a plan for dealing with our neglected little project. He’d started redesigning Procreate Pocket as an entirely new app, addressing the fundamental issues with the original version. Bringing it to life would require a total reboot: scrapping the old version completely, and rebuilding for iPhone from the current iPad codebase. This wasn’t just a point update - this was Procreate Pocket 2.
This was ambitious and exciting, but not everyone at Savage felt that way at first. There was a feeling that Procreate Pocket had been an experiment, and it had failed. It wasn’t a suitable tool for professional artists, and any further effort on the project could be a waste of precious development time.
Some of us - Matt in particular - strongly felt that we hadn't yet given Procreate Pocket a real chance. Because it had sat for so long without proper care and attention, it hadn't had the opportunity to stand on its own feet. We knew the problems with version one, and now we had a chance to fix everything: to make a version that we could really be proud of. Procreate Pocket 2 wasn’t a choice - it was a necessity.
The debate went on for hours, well into the night. We traded pros and cons (assisted by many delicious cocktails), but even by 4am we hadn’t come to an agreement. In fact, during the discussions, more people began to feel that removing Procreate Pocket from the App Store and ceasing development was the right call.
The tide had started to turn, and it was looking likely that this would be the end for Procreate Pocket - which was kind of sad. We ended our retreat a few days later, bringing 2017 to a close with the fate of the project still undecided.