Archive for September 15, 2022

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Adobe to Acquire Figma

Lauren Simonds (in June):

Rapid growth, a massive user base and stealing the market out from under an industry Goliath — this is the stuff of which tech startup founders dream. It’s also the story of Figma, a cloud-based platform for designing websites, apps, logos or just about any software, created by game-changers Dylan Field and Evan Wallace.

Dubbed “the Google Docs of design” for its flexible simplicity, Figma lets teams of product, user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers collaborate, edit and comment on projects in real time.

Adobe (Hacker News):

Today, Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) announced it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Figma, a leading web-first collaborative design platform, for approximately $20 billion in cash and stock. The combination of Adobe and Figma will usher in a new era of collaborative creativity.


Figma’s web-based, multi-player capabilities will accelerate the delivery of Adobe’s Creative Cloud technologies on the web, making the creative process more productive and accessible to more people.


Figma has a total addressable market of $16.5 billion by 2025. The company is expected to add approximately $200 million in net new ARR this year, surpassing $400 million in total ARR exiting 2022, with best-in-class net dollar retention of greater than 150 percent. With gross margins of approximately 90 percent and positive operating cash flows, Figma has built an efficient, high-growth business.

Dylan Field (tweet):

When we started Figma, our stated vision was to “eliminate the gap between imagination and reality.” I believe we can reach this goal substantially faster through our plan to join forces with Adobe and leveraging their legendary team plus decades of expertise.


Adobe is deeply committed to keeping Figma operating autonomously and I will continue to serve as CEO, reporting to David Wadhwani. David is someone I’ve known for a few years now and we have a strong relationship of mutual respect; I’m very excited for us to collaborate with him on how to continue growing Figma’s business. The entire Figma team will report to me. We plan to continue to run Figma the way we have always run Figma — continuing to do what we believe is best for our community, our culture and our business.


Recognizing that we are in an unpredictable, inflationary environment, we currently have no plan to change Figma’s pricing. Finally, all of Figma will continue to be free for education.

Tom Warren:

Figma was first founded 10 years ago by Dylan Field and Evan Wallace, and the collaborative design platform has become key for many businesses in recent years. Thousands of designers and developers at Microsoft rely on Figma every day to build Office, Windows, and more. It’s used so heavily at Microsoft that it has been testing the company’s relationship with Adobe, a close partnership that will only get closer now.

Figma is all about the web, which is something Adobe and other rivals have been struggling to compete with. Adobe now plans to combine its own community with Figma, and it’s likely that will involve bundling Figma products and services into Adobe Creative Suite at some point in the future.

Gergely Orosz:

2021 was the year when startups raising money did it on valuations that have almost all collapsed by now. Figma raised at a ~$10B valuation then.

The fact that they are selling to Adobe for close to double is nothing short of remarkable (also shows Adobe desperately needs Figma)

Joe Fabisevich:

I’ve long thought that the conflation of Figma, design, and design systems was concerning but now I think it will become a real problem. Unlike engineering where you can easily switch languages and environments in a modular manner the choice in design is now Adobe or Sketch.

John Gruber:

Figma’s breakthrough is that it was the first web-app to establish itself as a leading tool for professional designers. It’s hard to overstate how profoundly Figma disrupted Adobe’s status as the undisputed leader in design tools, because Figma made collaboration a first-class part of its workflow. Adobe has had many competitors over the decades, but Figma was the first that seemingly was reducing Adobe’s relevance to professional designers.

Nick Heer:

Its growth created real competition to Adobe’s products for the first time in a while because it is focused on vector editing tools for digital applications. Web and application designers loved it. It was certainly a better option than trying to design user interfaces in Photoshop or Illustrator, and it pushed Adobe to try to compete by building XD.


That was a good thing, too. If you just look at feature checklists, you could argue Adobe still innovated in its post-Macromedia years. But most any user of the company’s products can tell you the reality: Adobe Creative Cloud is a suite of bug-infested, unreliable, bloated, and slow software that makes being a designer uniquely frustrating, and it is downright embarrassing how few choices we have for tools in this industry.


Update (2022-09-26): Amal Dorai:

I’m not surprised that Adobe is acquiring Figma for $20B, nor that Wall Street doesn’t understand it and $ADBE stock is down more than $20B today. It’s a smart move for Adobe because it’s nearly impossible to make legacy software applications multi-user collaborative.

I know this because I founded a startup, LiveLoop, to make MS Office real-time collaborative. Microsoft acquired us in 2015 and has invested heavily in making Office real-time collaborative, and Office collaboration is now much better than in 2016. But it’s still not Google Apps.

Nick Lockwood:

This all makes sense, but also this model for multi-user collaboration sounds… bad actually?

VCS (e.g. git) solves this problem without compromising the ability to make local or offline changes and without ceding control of all of your files to some centralised third party.

Stay SaaSy (via Hacker News):

In my opinion Figma is different in a way that a lot of people may not realize. With Figma getting acquired for approximately 1.3 gazillion dollars by Adobe, here are some quick SaaS and product strategy reactions from a Figma fan.


Figma ate up all of the mindshare in the Designer community essentially instantaneously. Within roughly one renewal cycle of our prior product, Figma was already taking over – we literally went from purchasing one design product to purchasing Figma while still under contract with our prior contract because the industry was moving en masse.


I’m not sure that the broader technology and business community appreciates how unique this dominance is, because they don’t work closely with designers. Designers are not like engineering or marketing teams that love hopping to the sexy new product. Design products are complicated; it isn’t “fun” to try out a new vector graphics editor. It is weird that all designers suddenly wanted to move to Figma. It would be like half the world’s sales teams quit using Salesforce overnight.

Matt Birchler:

Figma quickly become more capable, more collaborative, and more fun to use than the competition, and it was constantly gave you new goodies to improve your work.

Exporting to Xcode from XD would be nice, but not nearly sufficient IMO.

Sketch was never an option for us because we’re a company of hundreds, and of course we’re not all using Macs.

We tried using XD for a year since it was part of Creative Cloud, which we already paid for.

The experience was okay, but nowhere near Figma.

Jay Peters:

Adobe has a history of buying up some of the biggest tools in the creative space, acquiring companies like, a video production collaboration tool, and Behance, which lets people showcase their creative work. (Belsky first joined Adobe through this acquisition.) The company has bought a lot of companies — even Photoshop was an acquisition. That makes the Figma purchase all the more concerning for designers; one of the few notable challengers to Adobe has been swept up, meaning Adobe will continue to consolidate creative app power in one location.

Ben Gilbert:

As usual, @benthompson has the best take I’ve seen on Figma.

I didn’t realize how much “close to the metal” code they wrote to achieve the breakthrough UX they have.

Alex Konrad:

Lost in the hubbub: a historic $2.3 billion retention package for Figma CEO Dylan Field and employees offered on top.

I dove into the billion extra reasons Adobe is giving Field to stick around...

Hunter Walk (via Hacker News):

Figma had crossed the ‘this matters to Adobe’s future’ rubicon. They hit $400m ARR and were continuing to double. Figma revenue, independent of margin, was increasingly displacing revenue that might have gone to Adobe, or more specifically, creating pricing pressure on Adobe.


When the autonomous car company Cruise got quickly snapped up by GM in 2016 jaws dropped at the $1b+ reported price (we were small investors in Cruise). The answer there was the same: if autonomy is the potential future of your industry and you’re not yet strong in that area, what’s percent of your market cap is it worth to bring those cards into your hand. In that case it was roughly ~2.5% if I’m remembering correctly. In Adobe’s case it was a larger percentage because Figma is way further along as a business and the certainty the future of design at least looks like Figma is high.

Update (2022-10-07): Casey Newton:

I last wrote about Figma here in April 2021, as the company introduced its FigJam virtual whiteboard and Field navigated his team into a hybrid in-person and remote workplace. When news of the acquisition hit, I wondered how Field planned to navigate everything that’s now in front of him: antitrust issues, keeping control of his product road map, and whatever DALL-E and other AI tools might mean for the future of design.

Highlights of our conversation follow[…]

Francisco Tolmasky:

It’s interesting that Figma didn’t usher in a new age of super cool web apps. They released a super impressive WASM app 6 years ago. Everyone was blown away & then proceeded to… talk about WASM as a future technology & just went back to arguing about React vs. Vue or whatever.

But where was the intellectual curiosity? THE poster child of “you’ll never do this on the web” native apps — PHOTOSHOP — was conquered on the web and… nothing? No gold rush of web apps? No Cambrian explosion of 20 competing WASM frameworks now that we knew this was possible?

Wenting Zhang:

Not every investor of ADBE stock is like me, who held a grudge because they worked on the internal competitor product. Why do other investors hate the acquisition, as shown by the stock price plunge? The simple answer is that the $20 billion price tag is too expensive.


After the acquisition announcement, the “design Twitter” jokingly mocked up Figma’s app icon in Creative Cloud form — it was transparent to everyone that Figma would be part of Creative Cloud; then why does the Figma CEO not report to the head of Creative Cloud?

Update (2022-10-19): See also: All-In Podcast.

Update (2022-11-09): Nilay Petel:

So I wanted to talk to Dylan about the deal, why he’s doing it, how he made the decision to sell, and what things he can do as part of Adobe that he couldn’t do as an independent company.

Dylan’s also a pretty expansive thinker, so after we talked about his company getting the “fuck you” money from Adobe, we talked about making VR Figma for the metaverse and AGI, which is artificial general intelligence, or the kind of AI that can fully think for itself.

Update (2023-03-10): Gergely Orosz:

I have heard most designers I know move over to Figma. However, until I saw this graph I was surprised why Adobe would pay ~12% of its market cap for a purchase. Especially that they built a competitor: Adobe XD.


iPhone 14 Pro Camera

Sebastiaan de With (tweet):

When it comes to computational photography, the quality of your software and processing power plays as important a role as the physical camera itself. It’s silly to judge the new iPhone entirely on sensor specs, and we can’t wait to run full package through its paces as soon as it arrives at Halide HQ.


The Wide camera sees the greatest changes. The lens gets a bit wider, a 2mm focal length difference. The aperture is smaller (‘slower’), means the lens collects less light. This was probably necessary to work with a larger sensor. We calculate that the Wide camera is able to collect 20% more light compared to last year’s camera, even with this slightly worse aperture, thanks to its larger size.

We’re astonished by the improvement in the camera sensor’s ISO range. It goes far beyond previous iPhone cameras. Given high ISO values are accompanied by more noise, it’s highly likely this ISO range is made possible by how its higher resolution sensor combines 4 pixels into one, vastly reducing noise.


A big change here is the front-facing camera gaining variable focus (and autofocus) for the first time since the very first iPhone.

Austin Mann (Hacker News):

All that said, I was excited to see this massive jump in megapixels in the iPhone 14 Pro as it will open doors to capture more detail, crop in on images, and also open up new possibilities for larger format prints at higher DPIs.


Many of you have been curious about the file sizes of the 48 megapixel ProRAW DNG files. I’ve found them to be mostly around 80MB, with the smallest files as low as 45MB (a shot with mostly sky and little detail), and the biggest being 115MB (a shot with tons of detail in leaves). For comparison, my Sony A1 (50 megapixel) RAW files are usually in the 120MB range. The image pixel dimensions of the 48 MP files are 8064x6048.


I’m pretty sure I’ll generally leave my settings set to 12MP ProRAW and only push up to 48MP when I really need it.


I do feel many of the images I’ve shot are a bit too processed and/or over-sharpened. When this happens, I’ve been bringing the ProRAW files into Lightroom CC and adjusting the “Apple ProRAW” profile slider to the left to reduce the HDR/sharp look if it’s too much for me.


Offloading photos/videos via Lightning cable is another story. I’ve had some serious pains trying to transfer content from my iPhone to my MacBook Pro. I’ve been on YouTube watching videos, unplugging, switching Lightning cables, restarting devices — doing all the things I can think of. I finally found a tip that said if you turn on Airplane mode, then Apple Photos will properly load, and thankfully it did.


Update (2022-10-14): John Gruber:

Having spent the last year with an iPhone 13 Pro — equipped with 0.5×, 1×, and 3× cameras — I’m delighted to have 2× back as an optical focal length. In day-to-day usage, I’ve found 3× to be an awkward focal length — too zoomed-in for most of the scenes and portraits I’ve wanted to shoot, but not long enough for situations where I’d want a telephoto lens with a lot of throw.


Basically, on the iPhone 13 models and earlier, Deep Fusion worked on the compressed JPEG or HEIC imagery; now it works on the RAW data direct from the sensor. This isn’t an A16-exclusive feature, because the non-pro iPhone 14 models have it too, but it is exclusive to this year’s new phones.

Jason Snell:

I get that 48MP images are overkill for most snapshots. I get that the files are huge. I get that the 12MP images using the quad-pixel method are less noisy and superior in lots of lighting conditions. I understand Apple’s decision to make quad-pixel shooting the default. But I’m a little surprised that shooting a 48MP HEIF image isn’t an option, and that enabling the 48MP camera requires a visit to Settings.

Perhaps it really just comes down to Apple not trusting iPhone users to use the power of the 48MP image wisely.

Nilay Patel:

In general, the 14 Pro and 13 Pro take really similar photos. The 14 Pro is a little cooler and captures a tiny bit more detail at 100 percent in dim lighting, but you really have to go looking for it. That’s true of the main camera as well as the ultrawide, which has a bigger sensor this year and also benefits from Photonic Engine. In very dim light at 100 percent, details from the ultrawide look a bit better compared to the 13 Pro, but you have to look very closely.


This is about as different as the Pixel and the iPhone have been in a few years. Both phones grab a lot of detail and have great low-light performance, but the Pixel 6 Pro makes very different choices about highlights and shadows while the iPhone 14 Pro is way more willing to let highlights blow out and even more willing to let some vignetting creep in.


Where the iPhone 14 Pro falls down in these comparisons is really in the details of the processing: Apple’s been ramping up the amount of noise reduction and sharpening it does over the years, and the 14 Pro has the most aggressive sharpening and noise reduction yet. Sometimes it just looks bad: this night skyline shot is an overprocessed mess compared to the Pixel.

Juli Clover:

We’ve spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be.

DXOMARK (via Hacker News):

We put the Apple iPhone 14 Pro through our rigorous DXOMARK Camera test suite to measure its performance in photo, video, and zoom quality from an end-user perspective.

Kirk McElhearn:

I was stunned by the quality of the photos I shot with the iPhone 14 Pro over the weekend. Apple’s computational photography has always made its photos look better than you’d expect from a tiny lens and 12 megapixels, but the ability to shoot in 48 Mp is a game-changer.

David Smith:

I took a number of photographs with my new iPhone 14 Pro. I was really pleased with how these turned out and thought it might be helpful to share them to give a sense of the kind of photos possible with the new camera system.

Mark Spoonauer:

But a new exclusive feature for this year is a 48MP sensor for the main wide camera in the Pro models. And based on our testing, it produces some pretty amazing results.


We had concerns that the iPhone 14 Pro’s 48 megapixels would come at the expense of ‘depth’; that its sensor wouldn’t render images as nicely or capture enough dynamic range.

Here’s @sdw’s RAW vs. an edit.

This camera is incredible.


108MP Note 20 Ultra vs 48MP iPhone 14 Pro Max

Raphael Sebbe:

48MP RAW (not ProRAW) from iPhone 14 Pro is not available to 3rd party app developers. We (Hydra app) made a request today to access it.

John Gruber:

I won’t quite argue that Apple was wrong not to include a 48 MP JPEG shooting mode, but it does seem like shooting RAW on the iPhone 14 Pro produces more impressive results than with previous iPhone generations. This new main camera sensor is impressive.

Juli Clover:

Some iPhone 14 Pro owners are having problems with the Camera app, with multiple complaints on the MacRumors forums suggesting that the camera can take several seconds to load when it is opened.

Joe Rossignol:

Following the launch of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, some early adopters of the devices have noticed that the rear camera’s main lens vibrates uncontrollably when the camera is opened in apps such as Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram, resulting in shaky video. The issue does not appear to affect the built-in Camera app.

Joe Rossignol:

A strange issue causing the rear camera to vibrate on some iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models does not necessitate a repair, according to Apple.

Benjamin Mayo:

Apple will be releasing a software update to fix the camera shake / rattling issue affecting iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models.

Update (2022-11-02): Sebastiaan de With (Hacker News):

But what Apple has delivered in the iPhone 14 Pro is a camera that performs in all ways closer to a ‘proper’ camera than any phone ever has. At times, it can capture images that truly render unlike a phone camera — instead, they are what I would consider a real photo, not from a phone, but from a camera.

That’s a huge leap for all of us with an iPhone in our pocket.

Update (2022-11-03): Juli Clover:

The Pixel 7 Pro came out just weeks after Apple’s new iPhone 14 Pro Max, so we thought we’d compare the cameras of the two smartphones, pitting the high-end iPhone against the high-end Pixel 7.

I think the Pixel’s photos consistenly look better. In particular, the lighting in the iPhone photos often looks unnatural. This also happens with my iPhone 12 mini, after not really being a problem with earlier phones.

Update (2022-12-23): Michael Potuck:

MKBHD launched his fun yearly blind smartphone camera test last week with a new precision ranking system, dedicated website, and more.


iPhone 14 Pro came in the middle of the pack in 7th place for the overall score. The Pixel 6A took 1st place, Pixel 7 Pro came in 2nd, and Asus Zenfone 9 took 3rd.

Other devices to beat out the iPhone 14 Pro included the Oppo Find X5 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, and Realme 10 Pro+.

Widgetsmith for iOS 16’s Lock Screen

John Voorhees:

If you’ve used Widgetsmith to create Home Screen widgets, you’ll hit the ground running with Lock Screen widgets. There’s a new segmented control near the top of the iPhone app’s Widgets tab that toggles between Home Screen and Lock Screen widget creation. The Lock Screen view is divided between the inline text widgets that fit above the time on the Lock Screen and circular and rectangular widgets that sit below the time.


The rectangular widget category includes even more categories from which to choose. Between the overlap with other widget types, plus the Battery and Tides widgets, there are a total of 13 widget types that can be added to a rectangular widget and themed.

I loved the idea of widgets, but in practice I never use them. It hasn’t seemed worth displacing any of my app icons, and if I’m going to swipe to a separate homescreen I may as well just open the app itself. I make heavy use of watch complications, though, and I expect Lock Screen widgets to be more like that.

Francisco Tolmasky:

Is there no way to put Apple Remote in the Widgets Lock Screen? Would love to have it directly there instead of in Control Center.


eSIM and iPhone 14

Glenn Fleishman:

Apple has gone all in on the eSIM (embedded SIM), a programmable internal version of the SIM (subscriber identity module) card used to ID your phone to cellular networks. With the U.S. models of its iPhone 14 series, Apple has gotten rid of a physical slot for the SIM card. But it also continues to expand eSIM flexibility on other iPhone models and iPads.


While an eSIM is programmable and handled entirely digitally, it has no effect on whether a phone or tablet that incorporates the technology is locked or unlocked by the carrier on whose network you’re using your device.


You once had to swap a hardware SIM out when traveling to another country. With an eSIM, you can still add a second plan for outside your area. When you return home, you just deactivate the eSIM. However, there are some countries that have not adopted eSIM yet, and an eSIM-only iPhone 14 or later model may not work for you in some countries or for your preferred carriers there.

Casey Liss:

So, in order to hopefully get ahead of the game for next week, I decided to try to convert my physical SIM to an eSIM. As it turns out, this process wasn’t particularly difficult, but I figured it’d be worth documenting for others.


After I did my transfer, I noticed that iMessages were suddenly being sent and received as text messages. This may have been user error on my part, but it seems that my iMessage settings were altered such that my phone number was no longer a valid iMessage address for me.

If you do the above, it’s probably worth verifying your settings.

John Gordon:

Apple put a lot of work into dual eSIM support. Here the dual status bar. Sure feels like they are going to do an Apple network.

Joe Rossignol:

Amid criticism from some customers regarding the removal of the SIM card tray on all iPhone 14 models sold in the United States, Apple today published a new support document outlining various “options and benefits” for using eSIMs while traveling abroad.


In his iPhone 14 Pro camera review, travel photographer Austin Mann said he was “a bit concerned about the practicality of an eSIM-only approach for travelers with US iPhones who frequently visit the developing world,” adding that he usually purchases a local SIM card in countries where he travels to so that it is easier and cheaper to communicate with people within the country. Mann said he would be thrilled to toss out his collection of physical SIM cards, but said he has been unable to figure out how to sign up for an eSIM line in East Africa, where he plans to travel to next summer.


Update (2022-09-22): Joe Rossignol (via Josh Centers):

Repair website iFixit today shared an in-depth teardown of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, providing a closer look at the device’s internals. Notably, the teardown includes a photo of the plastic spacer that replaced the SIM card tray on the U.S. model.

All four iPhone 14 models sold in the U.S. no longer have a physical SIM card tray and rely entirely on digital eSIMs. The teardown confirms that Apple is not using the internal space freed up by the tray’s removal for any other component or added functionality, and instead filled in the gap with a square piece of plastic. Outside of the U.S., all iPhone 14 models are still equipped with a SIM card tray in this space.

The empty space is surprisingly large.

Update (2022-09-26): Francisco Tolmasky:

OK, so this eSIM thing of course didn’t work. I’ve tried transferring it from my old phone by doing the “Add eSIM” thing, but after entering the code it shows, nothing happens. My old phone still gets texts, etc.

Update (2022-10-07): Om Malik:

And from what I had read and seen on YouTube, it seemed that switching the number to the new phone was going to be a breeze. I was about to learn, the hard way, that never believe everything you read in the reviews.


It was time to switch phone numbers. And that’s when everything went wrong. No matter what I did, the eSIM transfer didn’t work. I would initiate the transfer, follow the steps, and then nothing would happen. I tried using all the options on offer — but again, nothing.


By then, almost three hours had passed. I was getting agitated. I needed a phone – as it is what I use to stay in touch with my parents. At the same time, I was quite sick, so I didn’t want to be without a phone. It is hard to get by these days without a phone. As the clock inched towards 9 pm, the technical support person suggested that I should go to the store in the morning and get a new SIM card at the very least to get my old phone working.


When I woke up the next morning, I decided to explore the idea of switching away from Verizon after nearly two decades.

Update (2022-10-17): Sami Fathi:

In a memo seen by MacRumors, Apple acknowledges that some users of the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max may see a message that reads “SIM Not Supported” appear on their device. After displaying the pop-up message, the iPhone may entirely freeze, according to the memo. Apple says it’s “investigating” the issue and notes it’s not a hardware problem, adding that customers should keep their software up to date.