Adobe has publicly confirmed what they’ve been hinting for a while now: a new annual release schedule for the Creative Suite – with milestone releases in even years, and mid-cycle releases in odd years. The shift comes as the technology world turns faster from the previous cycles of 18-24 months historically.
Adobe didn’t actually say what future CS versions would be named or called – but for the sake of simplicity, let’s presume they continue with the established trend…
They also gave guidance on “when” during each year, the expected timing for the launches… What’s more (and importantly), Adobe Photoshop will be getting a significant upgrade in CS6, after relatively minor updates for CS5.5.
Read on below for the specific details from the recent conference call and subsequent question and answer session… Or just read the full transcript.
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen
… We successfully launched Creative Suite 5.5, an update to the CS5 product family. The release features enhancements for mobile content and application creation, new innovations for HTML5 and Flash authoring, and amazing new features and productivity improvements in our video authoring solutions.
CS5.5 is the first release in our transition to an annual release cycle, enabling us to deliver content creation innovations to our customers more frequently in response to the rapidly evolving marketplace.
Looking forward, expect this type of innovation to continue. We intend to ship the next milestone release of Creative Suite in 2012, and it will include an updated version of Photoshop.
Okay – that’s very good to know, helps reduce on the guessing – but when exactly next year will CS6 (or whatever the next major version of Creative Suite is called) be planned?
As far as the annual release cycles for CS, should we expect that the timing is going to be kind of consistent during one time of the year – like we’ll see CS every year in the April-May timeframe, or will it be kind of variable each year?
With annual releases, we’re still very focused right now on 5.5 and … continuing to drive through that cycle until we release the next version. But I think it is fair to say that when we go to an annual release, the cadence will be about the same quarter because that’s what really enables us even with enterprises to get to be far more of an annual release cycle and have maintenance be a more meaningful part of the business.
As you move to more of an annual cycle, will we see a condensation of when the languages roll out?
Yes, so as we did with CS5 itself, we are moving to a more consistent release schedule where all major languages are released at the same time. The reality is, we’re in a global world and so the day we announced the product, the interest – whether it’s in North America, whether it’s in another part of the world – is consistent. So yes, expect to see us do simultaneous releases of all major languages moving forward.
So, since CS5 came out in spring 2010, and CS5.5 in spring 2011 – basically this signals we’re looking at CS6 being launched in the spring of 2012, in English and other major languages at once. Here’s how the big picture looks:
|Creative Suite 3||Spring 2007|
|Creative Suite 4||Fall 2008|
|Creative Suite 5||Spring 2010|
|Creative Suite 5.5||May 2011|
|Creative Suite 6||Mid-2012 (est.)|
|Creative Suite 6.5||Mid-2013 (est.)|
|Creative Suite 7||Mid-2014 (est.)|
|Creative Suite 7.5||Mid-2015 (est.)|
But what’s this about a new release of Photoshop, features for the next version – what’s going to be in Photoshop CS6?
And I think people are looking forward … to the next release as well, because there’s a significant anticipation that’s being built up for all the cool things that we can do in imaging with Photoshop – and there’s a lot of exciting stuff underway.
Bottom line, knowing the future release schedule takes a lot of uncertainty out of the process… There’s always another release coming at some point, but now we know when. Historically, there have been folks who have held off buying Adobe software because they weren’t sure if that next version was “right around the corner” – where they would feel sheepish if they purchased just before that event. But now, knowing the release windows, you know what to expect – and can make an educated and informed purchase. We commend Adobe for changing their policy and making this information more public.
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[Photo credit: Adam Hart-Davis, Atacama Desert, Chile, South America.]