[UPDATE (May 7th) – Here it is, Creative Suite 6 is out!]
On a publicly-available conference call this week, Adobe’s CEO shared some new details on the timing and features of an upcoming CS6 release… It was the most information given to date on the question, and it confirms the expectations from our recent forecast.
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen
In our Digital Media business, recent research shows our customers are excited about our upcoming launch of Creative Suite and the Creative Cloud. Among creative professional customers and students, we found that over 40% of those surveyed are waiting for the new release to upgrade.
Our upcoming Creative Suite release will include major updates to all of the core CS products, including Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects, InDesign, Illustrator and Dreamweaver. We have created significant anticipation for the release through a series of “sneak peeks” of great new features. One sneak video featured a breakthrough Photoshop innovation called Content-Aware Move, which has driven more than a million online views.
The upcoming CS release will also advance our HTML5 and mobile content creation and app development offerings, where we see strong interest to help our customers deal with the complexity they face. All of this is on track for delivery late in Q2.
[UPDATE (May 7th) – Here it is, Creative Suite 6 has been released!]
Late last week we received these two inquiries via our Contact page:
“Could you please provide a proposed release date for CS6 Design Premium software? I can’t see anywhere on your site where this is mentioned except for the U-turn regarding upgrade policy from earlier versions.”
“I have a budget meeting tomorrow and need to know the approximate release date and projected cost of the CS5 to CS6 Master Collection Suite upgrade.”
But it’s clearly time for an update.
Even today, we wish we could give you exact dates and numbers for those questions, but Adobe hasn’t publicly disclosed that information – and likely won’t until CS6 is launched… However, we can make a best estimate of the possible timing for the Creative Suite 6 release window.
On Adobe’s site now there is a document referencing the new CS Release Schedule. Here are a few of the key elements contained within this Message Summary:
Adobe has two major new products in free public beta right now – Adobe Edge for developing HTML5 animations (like Flash Pro but outputs HTML5) and Adobe Muse which allows designers to create websites as easily as creating a layout for print. Adobe says interest in these betas has far exceeded their expectations.
So what’s the difference between Muse and Dreamweaver, Adobe’s existing tool for creating websites? Well, with Muse you can build cool sites without coding (see impressive examples), whereas Dreamweaver is for users with greater technical orientation. So while you can do more advanced things with Dreamweaver, often you can (very easily) do just what you need with Muse, and have it look great.
Both tools will be shipping in their first official release in 2012. And while it’s been known for a while that Muse would be “subscription-only,” we now know too that Edge will likely follow the same path. Furthermore, neither will be included in the Creative Suite.
At a recent Adobe Analyst meeting during the question and answer session, it was revealed that Adobe is planning for both new design tools to be available only via subscription or through their optional “Creative Cloud” software rental offering – and neither will be a part of CS6 – in other words, they will only be sold separately.
Here it is at the 33-minute mark of the Q&A:
Judging by the amount of attention that Adobe’s recent upgrade policy changes have been receiving, as well as our subsequent visitor poll on the company’s model shift to the new “Creative Cloud,” this is a big and important issue…
Both of these tools have historically different release schedules from Creative Suite – and while Acrobat is included in the suites, Lightroom is not. Looking back, CS5.5 launched in May 2011, Acrobat X in November 2010, and Lightroom 3 in June 2010.
So first off, we can clarify: both Acrobat and Lightroom are currently slated to be included in Adobe’s Creative Cloud, at least according to this slide from a recent analyst presentation – although there is a disclaimer at the bottom which states, “list of included products [is] not yet final.”
[UPDATE (January 25th) — Adobe now says that Lightroom will not be included initially, but is “planned for a future release.”]
The next question then is, will either of these two popular standalone products be affected by Adobe’s new upgrade policy?
What Is the Creative Cloud?
Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch describes it as an optional membership-based program formed of three pillars: Creative Services, Creative Community, and Creative Applications.