It’s been a while now since Acrobat XI was released, and considering Adobe usually runs on two-year release schedules for this product, give or take, what does this imply for when Acrobat XII (Pro/Standard/Reader version 12) will be coming out?
Ordinarily, our best estimate would be simply to go with the release dates for the past few major revisions of Acrobat and then extrapolate.
Well, Acrobat 8 came out on November 2, 2006 – Acrobat 9 arrived on June 25, 2008 – Acrobat X launched on October 18, 2010 – and finally Acrobat XI was released on October 15, 2012. So a bit of basic math would project the Acrobat XII release date to be sometime during this month, in October 2014. But clearly that hasn’t happened.
Here’s a key part of what he revealed at the MAX Analyst Briefing:
As all of you know, we have a really great business with PDF. And, what’s really happened is that PDF and Acrobat continue to be defacto standards for collaboration and workflows. I like to say that PDF has won – even with mobile devices, the amount of content creation that’s happening on mobile, the amount of content sharing that’s happening.
We have a major new product release expected in the first half of Fiscal Year 2015 …
OK, Adobe’s fiscal year 2015 is when? It actually starts in December 2014, and then runs through to November 2015. We don’t think Acrobat XII will ship during the holidays, so we expect to see the new Acrobat version arrive some time in the new year 2015… And “the first half” comment means it should be out by the end of May 2015.
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If you’re wondering what new features will be in Acrobat 12, then read on below. But if you can’t wait until release day to see (and try) it, then register your interest in a possible Acrobat XII public pre-release program. There are no guarantees on being accepted if/when it opens, but it’s free and easy to sign up so it’s worth a try. The application is open for Acrobat, Adobe Reader, or both. Adobe’s goal with prerelease programs is to receive customer input on product usage and new features, plus learn about any early issues to help produce a tool that’s better for everyone.
What’s New in Adobe Acrobat XII?
So what might actually be in Acrobat 12, that’s new, different and improved from version 11? Obviously Acrobat has been around for a while – more than 21 years in fact, and could be termed a mature product – so this is an interesting question…
Adobe’s CEO gave hints to this as well:
I think we have a unique opportunity to take all of the assets that we have – what we’ve done with Reader Mobile, what we’ve done with Acrobat.com – and deliver a really integrated offering around everything that we have to do with document workflows.
What the new version does is bring together all of our deskop products, all of our mobile products, things that we’ve done with Mobile Link that enable you to share your Acrobat file seamlessly across devices – as well as to make sure that we integrate new services, not just CreatePDF, but also all of our signing services. We also want to attract new users to the ecosystem with the low entry price points of Acrobat subscriptions.
So I think the message here is, we have real permission right now and a franchise to expand our footprint and extend our brand. And again, we’re pretty excited about what we’re doing with our new Acrobat release in Fiscal 2015, which we think will keep our growth and leadership in document services moving forward.
Naturally there could also be enhanced tie-in with Adobe’s Creative Cloud platform which has really grown lately – in addition to broadening support for mobile devices and tablets. Updated support for the latest Windows/Mac operating systems with both Acrobat Pro/Standard as well as Adobe Reader XII is another safe bet – and we can also hope for native 64-bit support within Acrobat for improved performance on modern hardware.
In addition, Adobe is likely to incorporate user suggestions coming from their public Acrobat Feature Request forum – where you can (and should!) leave your feedback as well, for what you’d like to see. Or, you can enter your remarks in the comments below and we’ll pass them along…
New Focus on Subscriptions vs. Perpetual Versions
The CEO’s quote about growing Acrobat subscriptions is noteworthy – because just recently in their online store, Adobe made a big change to refocus customers towards monthly subscriptions, rather than purchasing the traditional software outright. It has become much more challenging to find where on Adobe’s site they are selling the perpetual versions of Acrobat – but rest assured, they are still offering them for now (at least for Acrobat XI, as of this writing). So if a perpetual license is what you’re looking for, then you can still find them here.
It’s possible this shift by Adobe could be an indication of what’s to come next for Acrobat… But whether the company will continue to offer perpetual licensing for Acrobat XII, or whether the new release will become subscription-only (as what happened with the transition from Creative Suite to Creative Cloud), or if there will continue to be a choice between the two, we simply don’t know for sure yet.
One great thing about subscriptions is anyone who signs on now will get Acrobat XI immediately plus free future upgrades (e.g., version XII) included for the duration of your membership.
Grace Period for a Free Upgrade to Acrobat XII
On the other hand, people who start using the current release of Acrobat now (with a traditional license) have up to a 60-day window in which to receive a free upgrade to Acrobat XII, if it is released during that time…
That’s because of Adobe’s Return/Exchange Policy for direct purchases, which enables customers to easily swap out whatever they bought for a newer version within a set period of time after a recent purchase.
You can read more about this here:
So either way you go now – perpetual or subscriptions – your Adobe order comes with some degree of insurance to get a free upgrade to the new version when it comes out, depending on the timing.
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