[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:
New CS Release Schedule
To enable customers to successfully capitalize on these industry trends, Adobe is innovating quickly and we are introducing a new release schedule for Creative Suite:
- In order to keep customers ahead of these industry trends, we will issue midcycle releases in between our traditional milestone releases.
- We are extending the time between milestone releases to two years.
- There will be one midcycle release during each cycle. So, once every 12 months there will definitely be a substantial release for CS.
- Since features in the midcycle release are primarily focused on keeping users ahead of the industry trends at that time, not all point products will be revised in a given midcycle release.
- This new Release Schedule debuts … with CS5.5 as the first of these midcycle releases.
So reading between the lines here – if milestone (new major number) releases will be every two years, and if every 12 months there will be a new version of Creative Suite coming out, then taking the CS5.5 launch date of May 3, 2011 and adding twelve months would give an expected CS6 shipping date in the early May 2012 timeframe.
Of course, software development schedules are never exact, and your mileage may vary – but this is about the best estimate right now from public information.
[UPDATE – More precision on the Creative Suite 6 release date…]
How about CS6 pricing? This won’t be published in advance, but when moving from CS4 to CS5 Adobe kept prices pretty much the same – so the most reasonable budgeting strategy is to use the same cost figures for Creative Suite 5 for a similar product, or for a similar upgrade.
[UPDATE (March 26th) – CS6 Grace Period Savings: Buy CS5.5 Now + Get CS6 Free!]
What else do we know about CS6?
First and foremost, Creative Suite 6 will continue to be available in all the forms you’re used to today with CS5 – download or boxed, full or upgrade, individual or suite, perpetual (permanent) or subscription. And based on the Message Summary document, all major products are likely to receive substantial revisions and new features.
What about upgrade paths? Well the big news here is Adobe recently postponed big changes to the upgrade policy, so current CS3, CS4, and CS5 customers will be able to upgrade to their choice of CS6 products. CS2 customers can still upgrade to CS5.5 now, but will be too far back to receive discounted upgrade pricing to CS6. However, there may be a brief grace period where anybody (including CS2 users) could upgrade to CS5/CS5.5 and then receive a free further upgrade to CS6, if Adobe continues what they’ve done in the past after Creative Suite announcements. Stay tuned here as we’ll have quick news of that program if it’s offered.
Adobe will also be offering a Creative Cloud alternative (where access to the software is rented monthly by paid membership) but — and there’s a lot of misunderstanding here — the cloud will be completely optional and not required by any customer (either existing or new) to buy or use it… In other words, it is an addition – not a replacement.
We also now know that Adobe’s two new products Edge and Muse will not be part of CS6, and will be available via separate subscription or cloud only. At the same time, we know that Adobe Acrobat, Lightroom, and Photoshop/Premiere Elements will not be affected by any cloud or upgrade changes.
[ Learn more about the features and timing of Creative Suite 6. ]
Adobe Photoshop CS6 – a Sneak Peek
Did you catch the little “sneak peek” video that Adobe slipped out on YouTube last week, presumably a first look at what’s to come in Photoshop CS6?
There were some interesting details revealed – confirming longtime rumors, Photoshop is getting a darker and redesigned user interface that allows for a more immersive experience and consistency between other Adobe applications, plus rich cursor support that gives a floating heads-up of significant brush metrics right near the action. And as is customary, Photoshop CS6 will continue to use the same new Adobe Camera Raw 7 processing engine that’s also available now in the new release of Lightroom 4. ACR 7 has been rewritten and can do some pretty amazing things very quickly, as shown in the video.
Check out what it does to this iPhone camera shot of Paris – how easily it brings up the foreground without blowing out the background, recovering highlights and boosting clarity for a more compelling image using just a few sliders…
Just roll over with your mouse (or tap) for the before and after results:
So the video is definitely worth two minutes of your full-screen time if you haven’t seen it yet – and we’re likely to get more previews in the coming months because it’s titled “#1” in a new YouTube playlist Adobe created called “Sneak Peeks”:
What other features coming in CS6?
Well, of course we also have the possibility of the stunning Photoshop Image Deblurring feature that Adobe demoed at MAX last fall – but from what PS Senior Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes said earlier, it sounds like a long shot for deblurring to make the CS6 release.
It seems more likely we could see some of the other MAX feature sneak peeks finding their way into CS6 products, including Liquid Layout for InDesign, plus 3D Video Meshes, Auto-Align New Dialogue Track, and Auto-Sync Crowd-Sourced Video for Premiere Pro & After Effects, as well as all the rest of the sneak peek demos.
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