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When Will Adobe CS6 Be Released?

[UPDATE (May 2012) – Creative Suite 6 is now shipping!]

It’s common for folks to want a sense for when Adobe’s new releases of Creative Suite are coming out. And we’ve covered this topic before for CS5, ahead of its launch date.

But regarding the future now…

What features do you want to see in CS6?

On Tuesday much was shared, as we learned Adobe is preparing a “mid-cycle release to CS5,” which will be available later this year is out now (CS5.5).

On the same publicly-available conference call, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen also gave some guidance on the possible roadmap for the company’s CS products going forward… And the news is: the CS5 cycle still has a lot of time and runway left:


And with respect to the CS5 mid-cycle release, is that going to impact the timing of CS6?

Adobe CEO

Well, I think the way you can look at that is the real goals for the mid-cycle release are to continue to enhance the functionality, as I mentioned… [see the features hinted for a likely CS5.5]

And then you can expect another release in 2012.

So right there he’s implying Adobe CS6 would ship sometime next year, a good ways down the road…

Of course, Adobe develops this software on a continual basis, so there is always the next version of Creative Suite coming at some point… It’s easy to get paralyzed by that. As with any technology (software or hardware), steady evolution means that anything you buy today will eventually be supplanted with a future release or model. But, we all still have to get our daily work done – and the software saves time (equals money), so arguably there’s good benefit to running the most productive (latest) versions sooner rather than later.

More on timing:


I remember a mid-cycle release between CS2 and CS3. That was a 24-month cycle between 2 and 3, obviously with 2.3 in between. Have there been other meaningful mid-cycle releases since then, or is this going to be the first time since that point?

Adobe CEO

No, I think traditionally we’ve added Acrobat because Acrobat is on a different product cycle than Creative, because Acrobat is also used a lot by the Creative community in terms of updating the releases. But for the most part, I would say that this is really a new strategy and given all of the functionality that we’re putting in with respect to multiple screen as well as Digital Publishing Solution. We also did things like bundled the Macromedia products when we acquired Macromedia, but I would say this is really the first significant mid-cycle release.

So Adobe is clearly indicating this CS5.5 is going to be a bigger upgrade than CS2.3 and CS3.3 were in their time… But the company is also saying their release strategy is actually shifting here, and they are being open about it:


How should we think going forward here with your recent commentary over the past couple of quarters of more incremental updates and releases to Creative Suite? Should we think of 24-month cycles now, with 12-month (call it) interim releases? Is that kind of the cycle we should start thinking about going forward?

Adobe CEO

Yes, I think order-of-magnitude that’s a good way to think of it. We want to continue to deliver value to our customers and keep them on the current releases. And I think we’ve talked about for the amount of fundamental innovation that continues to go in, a 24-month cycle is a good timeframe for us to update most of the customers. But there’s significant value that we can continue to provide on an annual basis, and that really is our goal.


So then just to confirm, you said the next milestone release after the mid-cycle release will be in 2012. Is that correct?

Adobe CEO

That’s correct.

So there you have it – a CS6 would be released in 2012, maybe sometime around 24 months after CS5 was… (Creative Suite 5 shipped on April 29th, 2010.)

Listen to the entire call here, or you can read the transcript.

And if you’re still on an older version like CS2, CS3, or CS4 and have been waiting, you might want to upgrade now because those upgrade discounts will no longer be offered for CS6!

[UPDATE (April 11th) – Adobe now confirms: A new release strategy for Creative Suite.]

See Also

CS6 Grace Period! Buy CS5.5 Now + Get Free Upgrade to CS6 When It Ships

Adobe: CS6 on Track for “Late in Q2” with Very Compelling New Features

Sneak Previews of CS6: Dreamweaver, InDesign, Flash Pro, Illustrator & Premiere

Win New Photoshop CS6 + Lightroom 4 FREE! ($1000 Giveaway)

What’s the Difference Between Photoshop CS6 vs. CS5 – What’s New in Features?

Give your input before it ships – what would you like to see in CS6?  Please share your thoughts below or at Adobe’s official feature request “wishlist”
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36 thoughts on “When Will Adobe CS6 Be Released?”

    • Hi Eric, good question! There are some who say it will never happen, and some who say it’s inevitable… Many people would like the option at least, and on the Android platform the Flash Player continues to be a top-downloaded app (#4 right now). Adobe has made a lot of strides for mobile devices with the most recent releases of Flash Player 10.2 and 10.1.

      In the meanwhile, it is possible to run Flash on the iPad via an app like iSwifter… It works by translating the Flash content on a cloud server and then delivering it in a format the iPad will accept (i.e., HTML5 and CSS3) – it’s not perfect but performs pretty well for what it does, for some games and video.

      Thanks for visiting and for your comments!

  1. Thanks for this useful information. The question I have is about interim vs. milestone upgrade pricing. When I upgraded from CS4 to CS5, it was about $1000. Will the upgrade from CS5.5 to CS6 be a full milestone upgrade price or will it be similar to the interim price?

    Obviously, if CS5 to CS5.5 is $600 (approx) and the upgrade to CS5.5 to CS6 is $600, then this has some value. But if the upgrade from CS5.5 to CS6 if another $1000, it makes it hard to justify. With this new model of interim/milestone upgrades, is there any information about the ongoing plans for upgrade pricing?

    • That’s a really great question Randy, thanks for bringing that up. Obviously CS6 won’t be out for another ~1 year, so we can’t know precisely what Adobe’s pricing will be at that time. However, it should work as you described it in the first example – that to upgrade to a midpoint release and then again to a milestone release (e.g., twice from CS5 –> CS5.5 –> CS6) should cost not too much more than to upgrade just between major releases (once from CS5 –> CS6).

      This is confirmed by Adobe’s tiered upgrade pricing policy, whereby “… customers who upgrade at every release [receive] a lower upgrade price relative to customers who upgrade less frequently. This means that customers upgrading to Creative Suite 5.5 from Creative Suite 5 will pay a lower upgrade price compared to customers upgrading from an earlier version of Creative Suite.”

      And this is confirmed by Adobe’s upgrade cost schedule, where the discounts are always greater the more recent your installed version is.

      We recommend upgrading as soon as possible if you think you’ll benefit signficantly from the new software. The reasons are twofold: (1) you have that much more opportunity to win from the latest time-saving and productivity and performance gains (where time = money) to recoup your investment, and (2) you run less risk of waiting and then buying a product shortly before the next release comes out. Adobe is now trying to be more open about the future release schedule including CS6, so that people have a better framework to plan from, and there will be fewer surprises and less frustration.

      Appreciate the comments and hope this helps!

  2. My question revolves specifically around Photoshop. I upgraded to CS4 when that came out but didn’t feel there was enough reason for me to change when CS5 was released until recently, when I purchased a Mac Pro and filled it with 32 gigs of RAM, allowing me to make use of the 64-bit processing…

    Right now I am on the last day of a trial for CS5.1, knowing that Photoshop didn’t get an upgrade to 5.5 like some other CS applications. What I really want to know is whether Photoshop will see an upgrade to CS6 in the near future or are we still talking about spring/summer next year?

  3. @ Eric
    Not anytime soon. Apple does not seem to like Adobe and it is rumored that apple is working on their own “apple media (flash) player” for apple videos and such.

  4. Releasing CS6 right now would not be wise from a business point of view. If you compare it to the music industry, artists release an album, go on our tour and create a buzz about their new release. Artist managers and label executives, then monitor the album sales and try to get a sense for how well the album is doing. Once album sales start to drop, the artist then releases another album.

    However, I am looking forward to release of CS6. I’m hoping it has new features that relate to the new web technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3.

  5. My issue with CS6 is a bit different. I have a 2-year software maintenance contract that rolled together previous individual volume purchases for about 250 machines. Problem is that Adobe won’t update individual components – like Acrobat Pro 9 – until CS6 is out. So I have both Pro 9 and Reader X deployed to workstations. This is unlike any other vendor we have these maintenance contracts with! (With Microsoft, any time any individual component updates, we can update it – and often a month or two before it hits stores we can get the RTM versions as well.)

    Adobe’s products don’t deploy well in a relatively locked-down school environment, so from a support (more than a user) standpoint, my patience with Adobe’s schedule tweaks in contrast to their 2-year license terms makes me uncomfortable about signing these types of expensive maintenance agreements with them again. As useful as we’ve found the tools we’ve purchased, we will likely freeze our updates when this one expires and begin looking for alternatives to Adobe now for the future. And that is just too bad.

    Just hope CS6 comes out soon. Otherwise we’ve bought a very expensive two-year maintenance license for CS5 when it came out, only to have gotten Photoshop 5.1 and no upgrade to Acrobat 9 – the two tools used most.

    • Hi Dan, thank you for your comment. That all sounds quite strange – because if you have a maintenance agreement with Adobe on the Upgrade Plan, then you should be able to upgrade for free to all official releases of the Creative Suite…

      CS5 contained Acrobat 9 but CS5.5 includes Acrobat X, and with the Plan you get the right to any future upgrades released during your chosen coverage period – so in our understanding, if you want it then you should be able to have it.

      Please contact Adobe Customer Support to confirm, and update here to let us know if you could – thanks!

  6. Pete, I also am a web developer and die hard Adobe Fireworks user. I would absolutely hate if it was removed from the lineup. On the other hand it would be an idea to combine Fireworks and Photoshop and just switch back and forth between web graphics mode and Photoshop mode, but then Adobe wouldn’t get the extra money from people who use Fireworks and Photoshop already.

    This article answered a LOT of my questions!

    My new question is, what features can/might Adobe include in CS7? As in what’s the next, next thing to work towards?

  7. Hello
    I wonder about the CS 6, wait for the release? I want to buy the educational version. I do not want to have to start the “old” software [CS 5.5]. I do not buy an upgrade soon. What to do?

    It is known that can work well on older programs.
    New products are not very revolutionary.

  8. @ProDesignTools

    Thank you for your response.

    Too many unknowns. I decide on Adobe CS5.5 Design Standard Student & Teacher. I’ll wait to upgrade to CS 7 :)

    I’ll probably only have to buy upgrades CS6 and CS7 in 2014. If nothing changes in the upgrading policy.

  9. Is it really necessary to upgrade to newer versions of Creative Suite each time? These products are very expensive and the core functionalities are pretty much the same from version to version.

  10. Thanks.

    I own CS4 and CS5 Master Collections. Since upgrading to CS5, CS4 hardly gets used although I have not plans of getting rid of my original boxed copy.

    However, shortly after I purchased CS5, CS5.5 was shipped which left me scratching my head. Apart from being important to my line of work, I am a strong supporter of Adobe, and I try my best to stay up to date with most Adobe products.

    CS6 will be no exception, even if I can’t afford to upgrade right away. Regards.

  11. @ Peter Huang

    I know the release date of Adobe Creative Suite CS6. Well not the exact date, but the Month. June 2012. I do procurement for Government schools and called Adobe directly for bids. They encouraged me to buy Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 and to purchase the upgrade module as Creative Suite CS6 would be released in June. He informed me that this would automatically be sent to the district, giving us time to install prior to the fall semester. Hope this helps.

  12. Will they fix the autosave bug that currently corrupts assets in Flash CS5.5? Why don’t they take care of problems like this before coming out with a new update? Or, are all bugs being fixed with costly updates now?


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