updated 07:45 pm EST, Wed February 1, 2006
Adobe's Mac commitment
Adobe today said it would not deliver native Intel versions of currently shipping professional products and that customers would have to wait until future major releases--which could be more than one year away--for native Intel Mac support. While noting an upcoming release of a native Intel Mac beta of Lightroom, its newly introduced professional applications for photographers, Adobe refused to provide additional release dates on the native Intel versions of its applications, except to say it was moving its development to Apple's Xcode development platform to help ease the Intel transition and was focused on the next major releases of its professional, which due to planned development cycles would delay the release of any native Intel Mac support.
The company, however, reiterated its support for the new Intel-based Mac platform, noting that at last year's Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen expressed "strong support" for Apple's transition plans: "We think this is a really smart move on Apple's part and we plan to create future versions of our Creative Suite for Macintosh that support PowerPC and Intel processors."
14 months away?
The next major release of the Adobe's Creative Suite could be between eight and 14 months away. Adobe declined to provide specific release dates--per company policy--but pointed to its "consistent track record of releasing significant upgrades" every 18 to 24 months. Adobe's Creative Suite 2 was release in April of 2005. The FAQ suggests that the earliest Adobe Creative Suite customers could see an upgrade with native Universal Binary support is September, but that the next major release could be as far out as April 2007.
Release of the recently acquired Macromedia platform may even be further away, as Macromedia delivered major software upgrades in August 8, when it released Studio 8, which included the popular Dreamweaver 8, Flash 8, and Fireworks 8. The company also only recently released Adobe Affect Effects 7.0, a major new release of its video editing software, which could mean that those customers would wait at least another 18 months before seeing a native Intel version.
Adobe admits performance gap on Intel Macs
During his keynote at Macworld Expo San Francisco, Jobs showed Photoshop running smoothly under Apple's emulation environment called Rosetta, but noted while Photoshop was usable for a few tasks, the performance would not be adequate for professionals.
While Adobe confirmed virtually all of its applications run under Apple's Rosetta emulation environment, it said that customers would experience a few problems as well as a noticeable performance gap.
"In general, applications that are not designed to run on Intel-based Mac computers, including current versions of Adobe's creative professional applications, may be noticeably slower than they are running on PowerPC-based Macs. Instead of experiencing much-anticipated speed enhancements, customers are likely to see some degradation of performance."
The company said that customers could mitigate some of these performance issues by using machines with large amounts of memory--at least one gigabyte of RAM, but recommends that professionals use PowerPC-based Macs for maximum workflow efficiency.
"Mac-based customers looking for optimal performance may prefer to run Adobe Creative Suite 2, Studio 8, and their components on PowerPC systems until we release future versions of our software as Universal applications," the company said.
In addition, it noted that Adobe's Version Cue Workspace, a component of Creative Suite 2, is not compatible with Rosetta.
Lightroom beta expected "shortly"
The Lightroom beta is expected "shortly" and will be available as a free download. The company said it will be able to quickly release an Universal Binary version of Lightroom because the application is currently in beta and does not require as much testing as release-quality software.
"Because this is a beta and not yet a certified, shipping product, we have more freedom to release it quickly without the exhaustive testing required of production software. Customers are encouraged to experiment with this beta version as a preview of the performance they can expect from future Universal releases of Adobe products."
No official support for Rosetta
Professional customers will only be able to turn to Adobe's online support resources for any questions or problems running its applications under Rosetta, as the company says it will direct callers to this website because it "may not be able to address installation or compatibility issues that arise from running under Rosetta."
According to the company FAQ, Adobe says that while Rosetta "should offer most existing applications a basic compatibility," it will not be extensively testing and certifying it to run under Rosetta and will focus on moving its software development to Xcode to support Universal versions of the next major releases.
Testing integral to transition
Adobe said it is currently working on or evaluating transition plans for most of its products, including Adobe Creative Suite, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive, InCopy, Acrobat Professional, and After Effects as well as its recently acquired Macromedia applications: Studio, Dreamweaver, Flash (both Professional and Basic versions), Fireworks, and Contribute.
"[We are] investing thousands of testing hours in certifying that Universal versions of our applications meet the level of quality our creative professional customers require. This includes testing on the new iMac and MacBook Pro systems that are shipping in the first quarter of 2006, as well as on any of Apple's upcoming Intel-based professional desktop systems."
The company, however, did not note any native Intel Mac development plans for Coldfusion MX, its development application to build and deploy Internet applications. The company released a new native Mac OS X in September, but did not provide any commtiment for the application.
[Update: Coldfusion info added]