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Adobe CS4 offers overall improvements, higher upgrade pricing


As Robert reported earlier this month, Adobe officially announced Creative Suite 4 via a streaming webcast earlier this morning. Adobe CS4, which is scheduled to ship sometime in October, is being touted as "Adobe's biggest software release to date."

While I was watching the webcast for our sister site, Download Squad, what struck me was the focus on performance improvements and cross-product integration. I've been dabbling with some of the CS4 betas since the beginning of the summer, and I agree that the Macromedia products are now much more tightly integrated (at least on the Fireworks and Dreamweaver side, I haven't used the Flash CS4 beta) with the rest of the Adobe suite.

On the performance side, the GPU acceleration rumors for Photoshop CS4 that Mat mentioned back in May are a reality. What was really striking, to me, was that despite the all the hub-bub about the lack of 64-bit support for the Mac version of Photoshop CS4, the demonstrations for the webcast were all performed on a Mac (I'm assuming it was a Mac Pro, it was attached to an external monitor on stage and also displayed on stage/screen). Showing off some of advantages of GPU acceleration, the representative from Adobe worked on a 2 GB 400 megapixel file, showing how easy it was to zoom in and out, and roate the image without any lag or slowdown.

So, 32-bit or not, Mac design shops that have powrful systems should benefit tremendously from the speed improvements to Photoshop.

The pricing for some of the Adobe CS4 bundle suites has increased nominally both for upgrades and new purchases. Web Premium CS3 was $1599 US, whereas Web Premium CS4 will be $1699 US. Design and Production Premium prices remain the same ($1799 US for Design Premium, $1699 for Production Premium), but the price of Design Standard is now $1399 US, up $200 from Design Standard CS3. Upgrade prices on suites appear to be about the same as CS3, although Web Premium is $100 more than it was 18 months ago.

For anyone who purchased Design Premium CS3 before May of 2008, you will be happy to know that Fireworks is now included in this suite (it was included in suites sold after May of 2008 or if you paid the $160 to upgrade to Acrobat 9). Fireworks never should have been omitted from Design Premium in the first place, so this is a nice addition.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 will be shipping sometime in October. One note for PPC Mac users -- Adobe After Effects CS4 will only support Intel systems. Premeire Pro CS4, like CS3, is also Intel-only.

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