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Adobe Intel Support: October at the Earliest

Adobe Intel Support: October at the Earliest

by , 7:35 AM EST, February 2nd, 2006

Adobe has detailed its road map for Intel-based Mac native support, and it won't be releasing Universal Binary (UB) updates for its current applications. Instead, UB versions will be released as part of Adobe's regular 18-24 month product cycle. Since Creative Suite 2 (CS2) was released in April of 2005, that means October 2006 is the earliest we can expect to see upgrades that support Intel-based Macs.

In an FAQ that lists Adobe's plans, the company stated that is is committed to supporting Intel-based Macs with most of its existing Mac products, and that it is transitioning its code development to Apple's Xcode so that it can build UB compliant applications.

Adobe's document states "Adobe does not plan to re-release current products as Universal applications that can run natively on both Intel- and PowerPC-based systems. This applies to Adobe Creative Suite 2 and Studio 8, as well as individual applications such as Photoshop CS2, InDesign CS2, Illustrator CS2, Acrobat 7.0 Professional, Dreamweaver 8, Flash Professional 8, and After Effects 7.0. Instead, we are focused on delivering the next versions of these products as Universal applications that will run natively on the new Intel-based Mac computers."

The applications that Adobe is currently working on, or evaluating transition plans for includes:

    Adobe Creative Suite
    Adobe Photoshop
    Adobe Illustrator
    Adobe InDesign
    Adobe GoLive
    Adobe InCopy
    Adobe Acrobat Professional
    Adobe After Effects
    Macromedia Studio
    Dreamweaver
    Flash Professional
    Flash Basic
    Fireworks
    Contribute

Based on tests in January, Adobe feels that its applications are Rosetta compatible, which means they will run in Apple's PowerPC emulation environment on Intel-based Macs. Performance, however, is an issue. The company states that you may see a noticeable performance hit, but that installing at least a gigabyte of RAM on your Mac does help.

The one exception to Rosetta compatibility is Version Cue Workspace (Server). It does not run under Rosetta, but Intel-based Macs can connect to a Version Cue Workspace. If your workflow relies on this tool, be sure to keep a G4 or G5 Mac to use as a Version Cue server.

Adobe is offering limited Rosetta technical support for its current applications, stating that it may not be able to "address installation or compatibility and other issues that arise from running under Rosetta."

In fact, the report recommends that you run the current crop of applications on a PowerPC-based Mac, and wait for the UB versions to ship before upgrading to an Intel-based model.

Another problem for CS2 users involves plug-ins: Adobe has not tested any third-party plug-ins for InDesign CS2, Photoshop CS2, or Illustrator CS2. Even if these core applications function acceptably in your environment, the plug-ins that enhance your workflow may not. That means users need to contact plug-in developers to confirm Rosetta compatibility.

The Adobe Technical Support Knowledgebase is the resource that Adobe is referring its customers to for additional information about Intel support. As new information arises, it plans to update the online articles available there. If you encounter bugs while using Adobe's applications in Rosetta, you can report them through the bug report system.

Although Adobe is committed to supporting Apple, the product cycle time frame could be a problem for designers transitioning to the new Intel-based Macs. If you are using a PowerMac G5, the performance hit when switching to an Intel model might be more than you want. G4 users, however, may not notice the degradation, since Rosetta may run the CS2 applications at the same speed they are already accustomed to.

Adobe's 18-24 month product cycle usually makes it easy to plan for hardware and software upgrades, but this time around it's a bit more difficult. Apple's early Intel release may be good news for most users, but it has put Adobe, and designers, in a tight spot.

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