Adobe Unveils Creative Suite 5.5

| Product News

Adobe broke from its usual 18-month product release cycle on Monday with the introduction of Creative Suite 5.5 The midcycle release is the first in a new pattern that will include what the company is calling milestone releases every 24 months and midcycle upgrades for key applications, and this time around InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro and Flash Professional were all on the list.

Along with its new product release cycle, Adobe also introduced a Subscription Editions plan that lets users essentially “rent” the applications they need on a monthly basis. The Subscription Editions plan isn’t a cloud-based app service; instead, users install the Creative Suite applications they need on their computer and pay monthly just for the titles they need, and only when they need them.

Companies that need Photoshop for season staff, for example, can pay for just the months they need instead of buying licenses that sit unused for most of the year. “This makes Creative Suite more affordable for companies and freelance designers that don’t need certain apps all the time, or are on a tight budget,” Adobe Creative Suite vice president and general manager Dave Burkett told The Mac Observer.

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5

InDesign
InDesign CS 5.5 sports improved epub tools along with new interactive content creation tools. InDesign is Adobe’s professional page layout application.

Designers now have more control over epub content they create in Indesign thanks to the ability to set the order of stories in the Articles panel and set a cover graphic when exporting. Required document metadata that previously was left out of InDesign-created epubs is now included, too.

Version 5.5 also includes support for building multimedia epub documents that are compatible with Apple’s iBooks app on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

InDesign CS 5.5’s enhanced interactive document features are geared towards magazine app building for mobile devices including Apple’s iPad and Android-based tablets with the application’s new Digital Publishing Suite features.

Dreamweaver
Dreamweaver CS 5.5 gained built-in CSS3 and HTML5 support along with a new dynamic multiscreen preview panel for showing what site designs will look like on various resolution displays simultaneously. Dreamweaver is Adobe’s Web site design application.

Version 5.5 also added JQuery Mobile support, Adobe BrowserLab support, FTPS and FTPeS support.

Premiere Pro
Premiere Pro CS 5.5 added support for rendering clips in real time by taking advantage of the GPU in desktop and many laptop computers. Premiere Pro is Adobe’s professional video editing application.

Version 5.5 added the ability to merge groups of video and audio clips together so that they can be edited as s single item, added auto-edge cropping to video stabilization, added rolling shutter correction, added new encoding presets for several mobile devices including the iPad

Flash Professional
Flash Professional CS 5.5 improved its mobile device development tools and can now better export iOS-compatible and Android OS-compatible apps, along with apps for RIM’s still unreleased PlayBook.According to Adobe’s Paul Trani, support for other mobile platforms will is in the works, too. Flash Professional is Adobe’s multimedia content design and deployment application.

Version 5.5 also improved content scaling, improved the layer controls, offers better code snippet handling, and offers built-in mobile app testing and preview.

Along with Flash Professional, Adobe also introduced Flash Catalyst 5.5. The update for the Flash application mock up tool added support for resizable applications, improved the timeline tools, offers better animation controls, added a common Library panel, and more.

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 is set to ship within about 30 days. As usual, customers can purchase individual applications or product suites. The suites are priced at US$2,599 for the Creative Suite Master Collection, $1,899 for the Design Premium Collection, $1,799 for the Web Premium Collection, $1,699 for the Production Premium Collection, and $1,299 for the Design Standard Collection.

Comments

CJ

Adobe: You never fail to amaze. Shouldn’t a mid-cycle update cost less than a full-cycle update? As I recall, when Adobe has done mid-cycle updates in the past, they did in fact cost less. Not so now, unless when the next full-cycle update comes, it will cost even more???

Adobe seems intent on squeezing the cash cow for every penny they can get out of it. Eventually they’ll squeeze so hard it blows up.

Brad

Huh? I can get basically the entire suite for around 500 dollars with a student discount. Where are these 1k+ prices coming from?

Lee Dronick

Huh? I can get basically the entire suite for around 500 dollars with a student discount. Where are these 1k+ prices coming from?

Not everyone is a student, but we should never stop learning.

ziploc

CJ: The prices listed in the store are new user-full version prices, not upgrade prices.  Upgrade Prices fro 5.0 versions are as follows:
CS Design/Web/Production Standard- $299
CS Design/Web/Production Premium- $399
CS Master - $549

These are lower prices than for full version upgrades, i.e. CS4 to CS5. You will have saved yourself the extra upgrade cost if you held out on CS5 you can now upgrade directly to CS5.5 from CS4 for the single full version upgrade cost.

ziploc

Brad: The single difference between Student and Full versions (of any software) is in the License Agreement.  By buying the Student version at a huge discount you are agreeing to NEVER make a profit off of it.  As soon as you start using their software to make a profit you are legally bound to purchase the full version and pay the full price.  There is nothing stopping you other than your conscience and the remote possibility that Adobe will find out and prosecute you.

leonffs

@ziploc
You usually have to prove you are a student to get the student version, no? I remember buying it in the school computer store and having to show my student ID.

ziploc

Harry: Yes, even online most places make you prove that you are a student and it usually has to be a credited school on an official list that they reference.

xmattingly

I like what CJ said - because it’s pretty much true.

For years, part of what it meant to be a graphic designer - for me - was getting ahold of the latest release of software and learning how to use all the cool new tricks it could do. Years later, I’m becoming less and less enthused about each subsequent release by Adobe. The new features they add to their products are nominal, you can expect the latest versions to have software bugs, and they want to dig deeper into your pocket by forcing you to buy package upgrades. I was definitely interested in getting CS 5, until I found out that it was going to cost me an extra $200 since I have CS 3 (they never used to ding you for skipping a release).

Anyway, it used to be an ongoing expectation to pay several hundred dollars every 18 months or so for improved software, but now we have the biggest joke of all: subscriptions! That’s right folks! For what you would pay several hundred dollars every year and a half for a licensed physical copy, Adobe now wants to dig $1000 out of your wallet every year for their bloatware. Quit paying, and whoops - you no longer have functioning software.

Sorry Adobe, but I work to put money in my pocket, not yours. It’s past time for me to see what the competitors offer.

ziploc

Sorry Adobe, but I work to put money in my pocket, not yours. It?s past time for me to see what the competitors offer.

Unfortunately ever since the buyout of Macromedia, the competitors consist of several independent developers that are not ready for professional printing purposes (if that is your area) or Corel which is not on Macintosh.

Lee Dronick

I am still on CS 4 and will wait to read some reviews before I decided to upgrade to 5.5 or just wait until 6.

Unless I missed it I don’t see where they did any upgrading to PhotoShop and Illustrator.

The new InDesign looks interesting.

FlipFriddle

InDesign CS5 has some really useful improvements over CS4 (column spanning copy being my favorite) so that is worth an upgrade. The rest of the design suite, not so much. Even after 5 CS versions the interfaces of the apps is STILL not common. It’s so frustrating that Illustrator still has a vastly inferior type handling ability to InDesign. I thought the whole point of CS was to unify everything. Oh well.
Ziploc forgot about Quark Xpress (or maybe he didn’t because he mentioned “competitor.) Quark just announced Xpress 9 which has a new interactive/iPad pub design component.

xmattingly

Unfortunately ever since the buyout of Macromedia, the competitors consist of several independent developers that are not ready for professional printing purposes

I really don’t know what else is out there for print software developers. There are a handful of specialized versions, like MultiAd Creator that are well-developed though.

But there are definitely some options in other areas. I know some web developers - and I mean hardcore guys that really know their business - that swear by Coda. Coda for $99 vs. Dreamweaver for $400?? Hmm… There are also some nice alternatives around to Photoshop and Illustrator. Not as feature rich, but extremely capable for a fraction of Adobe’s racket.

I thought the whole point of CS was to unify everything.

They’ve been following the “close but not quite” model for unifying their products for years. I’ve long suspected that the development teams for each software title have very little interaction with other teams… as a result, us regular Joe’s have to keep contending with interface inconsistencies.

Ethan

I think one of the things I like about the suites vs dealing with something like coda is the variety of outputs. Coda is somwhat limited in it’s tooling. On any given day I will write html, edit css,  ActionScript3, work in Photoshop, Fireworks, and illustrator building assets, lay them out in Catalyst, and program in Flash Builder. To find seperate tools for all those things that talk to each other would be a pain.

Compared to Coda I’d go with Espresso and CSSEdit from MacRabbit. The sugar extensions give you mor flexibility.

Back to CS5.5: I really think it depends on if your working in a very focused field or doing a lot of different work as you wear many hats. Not everyone just works on print material or designs websites all day everyday. More and more people are asked to do more everyday - the suites give you a wide toolbox.

Also for web dev a free alternative to DW, Coda, and Espresso is Aptana. Also Textmate is very good with some of it’s tbundles installed.

MackyMoto

I pray that what happened to Quark happens to Adobe. Years ago Quark had the best layout app. PageMaker was a very distant 2nd. Quark got cocky and didn’t improve their product very often and treated their customers extremely poorly. By the time InDesign 2 came out everyone was so tired of Quark it seemed like the whole world switched over to InDesign en masse. I would love it if someone came out with an alternative to Adobe’s suite. Their software is so buggy. Almost every time my Mac crashes it’s due to some Adobe app. They rip off their customers because they are the only game in town. Their customer service and tech support are horrible. Recently I could not log into my account on the Adobe web site because of some error on their end. It took four phone calls on my part and over two weeks on their part to fix it.

xmattingly

Back to CS5.5: I really think it depends on if your working in a very focused field or doing a lot of different work as you wear many hats.

Thanks for the other web development software mentions, Ethan. It’s certainly true that designers (and to a somewhat more general degree, content creators) are expected to wear more hats; especially if you’re an in-house guy as opposed to an agency guy. BUT. How many of us can honestly say that we use more than three or four apps out of CS routinely? I’d wager that would be a small fraction of Adobe’s customer base. For myself, these days it’s mainly Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver. I don’t even touch Bridge (adds very little capability over OS X’s own Finder), and for example, I might go into Flash or Acrobat maybe 5% of the amount of time I spend in my main ones. I think my pattern is representative of a typical end-user, and be that as it may, Adobe is ripping off most of us.

I pray that what happened to Quark happens to Adobe. Years ago Quark had the best layout app.

Complacency is a competitor’s best friend. While I realize this .5 release is partly intended to show that Adobe is constantly improving, I feel that a lot of the updates should have been a part of CS 5.0. Not to mention that they’re using it as a launch pad to pitch a their new subscription plan, as well.

Lee Dronick

How many of us can honestly say that we use more than three or four apps out of CS routinely?

For me it is:

Illustrator
PhotoShop
DreamWeaver
Acrobat, including Distiller
InDesign
Bridge, somewhat

I can either buy them ? la carte and pay more than I would if buy Design Premium, but then get the programs that rarely use, if at all.

xmattingly

I can either buy them ? la carte and pay more than I would if buy Design Premium, but then get the programs that rarely use, if at all.

That’s even true for people who only only use a few key programs, which is why I say their pricing is a rip off. You’re basically baited into buying a package for not much over what you’d pay over a few programs, but then pricing on the upgrades is absurd.

I don’t think software ought to be more costly than the equipment it’s run on either. And we ARE Mac users. If I bought an upgrade to CS 5.5 Design Premium today, I’d be paying more than I paid for my Macbook Pro.

bolonga

As a DreamWeaver alternative I can highly recommend to take a look at Flux from “The Escapers”. Constantly updated and improved, very reliable. It takes a small project to get used to it but then it is really a powerhouse. I’ve got DreamWeaver in my suite but actually do prefer Flux.

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