It’s a big day for Adobe, with the announcement of two new products: Creative Suite 6, and a new subscription service called Creative Cloud, which it describes as “a hub for making, sharing, and delivering creative work, and a radical new way of providing tools and services that will change the game for creatives worldwide.”
Full details will be announced in a press conference at 10am Pacific time today.
Creative Cloud will cost you $49 per month on an annual contract – in other words, you’ll be required to pay for at least a year of it, which means $588 – and gives you access to a bunch of web-based editing, sharing and storage tools, including everything from CS6, plus Adobe’s touch apps, plus Adobe Typekit, Lightroom 4, and more. (You can pay month-by-month, ie, without the annual commitment, for $75.) It also works with CS3, CS4, CS5 and CS5.5, in which case you’ll only pay $30 per month as an “introductory offer”.
Alternatively you’ll just be able to buy CS6 as you’ve bought Adobe suites before (at no less than 14 different price points). But Adobe obviously wants people to take the subscription route. There’s so much money to be made from subscriptions. Just ask the cell phone companies. Once you’ve started paying the sub, there’s a disincentive to stop.
In return, though, it looks like Creative Cloud is going to be a very feature-packed offering. It’s going to have to be.
What does it offer that’s different?
When you’re paying for Creative Cloud, you get access to full versions of all of Adobe’s Creative Suite apps. They’re downloadable, so they exist on your computer as installed applications. But – and here, it seems Adobe has taken some cues from the way Apple runs App Store apps – updates are incremental and automatic.
It comes with two new HTML tools, Muse and Edge, for creating web content that meets web standards.
Designers who love using Adobe’s iPad apps will like the integration the Cloud gives them. They can do touch-based design work on their iPad, then sync their work to the Creative Cloud and immediately use it in one of the desktop apps.
It even comes with hosting for five websites.
Although we’re still awaiting a lot of detail that will no doubt emerge from the press conference, at first glance this looks like Adobe making a very strong push to lure design professionals into a different kind of relationship with their software. It will be interesting to see how it works in real life, and whether those design professionals prefer to pay out the $50 per month for ever more, rather than a couple of grand every few years for the traditional boxed apps.