Software maker Adobe has launched Creative Suite 5 (CS5), which it is billing as the most important release of its flagship content design software in years. But the event has been partially overshadowed by the company’s escalating war of words with Apple over its Flash software.
Key new features of the software (there are 250 in all) include:
- Adobe Flash Catalyst, a new component of the suite, which allows users to design interactive content without writing code.
- The “refine edge” tool in Photoshop CS5 offers better edge-detection technology. There’s also the ability to remove an image element and immediately replace the missing pixels with the new “content-aware fill”. This fill tool allows users to delete areas on photos and have the application redraw the background so that it seems the deleted areas were never there in the first place.
- New stroke options allow Illustrator CS5 users to create strokes of variable widths and precisely adjust the width at any point along the stroke.
- Some native 64-bit applications, including Photoshop and Premiere Pro. The 64-bit support allows users to “work for fluidly on high-resolution projects”, Adobe says.
- Dreamweaver CS5 now supports popular content management systems Drupal, Joomla and WordPress.
But one of the more important new features, one that allows developers to write programs that run on multiple devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, has drawn Apple’s ire. Flash-based applications don’t run on the iPhone, or on the new iPad slate device, but Adobe had been hoping its new software would allow developers to write applications for these devices.
That now looks unlikely after Apple updated the rules for software developers, preventing them from writing software using an intermediary layer of software, such as the one offered by Adobe in CS5. It’s not clear whether the feature will be available to developers when CS5 ships in 30 days.
The Wall Street Journal quotes analysts saying Apple’s decision to change the rules is “aimed at maintaining the company’s tight control over software development on its devices”.
“If Adobe’s technology takes hold, a developer could theoretically write an app that could run equally well on the iPhone and, say, phones that run Google’s Android operating system. That could lead to Apple losing the ability to use exclusive apps to differentiate its hardware from competitors’ products,” the newspaper says.
Consumers and businesses interested in buying CS5 are going to have to dig deep into their pockets. The full CS5 Master Suite, which accounts for more than 50% of Adobe’s revenues, will set users in the US back $2 599 a copy (excluding sales tax). That means the software in SA will probably cost more than R20 000. Of course, Adobe also sells the individual components, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, separately. Also, upgrades are available more cheaply for users who have previous versions of the suite installed.