Creative Suite No More: Adobe CS is Now Creative Cloud

By Norman Chan

And two hardware surprises announced at Adobe's MAX conference.

There will be no Adobe CS7. Today, Adobe announced its new Creative Cloud apps and services, which will be the only way to get the newest versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, and Premiere Pro. After a decade of Creative Suite programs, Adobe is going subscription only with the CC family of apps and services. If Creative Cloud sounds familiar, that's because it's not new. Adobe introduced the service last year as a complimentary offering alongside Creative Suite--Creative Cloud consisted of both free and subscription-based versions of Adobe's core products. Starting today, though, Creative Cloud will be the only way to get the newest versions of those products. For Photoshop users, that means tapping into hyped features like Camera Shake Reduction and Smart Sharpening.

So how does it work? Pricing is obviously the first concern. Adobe announced that Creative Cloud will cost $50/month for access to all of its apps and services. Owners of CS3 or newer products will be offered an introductory price of $30/month for one year before having to pay the full $50/month. Pricing is slightly different for groups who need more cloud storage and students--education pricing is set at $20/month for all access. The subscription will allow you to run CC apps without an Internet connection, though Adobe will run checks to provide software updates. Offline use just means you won't get software updates or cloud service access. And if you really don't want to use Creative Cloud? CS6 licenses will still be available for sale, though Adobe will not continue to develop for it, aside from bug fixes and ensuring that it works on the next versions of Windows and Mac OS.

The more interesting announcement was that of Project Mighty and Napoleon, two pieces of prototype hardware that will eventually be real consumer products. Mighty is a pressure-sensitive stylus designed to work on the iPad in concert with Adobe iOS apps. Styli accessories for the iPad have traditionally not been great, due to the fact that the iPad uses a capacitive touchscreen and doesn't have native pressure detection. Mighty incorporates pressure sensitivity in its tip, relaying that information to the iPad (and Adobe's cloud servers) using Bluetooth. The video demonstration shows that it works, but still has a degree of latency and a soft touch that you wouldn't see on a Wacom (or even the Microsoft Surface Pro). Napoleon, on the other hand, is another bluetooth connected device that works as a ruler on the iPad. It projects digital guides onto the drawing app, allowing you to draft perfectly straight or curved lines using the Mighty.

Watch Adobe's promo video for Mighty and Napoleon below, which does a good job showing how these tools will work on the iPad.