Adobe on Mactel: an FAQ

We’ve posted an FAQ concerning Adobe’s plans to ship Intel-native (Universal) Mac applications. Highlights:

  • Yes, we are working on Universal versions of our tools. The FAQ includes a list of those being converted.
  • No, we don’t plan to update CS2/Studio 8 to be Universal. That means native support will come in a future version, which is some time off. (The FAQ cites an 18-24 month historical cycle for product updates. CS2 shipped in April 2005, Studio 8 in September.)
  • Yes, most of today’s applications will run in Rosetta (the emulation layer for PowerPC code running on Intel), though that’s not a configuration Adobe has tested extensively. The Version Cue server component won’t run on Rosetta.
  • The Lightroom beta, made available first on Mac, will be available in Universal form very soon.

It’s important to make a few things clear: We’re working really hard, together with Apple, to make this conversion. Apple staff are on site at Adobe every day and have been for quite some time, helping our teams make the required move to the Xcode development environment & taking our feedback on how to make Xcode support large projects like Photoshop.
Everyone–Mac users, Adobe, and Apple–wants to get Adobe apps running natively on Mactel as soon as possible, but doing so while maintaining their quality will take time. If we knew how to do this more quickly, we would do it.
I’d like to make one other point: in the first 18 months that Mac OS X was in the market (starting with the shipment of 10.0.0), Adobe released (by my recollection) 13 OS X-native applications. That averages out to better than one release every six weeks for a year and a half. Name another company that showed up for the game on that scale. Please bear that history in mind the next time someone on a user forum starts raising doubts about Adobe’s commitment to the Mac.

16 thoughts on “Adobe on Mactel: an FAQ

  1. I’m glad that Adobe is taking their time with this. Admittedly, that comes from the perspective of NOT owning a Mactel, but I think any serious users will wait on upgrading (their primary machines) until the apps they need have been ported over.
    The Mactel promises to be much faster (and certainly has the potential to be) than, especially, the G4 PowerBook. From what I’ve seen, however, that’s largely dependent on how well the software is written to take advantage of the dual core (as has always been the case with multiproc machines).
    I’m sure most users would much rather Adobe wait to release a solid product that performs well on the new chipset than make the switch only to find that, say, Photoshop is dog slow.

  2. This is great news, but really nothing that I wouldn’t have expected Adobe to do anyway. I don’t doubt Adobe’s Mac Support at all. What I’m happy to see is your spending your resources on getting the next version of Photoshop etc ready in UB form then wasting time on getting CS2 on it. If trying to get CS2 out in UB form – it would be out for 6-8 months then CS3 would be around the corner, but in doing so it would have delayed CS3. Keep up the great work!

  3. Thanks for the update.
    Keep up the great work. I can not tell you how much we love Lightroom. We can’t wait for what Adobemedia has coming up next.
    Porting to X-Code, whoa… That is great news! Perhaps support for core-image in CS 3? We can dream right. 🙂
    [MacTel, Adobemedia, who would have imagined.]

  4. I welcome the publishing of the F.A.Q and appreciate Adobe informing us of their roadmap.
    I can only echo the sentiments already posted.
    I would far rather Adobe ‘got it right’ than rushed out a UB of CS.
    Thank you for the information.

  5. John,
    Thanks for this entry. Its very reassuring that Adobe continues to work closely with Apple in getting solutions out to the two companies customers. I gave Photoshop CS2 a hard workout on a demo iMac Core Duo the other day and I am fine with the performance (hopefully it won’t break). I will be buying some MacIntels shortly and will be that much farther down the migration path when CS3 shows up. Unlike some other companies, Adobe has always supported Apple’s fast paced cutting-edge push in the Pro Apps market. Its hard and expensive for all of us to keep pace with Steve sometimes

  6. Your comments about transitioning to Xcode for the x86 support are very interesting. While I’ve been impressed with many aspects of Xcode and Cocoa frameworks, I’ve wondered if they would do a product like AE/PS justice.
    You may not be able to share, but how is that transition going? Are the Apple frameworks giving you what you need? PS has traditionally been one of the best-tuned Mac apps around (no more bakeoffs… =).
    I would imagine the Lightroom development gave you all a lot of Cocoa and Core x. experience.
    I agree with the others, taking the time to do it right is best.

  7. I just want to say, that porting something as big as CS2 (with presumably much optimized code) from CodeWarrior to XCode is not a trivial task.
    So at least I understand why you stick with your plan to release CS3 as UB. Nothing fishy here.
    By the way: Having used both CodeWarrior and XCode myself, I would be honored if I could be part of your software engineering team. So if you need another helping hand … 🙂

  8. Hi John
    What about the flash player? – it would be really sad waiting 18-24 months for a universal binary version.
    If at least firefox(not your headache, i know), safari (it does) and the flashplayer(please) runs natively on the mactel machine web developement is possible (for me).
    [Søren, according to Flash Player engineer Tinic Uro, the Player is already shipping natively on Mactel. You can read more details here: –J.]

  9. I secretly hoped Adobe would have UB versions sooner than 24 monthes after CS 2 introduction since as a non-american, I will have to wait along international customers for localized versions… wich bring us possibly 1 year and a half from now… 🙁 Although I inderstand Adobe are doing what they can, I heard Illustrator was rewritten in Mach-O and I am wondering if Adobe could have released SOME applications in UB before 18 monthes if they didn’t decided to go with this Creative Suite pack policy vs independant releases.
    Also, I imagine Apple didn’t wait for the Intel transition to pressure Adobe in transitioning to xCode beacuse of imminent major architecture changes.
    I would have thought Adobe began the transition earlier as hinted by some manager that made a statement when CS 2 was out, telling they were working on using CoreImage (thus using xCode?) but were too short to include that in CS2. So I think now Adobe has been working to go the xCode route at the very least since WWDC 2004…
    To make it short : as a soon-to-be MacBook Pro owner and current CS 2 customer, I am a bit saddened by the lengh of the wait…and hoped it ould have be otherwise.

  10. Stéphane, Apple has been sending developers hints for a long time-since before 2001 in fact-when they began pushing the Cocoa frameworks over Carbon. Some companies didn’t want to throw out their entire codebase, or retrain it’s staff.

  11. We were just talking about getting new Macs this morning. And we’re going with Quad G5s at this point (which means the next upgrade is likely at least 3 years away) mainly because of not knowing when Photoshop will be done.
    Not that I’m complaining about getting a Quad to replace my 867 G4. 🙂

  12. “working on using CoreImage (thus using xCode?)”
    I don’t think using XCode is a requirement to take advantage of CoreImage. Similarly, developers can use either Carbon or Cocoa with XCode.
    The issues in switching from CodeWarrior to XCode have to do with getting up to speed on a different environment, and differences in the compiler (each has its own extensions/bugs/quirks). In a small application this wouldn’t be so bad, but for Adobe the task is multiplied by the number of apps they sell.
    (Pre-CS, each app was on its own schedule, so we might have seen a universal binary of Photoshop first, followed by Illustrator, … With CS, however, everything is on the same schedule.)

  13. Jack,
    As a user of After Effects, and an owner of a Macbook, My main machine is a dual 2.5 G5 I have run AE tryout on XP via Bootcamp. The same comp ran almost 50% faster on the Macbook through XP.
    Now after seeing that I would be inclined to purchase a license to use AE on this and only this machine ( you could use the MAC address to lock it to a specific machine that would expire after a certain date) through XP til the UB version comes out. But I am not about to cough up $1000 for a full version.
    I have no desire to use XP on an ongoing basis ( I love the way OSX works)
    So why can’t Adobe put together a licensing program that would help out current customers? Make them happy and keep them? we just want to get our work done.
    The alternatives are using other programs and piracy. please don’t push us in that direction.
    Thanks for your understanding

  14. wondering what is the latest, nearly a year now,
    thinking of getting a macbook but…
    need those adobe apps.
    thanks if you know something
    e me if you like with any info
    [Yeah–no real update yet, other than “We’re working on it,” which you already knew. It’s a heck of a lot of work, but we *are* making good progress. I promise I’ll share more info if/when it’s available. –J.]

  15. I just got my MacIntel Pro. Funny, how the guy at the store didn’t even make me aware to the fact that this was going to be an issue. I even told him I was a Graphic Designer! He was planning on selling me the 1000$ software pkg too!! I’m pretty pleased with how all the programs are running so far, particularly photoshop and GoLive. (Through the rosetta of course).
    The only real problems I’ve had have been with Illustrator when applying effects, 3D modes, and symbols. Gradients are fine.
    Photoshop has run great though! I’m glad to hear the team is on top of things. Now, I’m just trying to figure out what to do about Illustrator until then!!!

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