Adobe's Creative Suite 5 launched today and offers dramatic advances in supporting creative editorial workflows, bringing together online review and approvals with the help of Acrobat.com as well as marketing analytics capabilities acquired from Omniture. These advances risk being overshadowed by the bigger drama resulting from Apple’s decision last week to ban developers from using rival programming tools like Flash for the iPhone 4. It’s too bad, because in CS5 Adobe compellingly pulls together its design tools to broadly support all mediums across all devices – with added workflow and analytics. Highlights of CS5 include:
- The arrival of data and analytics. The Omniture technologies have been integrated for online content and digital marketing measurement and optimization to capture, store and analyze information generated by web sites and other sources. This pushes Adobe to the head of the class in terms of helping marketers realize the full value of their digital assets.
- Online workflow as a natural extension from content creation. With CS5, Adobe provides integration with new Adobe CS Live online services that include: BrowserLab, CS Review, NetAverages, Acrobat.com, and Adobe Story. This addresses a core challenge of firms to manage creative output from creation to production, enabling collaboration between designers, marketers, and their clients. Or, as a tweet made during the live broadcast of the launch declared, "Adobe Story is a work-flow godsend!" Adobe CS Live online services are complimentary for a limited time but will go to a subscription model.
- Faster and easier Flash content creation. Just as Adobe introduces the Flash Catalyst, a design tool that enables designers to rapidly create expressive interfaces and interactive content without writing code, the carpet was pulled out from under them by Apple. Adobe had little time to adjust its message and demonstrated today just how easily it would be to create a Flash app that runs on the iPhone -- or any other mobile device, tablet, slate, television, or desktop. Adobe has deep ties to media companies and technology vendors that benefit from their Adobe alliance, so even with the rotten news from Apple, Adobe has lined up a host of partners that are enthusiastically embracing Flash and CS5, including the BBC, Conde Nast, Comcast, Cisco, Google, Intel, Toshiba, Qualcom, LG, Verizon, and many more. The wrangling over Flash will get fiercer as HTML5 becomes a standard and browser makers go head to head. But for the moment Flash's ubiquity lives on, and with CS5 it just got even easier for designers to create interactive content without reliance on developers.
- New premium versions with goodies for all design professionals. Upgraded products include CS5 Design Premium, which are the tools for expressing and publishing ideas in print, on the web, as interactive content and on mobile devices. CS5 Web Premium upgrade offers a major new release of its suite of software for Web designers and developers. And CS5 Production Premium includes enhancements to the tools for creating professional video, audio and interactive content that can be delivered online, on-air, and on device. Creatives will be drooling over the neat new tricks they can do and the time they can save with features like the new content aware filler in PhotoShop that can render a matching background based on the existing design, giving new potential to being "Photoshopped" out (or into) an image.
When Adobe released CS4 two years ago the software suite was a victim of the down economy as software upgrades were delayed. Pent-up demand and a compelling set of enhancements should drive better uptake this time around, especially with the tech recovery underway and forecasts that software spending will be up in 2010. But the scorn of Apple is weighing heavily in Adobe's own forecast, which last week stated the decision by Apple could harm its business. Despite the ongoing drama over Flash there's a lot to love in the new CS5, especially for creatives and marketers focused on developing and managing content across all types of media from conception to conversion. In this respect, Adobe stands alone.