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Wednesday, February 01, 2006, 05:25 pm PT (08:25 pm ET)

Adobe may not deliver native Intel Mac support until 2007

Adobe Systems on Wednesday said it has no plans to re-release its current applications as Universal binaries that can run natively on both Intel- and PowerPC-based systems, and instead will focus on delivering native support for Intel Macs along with the next major versions of its software.

"This applies to Adobe Creative Suite 2, Studio 8, as well as individual applications, such as Photoshop CS2, InDesign CS2, Acrobat 7.0 Professional, Dreamweaver 8, Flash Professional 8, and After Effects 7.0," the San Jose, Calif.-based software developer said in a statement. "Instead, we are focused on delivering the next versions of these products as Universal applications that will run natively on the new Intel-based Mac computers."

Unfortunately for consumers and professionals alike, this news, which was first reported on Macintosh news site MacNN, means Creative Suite applications, including Adobe's flagship Photoshop software, will not run natively on Intel Macs until a future release of Creative Suite.

Citing a policy of not commenting on future ship dates, the company would only point to its track-record of releasing significant upgrades to its creative professional applications every 18-24 months. Adobe Creative Suite 2.0, the current version of its professional applications suite, was released in April of 2005. This means the first version of the suite to natively support Apple's Intel Macs could be as many as 14 months away. A native version of Flash, which was last updated in August of 2005, could be even further out.

In defending its position, Adobe said that adapting its software to shifts in operating system platforms and processors requires substantial testing because compatibility issues can span across the entire functionality of an application.

"As we've refined our software development process over the years, we've generally found that the most effective way for us to support these types of changes is to incorporate this testing into our regular development cycle," the company said. "This enables us to advance our technology at the aggressive pace that our customers expect, while also adding support for significant new system configurations."

Adobe maintains that its approach towards developing Universal versions of its software is no different than when it began updating its Mac OS 9-based applications to run on Mac OS X.

"In the first 18-24 months after Mac OS X (10.0.0) shipped, we re-engineered a dozen or more applications to run natively on Mac OS X as part of the natural release cycles of those products," the company said. "This disciplined approach allowed us to ship reliable, feature-rich releases on a new platform that served our customers well."

In the meantime, Adobe said Creative Suite 2, Studio 8, the components of these suites, and After Effects 7.0 should continue to run under Apple's Rosetta emulation environment with the exception of Version Cue Workspace (Server).

The company said it will continue to support its products as usual, but may be unable to address installation or compatibility issues that arise from running under Rosetta.

"Rosetta should offer most existing applications a basic compatibility with Intel-based Mac hardware, although customers may encounter performance, compatibility, and other issues," Adobe said. "However, Adobe is not extensively testing and certifying our applications to run under Rosetta." Instead, the company is focusing on moving its software development to Apple's Xcode development environment to support Universal versions of the next major releases.

On the other hand, the company said it will be able to quickly release an Universal Binary version of its new Lightroom professional photography software because the application is currently in its beta stages and does not require as much testing as release-quality software.

"Because this is a beta and not yet a certified, shipping product, we have more freedom to release it quickly without the exhaustive testing required of production software," Adobe said. "Customers are encouraged to experiment with this beta version as a preview of the performance they can expect from future Universal releases of Adobe products."