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Adobe Creative Suite 3.0 due in first quarter of 2007

Exclusive: Adobe Systems plans to introduce its much-anticipated Creative Suite 3.0 software bundle towards the end of the first quarter of 2007, AppleInsider has learned.

People familiar with the software maker's plans say the suite is currently tracking for a release towards the end of March, ahead of the 2007 Photoshop World conference scheduled for April 4-6 at the John B. Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Mass.

The rumblings are contrary to comments from Adobe chief executive Bruce Chizen, who in a March 2006 interview with Forbes magazine said the San Jose-based company would not launch the next generation suite until the second quarter of 2007.

Mixing the best of both worlds

Code-named Banana Split, Creative Suite 3.0 will offer the first versions of popular applications like Photoshop and Illustrator that will run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macintosh systems from Apple Computer.

It will also mark the first formal integration of products Adobe acquired from rival Macromedia in its $3.4 billion acquisition of the company last year.

Image Ready booted for Fireworks

According to those people familiar with Adobe's plans, Macromedia's Dreamweaver will replace Adobe's GoLive as the suite's primary web development tool.

Similarly, those same people say that Adobe ImageReady, which has been packaged side-by-side with Photoshop since version 2.0, will get the boot in favor of Macromedia's Fireworks bitmap and vector image editor.

Multiple package bundles on tap

Company documents shown to AppleInsider also suggest that Adobe will market several different Creative Suite 3.0 bundles, each of which will include a different assortment of creative applications.

The current version of Adobe Creative Suite, version 2.3, is available in just two bundles: Standard and Premium.

CS3 adoption rate looks promising

In a recent poll conducted during the September Photoshop World conference, 87 percent of graphics professionals said there is a greater than 50 percent likelihood they will purchase Creative Suite 3.0 within 12 months of release.

The 2006 conference, which attracted approximately 3,000 attendees, was the largest yet in its history.