Photoshop beta

Adobe Photoshop's new appearance

While in early beta stages, Adobe appears to be working on a new, darker interface for the next version of Photoshop that resembles Pixelmator. In addition to the new appearance (which in beta stage at least, offers an option to revert to the existing platinum appearance), Photoshop will feature new 3D tools, healing brush and red-eye reduction enhancements, and a perspective cropping tool. AppleInsider has more details and screenshots here.

Photoshop CS6A long-time complaint about the Creative Suite upgrades is the frequency with which the upgrades arrive (every 18 months for the last dozen years or so). I don’t agree with those complaints, but Adobe is doing their best to address the situation. The entire Creative Suite is now on an annual development cycle, with major upgrades occurring in even years, and minor updates in odd years. Creative Suite 5 was a major upgrade released in 2010, and CS 5.5 (a relatively minor update) in 2011. So you can expect another major upgrade about early-to-mid 2012 if they keep with the plan.

While this new schedule is actually more frequent, there is a good reason. Adobe plans to work on major updates for every other release, and use the in between release for fixes and features that can be quickly added to address changes in technology. In addition, Adobe plans to release the upgrades and updates mid-year annually, so we can better plan our purchases.

Adobe has also announced that all major languages will be released at once. This is huge for those outside of North America. In the past, various languages took weeks or even months to catch up.

And now the bad news

Adobe recently announced at their MAX Conference that a new upgrade policy will be in effect moving forward. Along with their Adobe Creative Cloud offering ($50 per month subscription plan for CS applications), users who wish to keep their normal license and upgrade to Creative Suite 6, must already own CS5 or CS5.5. That means users of previous versions will have to pay two upgrade fees in order to get CS6.

For customers who prefer to remain on the current licensing model, we will continue to offer our individual point products and Adobe Creative Suite editions as perpetual licenses. With regards to upgrades, we are changing our policy for perpetual license customers. In order to qualify for upgrade pricing when CS6 releases, customers will need to be on the latest version of our software (either CS5 or CS5.5 editions). If our customers are not yet on those versions, we’re offering a 20% discount through December 31, 2011 which will qualify them for upgrade pricing when we release CS6.

Yeah, that’s not going to go over well with many users!