Adobe Introduces Creative Suite 5.5 with Subscription Plans and a Tablet SDK

Adobe just introduced version 5.5 of its Creative Suite – a bundle of software for creative professionals that, depending on the specific bundle, includes graphics and development-oriented tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver and video-focused programs like Premiere Pro, Audition and After Effects. This is the first time Adobe has released a major point release of its Creative Suite (CS) and while the company plans to continue to launch major versions of the suite every 24 months, it also no plans to release more point releases as warranted. The new versions the company is introducing today will, for the most part, add additional functionality to these tools that will make it easier for Adobe’s users to bring their content to mobile devices.

Subscription Editions

Another major change that Adobe is introducing with CS 5.5 is a subscription service. As Adobe notes, quite a few of its users only need access to specific products in the suite for specific projects. With the new Subscription Editions, Adobe will give these users the ability to lease access to specific products and editions of the Creative Suite on a month-by-month basis. Access to Photoshop, for example, will cost $35 per month, while the Design Premium suite will cost $95 per month and access to the Master Collection will cost $129 per month. In comparison, a new copy of Photoshop today costs $699 (though it’s worth noting that Adobe also offers various discounts for students and teachers).

One-year subscriptions will be available at a discount.

Touch SDK

Maybe the most interesting new feature is the new touch software development kit (SDK) for Photoshop. This new SDK allows developers to use Android, BlackBerry and iOS devices to connect directly to Photoshop. Adobe itself is launching three iPad apps for Photoshop: Color Lava for mixing colors and creating custom color swatches and themes, Eazel for creating paintings right on the iPad, and Adobe Nav for Photoshop, which allows users to select the Photoshop tools they want from an iPad interface and browse and zoom in on their image files.

These apps will be available in early May and cost between $1.99 and $4.99. The SDK is available now.