Adobe Announces CS5.5, Subscriptions, Photoshop SDK and Touch Apps

Creative Suite moving to yearly upgrades

The CS5.5 launch also ushers in a new upgrade schedule for Adobe, which has usually released new version of the Creative Suite every 18 months. Starting now, they will release a major upgrade every other year and a mid-cycle update in between. Upgrade pricing has not been released but I can’t imagine Adobe expects buyers to support paying the same prices yearly.

For a few years now I have always addressed the value of upgrades for the software I review. Software developers like Adobe have used upgrades as an important revenue stream, and the Creative Suite products are so mature now that it is surely harder to introduce new features every cycle that justify the upgrade price. Also, technology has changed in the age of web and mobile apps that get updates with every bug fix, or even get nightly builds. The “dot releases” that Adobe would push every few months or so don’t make as much sense anymore.

CS5.5 Subscription Edition

I think this might be the biggest Adobe news today: CS5.5 products are now available on a monthly subscription basis. This is a new paradigm that makes a lot of sense for large companies hiring temporary staff and contractors, creative professionals who need critical short-term access to a particular CS5.5 product, and users with old CS products that don’t qualify for upgrades.

CS5.5 suites and select applications can be purchased by subscription at, and users will always receive the most recent version of the software for download. The subscription service checks for valid access monthly, so an Internet connection is not required every time the software is in use. The applications will give a five-day grace period if the subscription can’t be validated.

All the CS5.5 suites and most major CS5.5 applications are now available by subscription:

CS5.5 Product Yearly Commitment
(per month, in US$)
(per month, in US$)
Master Collection 129 195
Design Premium 95 139
Web Premium 89 135
Production Premium 85 139
Design Standard 65 99
After Effects 49 75
Photoshop Extended 49 75
Premiere Pro 39 59
Flash Professional 35 49
InDesign 35 49
Photoshop 35 49
Illustrator 29 45
Dreamweaver 19 29


Adobe has thrown a lot of changes at us today—a significant update to the Creative Suite, an SDK, new applications, a discontinuation and a major change in the way creative professionals will buy vital equipment from now on. The good old days are going away, but the future looks good too. Stay tuned for my impressions of the new Creative Suite!