Adobe Systems's CEO Bruce Chizen announced that the company will deliver universal binaries of their flagship design and production products by the end of the second quarter of 2007, according to IDG News Service. This puts the damper on any remaining idea that a universal binary would be a no-cost upgrade for users of Photoshop, the Creative Suite bundle, or Acrobat.
Acrobat 8 will reportedly be universal when it ships in the third quarter of this year. The next version of Creative Suite - Adobe's bundle of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive, and other tools - will be universal when it ships in the first half of 2007.
While there was little doubt as to Adobe producing universal binaries for these products, the company chose not to offer a timetable until now, nor did it clarify whether a universal version would be a paid upgrade, although all bets were on money being involved.
The lack of Intel-native code produces slowdowns of 50 percent or more for processor-intensive tasks within Photoshop and other programs compared to the same tasks running natively on comparable systems. Reports indicate that the Rosetta on-the-fly translation system generally works well with Adobe programs, however.
Apple's most lucrative customers work in audio, video, and film production; online multimedia; and graphic design. Programs for these fields of endeavor have always taxed processors, and these users were the loudest voices (alongside the gaming community) in critiquing the previous lack of speed improvements in the PowerPC G5 line.
Apple has said that it will transition the entire Macintosh line to Intel-based chips by the end of 2006, and with Adobe on board for a second quarter 2007 universal Creative Suite release, it's likely that companies will start budgeting for upgrades.
While it's possible this news will further reduce the sales of Power Mac G5 desktops, it's hard to imagine that those who don't absolutely need computers would be purchasing them with Intel-based models not yet released. More likely, there will be a massive set of pent-up orders when the professional desktop model ships as pros will have a migration path for their most important software.