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Adobe Unveils Creative Suite 5

Adobe has officially taken the wraps off Adobe Creative Suite 5, it’s latest bundle of pro-level creative and design applications aimed at print, video, and online content creators and marketers. The complete suite includes a enormous bundle of software, including some fourteen applications—including a brand new Web design application and four new online services, plus a bundle of supporting applications and utilities. As much as Adobe might be known for its image editing application Photoshop, Adobe Creative suit bundles really are the company’s bread and butter, combining tools to generate, edit, and produce print, video, and online content. And the price tags are set to match, with the fully-packed version of Adobe Creative Suite 5 pegged at $2,599—although other editions start at a mere $1,299, with upgrade pricing as low as $499.

“While Creative Suite 5 continues Adobe’s storied history of delivering astonishing new creative features, this release first and foremost addresses the challenges facing publishers and creatives worldwide—how to build profitable businesses around digital content,” said Adobe president and CEO Shantanu Narayen, in a statement. “By coupling sophisticated online business analytics with dazzling creative tools, we’re ensuring that publishers, designers and marketers can create, deliver, and optimize beautiful, high-impact digital experiences across media and devices.”

One of the key features of Adobe CS5 is integration with Adobe CS Live, a new suite of online services that include Web conferencing, online analytics (so users can know who clicked what in their efforts), a BrowserLab tool to check cross-browser prestnation, and Adobe Story, an collaborative online script-writing tool. Adobe CS Live services will be complimentary “for a limited time”…which means Adobe plans to start charging for them down the road.

New versions of Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects are now 64-bit native applications for Mac and Windows, and feature Adobe’s Mercury Playback Engine that taps into GPU acceleration on Nvidia graphics controllers. Adobe’s Dreamweaver Web authoring tool can now tap into CMS systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, and Photoshop is picking up a bundle of new features, including a new Content-Aware Fill feature that enables users to produce masks more quickly and swap out image elements with remarkable speed and accuracy.

One new feature in Adobe Flash CS5 has already hit a stumbling block: Flash’s new ability to export projects as iPhone applications has run afoul of Apple’s new iPhone SDK licensing terms. Adobe’s official response so far has been “We intend to still deliver this capability in CS5 and it is up to Apple whether they choose to allow or disallow applications as their rules shift over time.” Adobe’s unofficial response: “Go screw yourself Apple.

Adobe plans to start shipping Adobe CS5 in 30 days in no fewer than five editions. The Design Standard Edition (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat 9) will run $1,299, while the Design Premium edition will run $1,899 and throw in Photoshop Extended, Acrobat 9 Pro, Flash Catalyst, Flash Pro, Dreamweaver and Fireworks. The Web Premium edition is like Design Premium, but drops InDesign for Flash Builder 4 and Contribute for $1,799. The Production Premium edition adds Premiere Pro, After Effects, Soundbooth, OnLocation, and Encore for $1,699, while the Master Collection throws in everything and the kitchen sink—except Photoshop Standard, because that would be redundant—for $2,599. Upgrade pricing is available, and individual will be on sale separately: for instance, Photoshop Standard can be bought on its own for $699.