Multimedia software vendor Adobe will today announce major enhancements to its flagship multimedia graphics design product family, Creative Suite 4.0 (CS4).
CS4 will ship in October and will be Adobe's biggest software release to date, the vendor said.
The new release includes Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design, Web and Production Premium, along with Master Collection, 13 point products, 14 integrated technologies and seven services.
"Adobe has made some improvements that are worthy for both enterprises and individuals, but this has been a fast release," said Gartner research vice president Toby Bell.
"Moving from CS2 to CS3 was slower due to the need to integrate the acquired Macromedia packages into the mix."
Bell added that CS4 is a worthy extension that, besides giving a more consistent user interface, offers improvements in workflow across different products.
"There is better and easier control, with less time-wasting 'componentry' and richer resources in many of the applications, including PhotoShop, which is a lynchpin of the suite," he said.
Aside from feature enhancements, Adobe claimed that it had "significantly expanded access" to its online services.
"Adobe ConnectNow can be accessed from CS4 versions of InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Acrobat Pro," the company said.
ConnectNow allows real-time collaboration between two colleagues, although Adobe warned that high speed internet connections will be needed for efficient use of such services.
"If I look across the entire application set, I see a very strong product. I think they have skewed it, as they did in CS3, for different creative roles," said Bell.
"The biggest trick for Adobe is to angle a number of different applications a nd use cases towards the creative non-professionals, and try and stimulate a relationship between their SaaS offerings, allowing further penetration of the deeper, rich suite beyond the traditional creative professional and enterprise market.
"That is a tough trick but I think that making the graphical user interface more consistent allows that."
Adobe CS4 Design Premium, Web Premium, Production Premium and Master Collection will cost £1,249, £1,195, £1,409 and £1,969 respectively. Adobe Flash Player 10 is currently in beta, but available from Adobe Labs.
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