It's been a couple weeks since Adobe released Adobe Creative Suite 6 and all-new Adobe Creative Cloud. Creative Suite 6 is a killer release with hundreds of new capabilities. Many Adobe customers are excited about it, but some still have questions, especially about Creative Cloud.
For this interview, I sat down with Mala Sharma, Vice President of Adobe Product Marketing, to get the inside scoop on what you can expect from CS6 and Creative Cloud, and to clarify several common misconceptions regarding Creative Cloud. This article is not intended to fully explain CS6 features and everything that Creative Cloud offers. In this interview, my goal is to provide answers to frequently asked questions.
Inspire: How will Creative Cloud benefit Adobe customers?
Sharma: We're in the middle of a transformation in how content is built and delivered. With the unprecedented shifts in the content landscape due to massive proliferation of devices, our customers are having to grapple with many questions: How do I build a website that looks great on a desktop, tablet device, and smartphone? How do I build apps for iOS and Google Play app stores, and how do I iterate rapidly? How do I syndicate my content to social networks? To address these customer needs, we realized we needed an offering that goes beyond what can be solved with our desktop tools. That is exactly what Creative Cloud is, and we believe it will help our customers go from idea to finished work more efficiently and with better results in this dramatically changing content landscape.
Inspire: Can customers upgrade their Creative Suite software like they used to, or do they have to become Creative Cloud members to access CS6?
Sharma: Customers can still upgrade and purchase Adobe CS6 just like they have in the past. An annual membership to Creative Cloud gives them access to so much more. Members get all the Adobe CS6 tools, our new HTML5 tools Adobe Edge and Adobe Muse, Adobe Touch Apps, the ability to sync and store content on Creative Cloud with 20GB of storage, and the ability to share content with colleagues and the community as well as integrated services to publish websites and mobile apps.
Inspire: So what are the benefits of becoming a member of Creative Cloud vs. purchasing CS6 the old-fashioned way?
Sharma: In my opinion, the most valuable benefit of Creative Cloud membership is that users get access to the latest and greatest innovation from Adobe as it becomes available for no extra cost. It could be a new service, a new product, or a new feature in an existing product. As we innovate, Creative Cloud members get the new stuff first.
The benefit is four-fold: Members get the world's best tools for the desktop or tablet devices; the ability to sync, store, and share content on creativecloud.com; the ability to publish those ideas as a website or a mobile app; and ongoing innovation from Adobe.
Inspire: Can members expect anything new in the near future?
Sharma: Absolutely. In the next three to four months, Creative Cloud members will have access to Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Edge along with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition (for publishing digital magazines and catalogs to the iPad) as well as Adobe PhoneGap Build for publishing native mobile apps.
Inspire: Do Creative Cloud members need to be connected to the Internet to use the products?
Sharma: No. Members need an Internet connection to download the desktop tools to their computer. They do not need to be online to use the products. Of course, an Internet connection is required at times to make sure their software is up-to-date and to verify their membership is active (paid for). And of course, they need to be online to collaborate and ensure the content on their desktop Creative Cloud folder and their online Creative Cloud storage is in sync. But otherwise, customers use our products just like they have in the past. The products run on their computer (not the Internet).
Inspire: What happens if I subscribe to Creative Cloud and create an amazing design using Adobe Illustrator CS6 and then cancel my membership. What happens to the file?
Sharma: If you saved your work to your computer, then your files will already be on your desktop, and you will have uninterrupted access to them.
Inspire: Do you think people will immediately embrace Creative Cloud and stop buying Adobe software the traditional way?
Sharma: The initial launch of Creative Cloud is the beginning of a journey, and as with every new offering, we expect that it will take the vast majority of our customers some time to embrace the offering as the definitive choice for them. Meanwhile, we need to prove that we will deliver a constant stream of innovation from which customers will benefit on an ongoing basis. So initially, we expect many customers will choose the familiar (the box). However, customers who immediately understand the value of Creative Cloud will become members and benefit from having access to Adobe products, services, features, and workflows as soon as they become available. I also expect Creative Cloud to attract a new set of customers, due to the low cost of entry.
Inspire: Speaking of cost, how much does a Creative Cloud membership cost?
Sharma: You can pay US$49.99 a month if you commit to the one-year plan. If you want to sign up for a month-to-month plan, it costs US$74.99 per month.
Inspire: What if I only need Adobe Photoshop CS6?
Sharma: We have a subscription offering for point products as well. You can get individual products like Photoshop CS6 or Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 for US$19.99 a month for an annual contract. Some of the point product subscriptions vary in price, and the best place to get that information is on Adobe.com.
Inspire: Are there any deals for people who have previously purchased Creative Suite products?
Sharma: Absolutely. We have a unique offer for our loyal customers. If you own and are a registered Creative Suite or point product user of a CS3, CS4, CS5, or CS5.5 version, you can become a member of Creative Cloud for US$29.99 a month for the first 12 months (with an annual membership).
Inspire: Are free trial downloads still available for Creative Suite products?
Sharma: Yes. You can download CS6 products from adobe.com/downloads, or you can sign up for a free Creative Cloud trial membership that includes 2GB of storage, sync capabilities, and access to 30-day trials of all the desktop tools.
As you can see, Mala Sharma is excited about Adobe Creative Cloud. We at Inspire Magazine are too. To learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud, visit the Creative Cloud product page. To learn more about what's new in CS6, visit the Creative Suite family product page.
Julie Campagna manages Adobe Inspire Magazine. She also contributes feature articles and produces video interviews and profiles for Adobe TV, the Adobe Developer Connection, and the Adobe Design Center. In her free time, Julie likes to produce mini-documentaries about her family, including her English bulldog, Daisy.