Adobe released an update to their Creative Cloud features - but what's in it for professionals?

What did I learn with Adobe’s newest keynote introducing their new Creative Cloud features? They hate us. They think we’re fools. They just aren’t sure who their primary user is anymore. Adobe ran scared when the Australian Government took a look into the discrepancies of their pricing structure of digital products. After all, they were charging Australians $4,334 for Creative Suite 6 early last year, a total of $1,735 more than their American customers paid after currency conversion.

Adobe needed a strategy that made their products more accessible, both to build some brand loyalty and generate positive PR. But Adobe still needs money to operate. Wait, they want money, so they introduce subscription fees. Only $94.99 for the entire Creative Cloud suite – each month. For those without a calculator, that’s $1,139. So much cheaper than the $4,334 they were asking for an older version of the software! That’s good, right? Not really. That’s still $240 more expensive than their US customers again, who were paying around $899 for the same licence to Creative Cloud.

The non-professional user might think that it is a reasonable price for the full suite you receive. Then there’s the $10 per month plan that gives you access Photoshop and Lightroom. The latter is a great deal, but I’m still wanting more. As a professional paying for professional products, you expect that cash to go towards investing in a team of designers that push the envelope and introduce new features with each iteration.

Occasionally we see a new feature, claimed to be so incredible, you have to see it for it to be believed. These are rarely ever aimed at enhancing the professional user’s workflow. The last big deal Adobe made about a new feature was their anti-shake capabilities. There is no doubt the feature was popular amongst users, but I was left unimpressed when the real life examples emerged. Professional photographers will most likely find the feature uninspiring, favouring more effective manual techniques to enhance the image. Or better yet, not produce an image that suffers from camera shake at all. So those ‘wow’ moments became ‘sigh’ moments pretty quickly.

So while Adobe still aims to please the casual user, and us professionals wait around for features that will extend our work capabilities, let’s take a look at three things Adobe introduced at their newest Creative Cloud keynote that tell us their commitment to the professional user is dead:

1. They paired up with Microsoft who used the opportunity to give away an $800 Surface Pro to everyone in the room, and the updated Adobe apps are only available on iOS right now. Microsoft can’t sell these things and they must not think that the Adobe announcement is enough of an incentive to get one. I’m not sure if this is a negative reflection on Adobe for believing in Microsoft, or Microsoft thinking nothing can move those warehouses of Surface Pro devices.

2. The biggest features were very basic sharing capabilities. Maybe Adobe think they’re trying to tackle a Facebook and Sketch hybrid that just doesn’t exist? That’s where all the mothers and fathers are now anyway. Hey, while they’re tackling sharing in Facebook-land, maybe they can sign up some grandmothers who think Photoshop’s cropping tool is revolutionary.

3. Tracing is the new creating. Illustrator’s new ‘wow’ feature is the ability to transform a graphic into a high quality vector, quickly. That means editable content at the tap, slide or click of a finger. I’m sure Adobe calls this great, but again, professionals will see this as lazy.

How do you feel about Adobe’s road map now that the road has been travelled for some time? Do you feel like my thoughts above are accurate or are small gripes within a subscription system that enhances your creative outcomes?