About 4 months ago, Adobe officially announced the launch of its new Creative Cloud subscription service, which gives the company’s users the ability to pay one monthly fee for access to virtually all of the company’s professional tools. Since then, Adobe launched two minor updates for Creative Cloud, including the addition of Lightroom 4 in June and an update to the Collage tool in July. Today, however, the company is launching its first major feature update to Creative Cloud and is also announcing a few updates that are coming in September. The focus of today’s updates is on Edge, the company’s HTML5 tool for creating animated web content and Muse, Adobe’s website-building tool aimed at print designers.
Muse, for example, as Adobe’s senior marketing director Scott Morris told me earlier today, now offers support for Japanese and makes it easier to add contact forms to sites. As Adobe told me, adding forms is also part of a longer-term effort to bring more content management capabilities to Muse. Another new feature is the ability to add links to any type of file to a site, as well as a new import feature that makes it easier to add HTML5 animations from Edge to Muse.
Edge has now been updated to preview version 7. Starting with this update, Edge will be renamed to Edge Animate, a name that is meant to highlight the product’s core features. Almost new in this update are new resizable layout which can adapt to different screen sized, rulers and guides, shadow effects and enhanced text features. The Edge team also made a number of usability improvements to the app, including a number of new keyboard shortcuts and a redesigned properties panel.
Before the end of the month, Adobe will also update Illustrator 4 with a new file packaging tool.
In September, Adobe will add the Digital Publishing Suite Singe Edition to Creative Cloud and also launch a number of HTML5-focused updates, which will include the launch of the 1.0 version of Edge Animate, updates to Dreamweaver and “many more.”
To promote Creative Cloud and its HTML5 efforts, Adobe is also going on the road to provide tutorials and sneak peeks of its new HTML tools, technologies and services. This tour will start in San Francisco on September 24 and will also come to London, Tokyo and Sydney later this year. Registration for the San Francisco event is now open.
Creative Cloud, of course, marks an important shift for Adobe, which until now mostly focussed on selling licenses for its individual products. For $49.99/month with an annual contract (and $79.99 for those who don’t want to sign a long-term contract), users get unlimited access to tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Edge, Muse and Lightroom 4, as well as Adobe’s publishing services and online storage and syncing tools.
Users with existing licenses for a Creative Suite package can also upgrade to Creative Cloud for $29.99/month, but this introductory offer ends on August 31.
During our interview, Morris also stressed that the company will obviously continue to support users with licenses to its shrink-wrapped (or downloaded) products and will continue to offer bug fixes and security updates. Feature enhancements, like the new Illustrator file packaging tool, will remain exclusive for Creative Cloud subscribers and Creative Suite users won’t get access to these tools until the release of CS7 next year.
As far as Creative Cloud subscriber numbers go, Morris noted that he wasn’t in a position to release any new numbers yet, but he did stress that the company is “seeing great momentum” since the launch of the product. The company likely won’t release any new numbers until its next earnings report, however. In June, three weeks after the Creative Cloud subscriptions went online, Adobe reported that it had already attracted over 90,000 subscribers and that it was signing up 5,000 new subscribers every week.