Adobe does hardware, updates Creative Cloud, releases free mobile apps

Adobe's Ink digital stylus and Slide digital ruler

Adobe has released its first ever hardware: the Ink digital stylus, and the Slide digital ruler.

The two gadgets are being sold together in the States for $US199

Adobe Asia-Pacific president Paul Robson tells NBR there should be NZ release later this year.

Ink and Slide are both Bluetooth-enabled and have their own memory that includes various pre-made elements such as Staedtler templates, French curves, pre-drawn shapes, trace packs, and stamp packs.

Mr Robson says the pen is a market leader in terms of pressure sensitivity for thickness and shading. The Wall Street Journal called Ink and Slide "a joy to use," but noted the new hardware is only really useful with Adobe's new iPad apps (below).

Mobile apps
Adobe also launched three new mobile apps for iPad: Adobe Sketch, Adobe Line, and Adobe Photoshop Mix. These new apps are professional-grade quality but easy enough for anyone to use, similar to the recently launched Lightroom mobile for photographers and Adobe’s new animated video app for storytelling, Adobe Voice, which were also updated with this release, the company says.

Creative Cloud gets 2014 refresh
The various programmes in Adobe's core product, Creative Cloud, has been given an extenstive spruce up.

The 2014 update includes updates to all 14 of Adobe's apps for Mac and Windows. The updated version of Photoshop CC, for example, has a new Blur Gallery of motion-blur effects, a new Focus Mask feature for making the depth of field shallower in portraits, and improved performance in the Mercury Graphics Engine.

Illustrator CC gets Live Shapes, which lets you presto-changeo a plain rectangle into a more complex shape and then back again, and everything will render faster on the Windows side thanks to GPU acceleration for your Nvidia graphics card. InDesign CC gets an EPUB Fixed Layout tool for more easily creating ebooks that work on multiple devices.

Dreamweaver, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Muse, After Effects, Flash, Edge Animate, Audition, SpeedGrade, and Prelude all got performance updates, new features, and more efficient workflows as well. Adobe rolls out updates to the different areas of Creative Cloud (digital imaging or video tools, for example) periodically, but for the launch of Ink and Slide, the company decided to refresh the entire suite at once. You can read more about the updates to each app at Adobe’s Creative Cloud site.

A year ago, Adobe scrapped its traditional software model and Creative Suite in favour of the Creative Cloud. The various programmes in the Creative Cloud lineup are still hosted on a person's local computer, but the company has moved to a software-a-service model with monthly pricing, and updates that are pushed are only distributed online. The Creative Cloud also includes online storage, and options for sharing files online.

The new model seems to be working for Adobe.

The company has just released quarterly revenue profit and earnings figures that beat analysts' expectations.

Traditional software sales, still the bulk of Adobe's revenue, dropped 26% to $US479.2 million. However the decline was more than offset by growth in subscription revenue, which climbed 88% to $US476.7 million for the three months to May 30.

The company ended the quarter with 2.3 million paid Creative Cloud subscribers, an increase of 25% from the end of the fiscal first quarter. Adobe also said its marketing cloud business revenue totaled $US283 million in the latest period, up 23% from a year earlier.

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