Intel Mac Photoshop Users Face Long Wait

Intel Mac Photoshop Users Face Long WaitFrappuccino-supping designers desperate to run Adobe’s high-end Photoshop graphics suite on their shiny new Intel-powered Mac computers are going to be in for a long wait, according to Adobe engineer Scott Byer.

Writing in a company blog, Byer said that the costs of updating the latest version to run on Intel-powered Mac computers would prove too high, adding, “There’s no limited-cost option for getting most of the performance available on the platform for Photoshop in a short amount of time.”

Byer went on to say that that building a ‘universal binary’ version of Photoshop for OS X on Intel would be “no small task” because Apple’s XCode development tool wasn’t up to the job.

“Apple is doing an amazing job at catching up rapidly, but the truth is we don’t yet have a shipping XCode in hand that handles a large application well,” he said.

Intel Mac Photoshop Users Face Long WaitApple’s switch from PowerPC to Intel chips has forced software vendors to rewrite their code to accommodate the different architecture as the chips don’t share the same ‘language.’

To bridge the gap, Apple created the Rosetta technology to translate PowerPC instructions into Intel code, but this interpreter can heavily impact on calculation speeds, with Vnunet claiming that tests running Photoshop on the new Intel Macs have shown the program running at only half the speed of a previous generation PowerPC machine.

With the graphic design sector making up a large chunk of Apple’s user base, the absence of a fully optimised version of the numero uno design application may prove a barrier to professional users switching to Intel Macs.

Intel Mac Photoshop Users Face Long WaitCurrently, only Apple’s iMac, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini machines are powered by Intel chips, with the iBook and PowerMac machines still using IBM PowerPC chips.

With the current version of Photoshop CS2 being released last April, Intel Macheads may be in for a long wait for CS3, with Adobe’s usual timetable suggesting a projected release date some nine months away.

Finishing on a high note, Byer commented, that it would be “far better to focus on making sure Photoshop CS3 is able to absolutely squeeze every ounce of power out of what I’m sure will be pretty spankin’ Intel-based towers by that point than to do tons of work moving an old code base to new tools”

Scott Byer’s blog