Adobe software engineer explains why Photoshop for Intel-based Macs is taking so long

“By now you have probably figured out that we aren’t releasing Universal Binaries of our current application versions,” Adobe software engineer Scott Byer blogs over at “If you haven’t, all you need to know is pretty explicitly spelled out here. ‘But, c’mon,’ I hear people saying, ‘Steve said it was just a recompile!’ Or, ‘Back during the PowerPC transition, you guys released a patch!’ Well, this time is different. And I really wish it weren’t. But let me tell you how…”

Byer explains, “When that original PowerPC transition was done, Apple did something clever. Very clever.”

Find out why it going to be a lot of hard work for Adobe to make a native (Universal) version of Photoshop for Intel-based Macs here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Paul L.” for the heads up.]

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Related articles:
Adobe Creative Suite 3 with Intel-based Mac support could be ready this year – March 09, 2006
Adobe prefers (and promotes) Windows PCs over Macs – March 24, 2003


  1. I’ve been waiting for someone to point this out.

    While considerably smaller, the company I work for has a similar issue. We talk to devices, colorimeters and spectrophotometers, and we get our drivers from the device manufacturer. Needless to say, when I talk to device manufacturers and say, “Hey, do you have Intel drivers?” they say they haven’t even started on them.

    It’s not a huge deal now–most of our customers are pro graphics types who have PowerPC machines. I’ve only heard one request for an Intel version. I’m actually debating writing a little PowerPC background process to talk to PowerPC drivers and send the info back to the main app via a socket.

    Rosetta’s advantage is that it’s faster than the old 68K emulator. It’s disadvantage is that you can’t mix-and-match PowerPC and Intel code. As an entertaining aside, it’s interesting because Carbon has the data structures ready for this sort of transition (Universal ProcPtrs, or UPPs) but Cocoa does not…

  2. I believe Aperture was a wake up call to Adobe. Apple basically said “we can make products that atract photographers and digital retouchers, and if you want we can make a product to replace PhotoShop.” And if you still aren’t convinced, the system now contains some core editing features.

    Now that the Adobe/Macromedia merger is in the can, they can concentrate on their products again. But Adobe stands to lose a lot of customers if Macintosh users opt for an Apple program at a future point in time.

    The bottome line: Adobe needs to double their coding team, drink lots of coffe and get the job done sooner rather than later. I have been using PhotoShop since its inception, and even used an app created by the Knolls that shipped with Barney scanners back in the day. It was the precursor to what PhotoShop became. Now it is bloated and slow, unless you have what I have for a desktop. I feel bad for users that don’t have 3GB of RAM and a dual G5 tower.

  3. After reading thru the comments, especially the last one, the following thought ocurred to me.

    Has anybody considered that Adobe may have bought Macromedia to keep Apple from doing so? Outside of Flash, what did MM have that Adobe really had to have?

    Think about where iTunes came from. Just imagine what Apple might have done with XRes.

    Maybe Apple should buy Graphic Converter. Just imagine what Apple can do with GC.

    That’s about 70% (or more) of what PS can do, plus a few things PS can’t. More than a few times, it saved my bacon when PS couldn’t open a file.

  4. Dennis, Photoshop has always used Cmd-H for “hide,” not the app but selections, which is essential for seeing what you’re doing. Apple is the late-comer for that shortcut. No problem to click on the desktop to hide it, and if an image still there bothers you, click the yellow button to send it to the dock before clicking on the desktop.

  5. I’ve been using Graphics Converter for years. Outside of the lack of transparency and layors, GC has been a great alternative to Photoshop. I like it even better than MacGIMP.

    Photoshop had always been the ultimate test comparison for Apple. Remember the Megahertz myth? Photoshop always gave Apple the edge because it took advantage of the Mac’s Velocity engine. With the new Intel chips, both Adobe and Apple won’t have that any longer.

    This should be interesting. –Rudge

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