And So It Begins... Elements 4 Windows Only

by Derrick Story

We had been hearing the rumors for some time that Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 would be Windows only. This week we learned those rumors were true.

I can't speak for Adobe or anyone else, but my guess is that Apple's homegrown products, such as iPhoto 5, don't set very well with Adobe strategists -- something like, "too many similar products in an already small market." That thinking does resonate with the business side of my mind... to a degree.

But I'd like to point out a few things that favor releasing Elements 4 for the Mac. First, there really isn't a product like it on the platform. iPhoto 5 is not Elements. They do different things. I recommend iPhoto 5 and an image editor. Elements has been a powerful, affordable option to fill that need.

Second, the Mac platform is a haven for digital photographers and visual artists. It's an easy entry point that allows folks to stretch as far as they want. When you think about getting serious, you think about Photoshop CS2. Having a current version of Elements for the platform provides a natural upgrade path for these types of customers.

Finally, there's an uneasy feeling in the Mac community that Adobe and Apple aren't getting along as well as we'd like them too. No Elements 4 certainly doesn't help with this uncertainty.

On the bright side, there's a big opportunity here for someone to step in and provide us with a powerful image editor for less than $100. Or maybe it's already here?

Your thoughts on any of this...


2005-09-29 07:51:09
Image I
2005-09-29 07:56:36
Image Editor
Sorry, must have hit a wrong key.

I'm not a digital photographer (although I'd like to be), but I do some image manipulation for Websites and presentations. I've found that The Gimp works well for me, especially the Mac version, but I'm curious if other Mac users find it useful, or even usable, or is it even a suitable substitute for Elements.

2005-09-29 08:12:10
Apple Photo Pro?
I wonder if this is another roadsign along the way which suggests that Apple might be readying a new app to play the Final Cut Pro role alongside iPhoto.

Maybe I just want that to be true!

2005-09-29 08:28:13
RE: Image Editor
I think The Gimp has some real strengths. The gap, as I see it, is at the "emerging hobbyist" level. This person realizes that an image editor is necessary, but doesn't have much experience with them. This is where Elements 3 had done well for so long. To have Adobe suggest that Mac users just stick with version 3 from now on... seems a bit silly. Unfortunately, The Gimp might be just a tad too sophisticated for this crowd. But I too am curious as to what others think.
2005-09-29 08:37:13
Image Editor
once you get used to it gimp works just fine.
it does everything and then some more.

i use photoshop everyday, at work and at home, for some editing of my work (i'm a photojournalist) and i tried the gimp on the linux side of the fence, on my dual-boot powerbook.
after that i installed it on the macosx partition. i rarely use it because i'm just too used to photoshop.

anyway, i was able to do the same things. it took a lot longer (once you get used to the shortcuts it can take a bit longer to do stuff you do everyday on a different app) but the result was the same.

please keep in mind that i don't use a big part of photoshop's amazing possibilities but, for my kind of work, i would be able to get everything done with the gimp. i've heard nothing but praise about this program.

2005-09-29 08:39:21
Adobe PE 4 windows only?
Derrick, do you have a press release to this effect?

Up on Photoshop Elements User
they state that Adobe has told them they are working on a version 4 for Mac. I'm hoping they are right and you are wrong. :)


2005-09-29 08:41:33
Mac version "soon"
If this is reliable... ; I seem to recall (perhaps incorrectly) that Elements 3 was also Windows-first?
2005-09-29 08:42:41
RE: Image Editor
My feeling about Gimp (as a serious photographer) is that it's not suitable for high-end use, and it's too difficult and complicated for novices. Worst of both worlds.

That said, it's worth noting this post on Adobe Blogs, that says that Elements for Mac is still in development, for whatever that's worth:

While I'd love to see a "Pro" level image editing app from Apple, I also think it would take them quite a long time to even match what I need from Photoshop. In addition, the most important part of Photoshop now is Camera Raw; I can't even imagine leaving that behind.

2005-09-29 09:01:51
"Mac Version Coming Soon..."
Yes, I've seen the post on DPReview (a site that I like and respect) and other places. But I haven't heard anything directly about a Mac version.

The difference with Elements 3 coming out first on Windows was that we knew the Mac version would be coming along. That isn't the case this time. I would love to be wrong about this (and very well may be). At this point I don't have any solid information to think otherwise.

2005-09-29 09:04:30
A different take
I think people are missing the obvious - time will tell. When Steve Jobs announced the transition to Intel, he kept talking about fat/universal binaries and how all this software will continue to be developed, both for PPC- and Intel-based Macs. For some reason people haven't questioned this at all. But I figured large third-party developers will start dropping PPC support as quickly as they can get away with it.

I expect to see Elements 4 for Mac, and I won't be surprised if it only runs on Intel-based Macs. Don't forget that Adobe has been lobbying Apple to make this change for quite a while.

2005-09-29 09:18:30
RE: A different take
I think this is a really good point. And if I were to engage in crystal ball gazing, which I try to avoid, I would say this is a possibility.

But, consider this... how many customers are you going to have in the beginning for a Mac/Intel-only version of Elements 4? Talk about slicing a thin piece of the pie.

2005-09-29 09:23:40
Here's what Adobe's John Nack has to say about this
I'm not sure what he's saying but it seems to be a reassurance without wanting to be tied down to a commitment. "That said, Elements Mac development continues...." I'm not certain what that means exactly. You can read it for yourselves here and draw your conclusions (or not).
2005-09-29 09:26:30
A different take
I'm sorry, but that argument doesn't make any sense. Adobe would develop a Mac/Intel version of Elements by recompiling the Mac/PPC version, not by porting the Windows/Intel version. (The processor architecture is a tiny issue compared to the operating system APIs.)

So if Adobe were to do as you said, 99% of the work would be in implementing the PE4 feature set in the Mac source base, 1% would be in getting that to build and run on a Mac/Intel machine. Thus it would be obvious for them to release the Mac/PPC version to the installed base of users and then release the Intel version when the CPUs that support it are released.

2005-09-29 09:32:22
Image Editor
Seashore is an open-source app that wraps the internals of the Gimp in a Cocoa UI. I haven't tried it myself, but I've gotta believe it would be nicer to use:

2005-09-29 11:11:53
Already a good $100 editor
Surprise it's called Elements 3. I'd say someone would have to work hard to compete with that product. There are probably as many Elements 2 users as 3 and most of the Elements buyers won't know whether they are getting or needing 3 or 4.

In other words, I don't get your point. If it's that Windows has 95% of the market and Apple 5% and that Adobe is smart enough to service the 95% first, then I get your point, otherwise I don't!

2005-09-29 11:15:37
My thoughts are that you should do some minimal research before reporting erroneous information. Elements 4 is coming out for the Mac jsut a little ater than the Widnows version. My guess is that they are doing a dual PPC/Intel binary.
2005-09-29 11:27:47
Re: Wrong
Now mind your manners please.

There's no official word from Adobe (as of this morning) about Elements 4 for the Mac. There have been some rumblings behind the scenes in the last 36 hours, but those are either rumors or under NDA discussions. And yes, I've read John Nack's weblog... that is not official by any means.

2005-09-29 11:38:34
RE: A different take
And if Adobe is going to port it with Core Image integrate. It would take more time to redesignthe old one. Steve said that it would be crazy to see Photoshop port to Core Image at one of is keynote
2005-09-29 11:50:37
Microsoft's Expression family
While Apple may not be on the best of terms with Adobe these days due to creating and marketing 'like' products, Microsoft has not been shy about their intentions to dominate the creative market. Microsoft's Expression family, including Acrylic, will be targeted at Adobe's current graphics line and some of the technologies they are acquiring from Macromedia (e.g. Flash.)

While we Mac people might not like it, it makes business sense for Adobe to service 95% of the market ASAP, while wrapping up development and testing on the Mac version.

Without knowing where Apple is going with iPhoto, perhaps Adobe should consider a bundling deal with Apple to include Elements as the default image editor on consumer Macs? A win-win for all.

2005-09-29 12:24:34
Elements 4 for Mac in development
According to Macworld...

2005-09-29 12:28:26
Between Windows with Avalon/XAML and whatever else they've got going, and Apple with CoreImage and all its associated goodness, Adobe had better get with the times. If they drop Elements for the Mac, (a huge "if" IMO) they are shooting themselves in the foot, as a buttery smooth, CoreImage-based image editor would appear quicker than you can say Adobe Premiere.
2005-09-29 13:39:50
RE: Elements 4 for Mac in development
C'mon guys, don't you know damage control when you smell it?

Here's the final line from the Macworld article: "Adobe would not say when the Mac version would ship or what new features the product will have."

Now from what I've heard, which again could be wrong, there isn't even a version for their beta testers yet. In fact, up until just a day ago, Adobe's official word to those of us in the business was: No Elements 4 for the Mac.

Finally, there is no named source for the Macworld article.

2005-09-29 14:30:39
Photoshop's Origins
Dunno how many remember, but Photoshop started as a friendly, cheap alternative to Letraset ColorStudio. It didn't do as much, but the price was right and the features were what most customers needed most of the time.

I see Adobe leaving themselves open to exactly this sort of change lately in several of their segments. If GIMP had a real user interface, or someone else came along and leveraged CoreImage and friends with a package that really addressed customer needs, now that Adobe is the "big unresponsive behemoth" I think they'd be vulnerable to it.

2005-09-29 15:39:21
RE: Photoshop's Origins
To me, this is the real point of this story. It's not whether or not we eventually have Elements 4 for the Mac. (We've gone from official "no" to lots of backpedaling.) It's more about Adobe providing great software in a timely fashion that taps the power of Mac OS X.

Simple apps such as Image Tricks show us the imaging power built into Tiger. There's a great opportunity on the Mac platform just waiting for someone to seize.

joseph p.muscara
2005-09-30 05:15:43
I'm not affiliated with the company, just a happy customer! Take a look at iMaginator from Stone, a long time NeXT/Mac OS X developer at It's based on Core Image, and can do most anything, esp. if you combine it with their other "big" app, Create. It does work differently than Photoshop, but there are a lot of tutorials, many done by users, that will get you going. Stone is very responsive to user input, and best of all, has a Free Upgrades for Life policy. So once you buy this $49 app, every new version is a free upgrade! Much better than paying Adobe every year or so.
2005-09-30 09:42:53
95%-5% Bull
Can we stop this 95% - 5% thing as if it applies to this market. I walked into the bank today, and saw about 100 PCs running Windows. How many of those will be even thinking about installing Elements - exactly 0.

When we consider the numbers, we must consider what percent of the actual target market that the Mac holds of all the computers that Elements might be installed on. This would be a hell of lot higher than 5 percent.

Remove all hospital computers, bank computers, (non-design) business computers from the equation and the numbers are likely to even up. This is where market share is a bit of a myth for the home market. In the home market, the Mac certainly holds more like a 20 - 30% share. I don't know of many businesses that can afford to ignore such a segment especially when that particular segment is more likely to use such a product anyway.

2005-10-02 03:06:18
RE: Image Editor
I am a graphic designer and use Photoshop in many different ways. I have tried Gimp a few times and would mostly agree with freelancer "not suitable for high-end use, and it's too difficult and complicated for novices. Worst of both worlds.". Yet as mentioned before and sujested in the quote, Gimp's big problem is in being hard to use.

Most professionals are working in companies that "buy" software. The Open Source model is strange to them and they set the pattern for what is used; Hard to break with this.


2005-10-02 12:24:19
Elements vs. GIMPSHOP
Do a google search and download Gimpshop. You won't be sorry. Just make sure that you have X11 installed from your Tiger install disk. Gimpshop is an open source Photoshop with a user interface that works just like Photoshop........and it's FREE!!!!!!!