The Apple/Adobe relationship has been a tad strained lately. Apple has been less than helpful with providing Adobe necessary information for their development process, and Adobe has taken the stance of ignorance in regards to porting their apps from Carbon to Cocoa.
Yesterday, Adobe’s John Nack wrote that the next version of Photoshop (CS4) would support 64-bit computing, but only on Windows. CS4 on OS X would stay 32-bit.
So why is this a big deal? For a majority of Photoshop users, this just plain will not matter or affect them. But for the Photoshop power-users (who are largely on the Mac platform), 64-bit computing would make a difference to them.
64-bit computing basically allows the application to process huge amounts of memory faster. Ultimately reducing processing time and creating a faster workflow. Nack gives an example.
For example, opening a 3.75 gigapixel image on a 4-core machine with 32GB RAM is about 10× faster.
I can’t say I know many people with a 4-core machine and 32GB of RAM…but the example still stands.
On the other hand, Gruber makes another great point.
Keep in mind that a Canon 1Ds Mark III — which sells at Amazon for $8,000 — generates 21 megapixel images. 3.75 gigapixels is 3,750 megapixels. You probably don’t have images like that.
I feel like a lot of the hoopla surrounding this is more of a principle issue than a real business or technology issue for a lot of people. I can’t imagine the backlash that has come from this is really felt by so many people.
The idea that Photoshop CS4 will run faster on a 64-bit version of Windows Vista makes people more upset than the reality of it. You have to remember that the average copy of Windows Vista is only 32-bit capable. You have to purchase a separate version of Vista to have 64-bit capabilities.
Ultimately I think Photoshop CS4′s 64-bit capabilities just won’t be a big deal. Such a small, concentrated number of Vista users will be using it that I think it will just be forgotten until CS5 with Photoshop supports 64-bit editing on both OSX and Windows.