Well, well, what have we here? It looks like OS X Lion wasn’t the only new thing on the Mac App Store. For the first time, Adobe has an app on the Mac App Store: Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Editor (a rather cumbersome name, don’t you think?). No longer relegated to the backwater of the Amazon Mac Software Downloads page that launched in May, Adobe has made it to the big leagues.
So what is this app from Adobe exactly? Well, as you might expect, it is Photoshop Elements, with a twist. Elements is already a scaled down version of the full Photoshop, and the Photoshop Elements 9 Editor is a slightly less featured version of the regular Photoshop Elements. Mainly, it loses the Elements Organizer, a tool for managing images, and instead relies on the user to organize their photos in iPhoto instead. In fact, Photoshop Elements 9 Editor is meant to be used in tandem with iPhoto, as a way provide more advanced photo editing features that are not available in iPhoto.
Tools like Spot Healing Brush with Content Aware Fill, group shot compositing, Photomerge Panorama, and Style Matching from one photo to another definitely go above and beyond what iPhoto can offer, and allow the budding photographer to get a taste of the power available to them in the full Photoshop. Indeed, Photoshop Elements may be all that most consumers need.
Priced at $79.99, which is $20 less than the retail version of Photoshop Elements, Adobe is making a wise strategic move, and testing the waters for the future. Will the Mac App Store help Adobe sell more copies of Photoshop Elements? The lower cost is an incentive to pick up Elements in the Mac App Store, and it is a consumer product with broader appeal than a heavyweight app like Photoshop. While we may someday see the whole Creative Suite on the Mac App Store, something like Elements is ideally suited for this initial foray.
In my view, the Mac App Store has already changed the way we think about buying software. Having taken the now familiar buying experience from the iOS App Store and translated it onto the Mac, Apple is just building strength upon strength. A heavy hitter like Adobe should be wondering, not whether they should have their apps on the store, but why didn’t they do it sooner.