Under Adobe's current one-version-back policy (introduced with CS6), yes, you will need to own CS6 in order to be eligible for CS7 at upgrade prices.
If you're currently on CS5 then you'll have to upgrade to CS6 before CS7 ships. If you're intending to leave it as late as possible (why?) then you'll have to be vigilant about when Adobe announces it.
Alternatively you can join the Creative Cloud and get all upgrades included in your membership for the same monthly fee.
No-one other than Adobe knows when CS7 will ship but there's plenty of speculation online.
Just found this post. That kinda sickens me. 2 versions back is a more respectable upgrade policy.
Before, I could drop $800USD over 2 versions back to get the latest version. Since CS usually came out every 18, that meant $22/month ($800 over 36 months) Now with the product cycle being every 24 months and forced owership per version, the monthy expense to have CS7 would be $33/month (a 50% increase in price!) FIFTY PERCENT!!! That's insane. I used to be a firm believer that Adobe respected its customers since it's the 800lb Gorilla with creative software, but this just SICKENS me.
On top of it, the only alternate solution is the Cloud, and since they don't offer any ala carte functionality, they only offer a $50/month plan (125% increase in price vs. $22/mo) for tons of programs I'd never even use.
If I were to just buy Web Premium CS7 when it comes out at it's MSRP, that's $1900USD. $1900!!!! That's 38 MONTHS of the $50/mo Adobe Cloud! LESS programs than the Cloud offers for MORE money!
What part of any of this makes sense?
Well your last example makes the case for why most new customers find the Creative Cloud more attractive than the traditional model, because you'll get several years worth of the latest versions (upgrades included) of more tools for the same price, plus the monthly payments are more affordable than a huge outlay upfront, and you have more flexibility to start and stop as desired.
For existing customers Adobe does offer a first-year upgrade discount on CCM but the comparison math is closer.
Finally, with the Cloud it's not quite "all or nothing," as they do also offer Single-App Memberships for $19.99 a month, which are "a la carte" like you mention for any individual application of your choice (like just Photoshop CS6/CS7).
When you're paying ~$25/month to upgrade every 2 versions, paying 100% more is not a "bargain". You're being given access to tons of programs you have no interest in. It's like buying 2 cars, when you live by yourself; wasteful.
Because of these new tighter 1-version back restrictions, and the insane price of $1900, or the forced upgrade prices from CS5 > CS6 > CS7, I have to highly evaluate whether I'm going to upgrade at all.
Yes, Adobe does offer "ala carte", but if you look at their price scale, the moment you buy more than 1 app, you screwed yourself over. This is not a true ala carte system that allows the user to pick and choose what they want and pay a respective price. These prices are exorbant. Espeically if Adobe prices ALL programs at $50/month, you would expect to use 5 of them, that $20-$30/month would be expected, but instead you'd be paying $100/month.
Adobe knows its customers rarely just use 1 of its tools. The current buying options with the CS tools is very wasteful with has poor selection options. I want PS, AI, DW, Acrobat and Edge Services. With the 2-version back and $800 per upgrade cost, I was in essence paying about $12/month.
To be on the latest versions at all times, I'm willing to pay 2x that to about $25 ($30 max) a month. But Adobe offers nothing close to that.
Thank you for responding to my inquiry. I guess I'm lucky because I only use the "plain and simple" Photoshop, no extension and no need for Cloud, howerever those in need of the extension version or the Cloud certainly have a major gripe with Adobe. The cost seems to me to be prohibitive. The Last time I did the upgrade to CS5 I jumped from CS3, which seemed fair enough, so now I did purchase CS6 in order to upgrade to CS7 when it becomes available. The way it is now if I keep the upgrade for 18 to 24 months it's only costing about $7 to $10 per month but that still does not "add up" as the cost should be less then that. Why did they not allow a jump any more, to skip one CS? I could join Cloud and get automatic updates but it's too high a cost for me to justify. I understand Adobe needs to make money but even at the Single-App Membership @ $20 a month = $240 for the year and I just purchased CS6 for $172. Why would I want a monthly Fee of more than $7?
Well opinions vary considerably on this subject... As mentioned previously, some perspective on cost may depend on whether a customer is brand new vs. has a previous version to upgrade from. Most new customers find CC to be an attractive deal compared to laying out $1000-$2000 upfront, plus upgrades... But even longtime users are making the jump now.
For instance, here are two tweets from yesterday:
Make it 3D @Makeit3d
"I joined Adobe’s @creativecloud yesterday. Amazing! just € 29.99/month (upgrade from my suite) to use all latest software! Worth checking out!"
"people complain that creative cloud costs a lot, but as a guy who uses photoshop+flash+illustrator on multiple computers, it's a steal."
In any event - to (truly) answer the original question at the top:
> When is CS7 due to come out?
No one can say for sure, but Adobe is definitely hinting major news on May 6th.
Let's do the math.
Previously, Adobe let you upgrade up to 2 versions back. Now, you can only be 1 version back.
Previously, Adobe came out with a CS version every 18 months. Now, a half version comes out every 12, and a whole version every 24.
I have Production Premium CS5. To upgrade to Web&Design Premium is $749. Assuming the same price is available for CS6>CS7 (and chances are, it will be MORE expensive), that means it would cost me $1500 to upgrade to Web&Design Premium CS7. Breaking that down...
PREVIOUSLY: $750 upgrade to CS7 every 2 versions over 36 months (2 versions worth of time) = $20.80/month cost of ownership.
NOW: $1500 upgrade to CS6 and then CS7 over 24 months (1 version worth of time) = $62.50/month cost of ownership. THIS IS A 300% INCREASE.
Adobe suggests Cloud Ownership, and foregoing their promotional pricing (like the cable company does), that product is $50/month which over a 24-month period is $1200. THAT IS A 240% INCREASE. A deal compared to the $1500 forced pricing, but still exponentially out of my price range.
With the pitiful ala-carte pricing (which yes, usually has a high single product cost, but as you add more, it is supposed to be adjusted to save you more money with each addition), those 7 programs in the Web & Design Premium CS7 would cost me $140/month using Cloud's ala carte. A 670% INCREASE.
So my options are to pay 240% more, 300% more or 670% more than what I'm currently paying. If other people out there can pay it, more power to them; but I simply cannot afford to do business with Adobe anymore.
There are many good points here on the outragous pricing on Creative Cloud. The more I think about it the more problems I keep thinking of.
To add to the points that others have brought up already.
1. I don't have more then one machine so support for more then one does me no good.
2. I generally prefer to buy plugins for my apps instead of updating the apps themselves. I bought lots of very helpful plug-ins for InDesign CS4 this last year which was a much better deal for me then buying CS5 since that version didn't include a single feature that I needed so why buy it?
3. Not only would I be paying for featuers that I don't need but Adobe's newest software is simply too buggy to rely on for serious work. As someone who upgraded to CS3 and CS4 the day they came out I realized afterwords that is would have been much better to just wait a year after they released the product before getting the update since that was when those products where stable enough to use. Creative Cloud uses backwards thinking, they think customers need software updates faster when it is actually the exact opposite. They need to take a little more time to make the products more stable. If you need to new feature you can buy a plug-in to get a new feature and still stay on an old version that is stable.
4. Just to repeat the important point that others have said they certainly need more of an option then one product product or all of them. If the pricing was something like $20 for one product and then $5 for each addional product the pricing might make more sense. I only really use about 4 apps.
5. I also use software by other companies as well so I makes sense, oftentimes, to put some of my money towards their products rather then Adobe products. Of course Adobe doesn't want to hear that but the reality is some of their products are just not as good as competitiors.
CC comes with:
Edge Tools & Services
Flash Builder Premium
(I BOLDED ones I'm personally interested in) At $50/month for THIS, it's more than reasonable that the items I'm intereted at could be sold for $25/month. Not only is it less than half of the items, but many of them are not major programs like Premier, After Effects, Audition, InDesign, etc.
I don't see why Adobe cannot create a true ala carte system with proper pricing that is respectively less than the $50/mo. price point.