Updated June 18th, 2014 – We we’re hoping for a Lightroom 6 launch today along with the rest of the Creative Cloud apps but we got Lightroom 5.5 instead and a few updates to Lightroom Mobile. Lightroom 5.5 supports the new mobile features and new cameras so be sure to update your current copy if you’re running LR (it’s a free upgrade through the Help menu). We also now have Lightroom Mobile 1.1 which supports the iPhone now and has several improvements to the app (including the much welcomed custom sorting). Adobe also announced that their photography plan for the Creative Cloud (Photoshop + Lightroom) now has “permanent” $9.99/month pricing.
So when will Lightroom 6 be released? Well, I don’t see this as such a simple answer now with Adobe’s agressive push to switch as many users to Creative Cloud as possible. If the Creative Cloud photography bundle has mediocre sales, we will probably see the boxed version of Lightroom 6 released next summer, 2015. It the subscription plan meets or beats Adobe’s expectations, then we’re pretty confident that future Lightroom versions will be cloud-only, exclusive to paying members.
Updated June 5th, 2014 – With the surprising lack of the Lightroom 5.5 release candidate that we were all expecting to be released with the Camera Raw 8.5 from a few days ago, we have a strong suspicion that Lightroom 6 will be released at Adobe’s Creative Cloud relaunch/refresh launch event on June 16th. Lightroom has become an important part of CC and the popular Photoshop+Lightroom subscription plan. However, based on what we’ve heard from several sources close to Adobe, we have a strong feeling, to our disappointment, that Lightroom 6 will be subscription-only. So if this is true, no upgrade will be available to version 6 unless you decide to pay a monthly fee for it. Adobe’s betting big on subscriptions and investors seem to like it (as seen in the stock price the two years). The new Lightroom for iPad app is also for CC subscribers only so this is probably just a prelude of what’s to come. Lightoom’s competition has dwindled as it appears that their largest competitor to Lightroom, Aperture, won’t be releasing any new versions anytime soon.
Updated April 8th, 2014: Adobe just released Lightroom for iPad. But not surprisingly, it’s only available to those who are on the Creative Cloud subscription plan. So if you own Lightroom 5 but are not subscribed to one of Adobe’s Creative Cloud monthly plans, then you’re out of luck getting it. Could this be an indication that Lightroom 6 will be subscription only? We hope it doesn’t but it’s possible, only time will tell… stay tuned.
Here’s a quick look at Lightroom’s release date history:
- Lightroom 5.5 – Released on June 18, 2014 (this is the current version).
- Lightroom 5.0 – Released on June 10, 2013.
- Lightroom 5.0 beta – Was made available on April 15, 2013.
- Lightroom 4.0 – Released on March 5, 2012.
- Lightroom 3.0 – Released on March 23, 2010.
- Lightroom 2.0 – Released on July 29, 2008.
- Lightroom 1.0 – Released on February 19, 2007.
What happens if I just bought Lightroom 5 before LR6 was released?
Adobe has historically been pretty good at honoring customers with a free upgrade if fallen under their grace period. Just keep in mind that this does not apply to beta releases, only for orders made in the period between the official announcement date and shipping date (usually between 2-4 weeks). You can read more about the Adobe free upgrade policy.
What to we expect to see in Lightroom 6?
It’s too early to tell what’s coming for sure, but the most glaring feature missing from the latest version of Lightroom is the content-aware technology we’ve become accustomed in Photoshop CS6 and in Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud). We also hope that Lightoom will continue being available as a stand-alone perpetual product unlike what we saw happen to Creative Cloud with the entire shift to Creative Cloud.
What would you like to see in Lightroom 6? Leave your thoughts below.