Adobe may not release a Universal version of Photoshop until mid-2007, company CEO Bruce Chizen told Forbes today.

"Creative Suite 3 will be introduced in the second quarter of 2007," he explained, promising "a lot of activity" around its launch.

Users can expect a new level of integration between Adobe's creative tools and the new ones it recently acquired with Macromedia.

"There will be a lot of integration between Macromedia products and [Adobe] products as part of those offerings. By the time we launch CS3, the value of the two companies will be clear," Chizen explained.

However, while tomorrow's world may offer a promise of integration, Mac-using creative professionals now face a 12-month wait until they can use a version of Photoshop that's built to work on an Intel-powered Mac. Apple expects all its Mac range - including pro-level Mac desktops to replace the PowerPC-based Power Mac G5 towers - to be available this year. Worse still, Adobe's 2007 Q2 date is only an announcement not a declared shipping date.

Though Photoshop does work using Apple's Rosetta emulation software, performance is noticeably slower according to Macworld tests.

Adobe engineer Scott Byer explains that some of the delay is due to the huge nature of the task. Unlike the PowerPC transition, the move can't be accomplished through a software update

Not only must Adobe completely redevelop certain critical areas of the underlying application software for the Intel processor, it must also recompile thousands of lines of code - and there's "no short-cuts", the company claimed.

"That leaves doing the work for real - taking the whole application over into Xcode and recompiling as a Universal Binary," he explained.

Byer congratulates Apple on the work it's doing to make Xcode an effective development environment, but said: "The truth is we don't yet have a shipping XCode in hand that handles a large application well."

As the developer sees it, the work required to create a Universal version of the now year-old CS2 combined with the fact that high-end Mac desktops aren't available yet would offer slim reward.

"It's far better to focus on making sure Photoshop CS3 is able to absolutely squeeze every ounce of power out of what I'm sure will be pretty spankin' Intel-based towers by that point than to do tons of work moving an old code base to new tools," he said.