Adobe has a new public beta of Photoshop, and the Macworld Podcast has the first word on what to expect from this Intel-native version of the flagship image-editing application.

That’s right—the public beta of Photoshop CS3 is a Universal Binary, meaning it will run natively on PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs alike. That’s important because up until now, if you ran Photoshop on an Intel-based Mac, you had to do so using Apple’s Rosetta emulation technology. That caused a performance hit for this processor-intensive application. With an Intel-native version of Photoshop, users will begin to see the performance benefit of switching to Intel-based processors.

How much of a performance gain? To find out, I talked to contributing editor Ben Long, who’s had a chance to test the new software. (Ben will have a first look at Photoshop CS3, which we’ll post when the beta becomes available Friday.) I also talk with senior features editor Kelly Turner and senior reviews editor Jackie Dove about the whys and wherefores of this beta release.

Download Episode #61

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Show Notes

Back when the first Intel-based Macs appeared in January, we ran benchmarks to see how non-Universal apps performed under Rosetta. (You’ll find Photoshop-specific numbers on the second page of that 11-month-old article. Since then, updates to OS X 10.4 have bolstered the performance of applications running via Rosetta—we published those findings a month ago.

The Photoshop CS3 beta won’t be available until Friday, December 15, but when it is ready for download, you’ll find it at Adobe’s Web site.

Music Credits: “Basic‚” by Epicte the Elemental. Want to hear more of his music? Need a DJ in the Washington, D.C. area? E-mail him at epicte [at] gmail [dot] com.

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