ProTools 9 Release Date

So no doubt if you use ProTools you will have read of their recent developments i.e. new interfaces and a mixing plugin to make it all more analogue (?) sounding… To support all these new interfaces AVID have released ProTools 8.1 which hopefully also addresses some of the bugs in PT8, especially Quicktime playback issues that I know caused a few people to retrograde their ProTools systems….

I guess time will tell, but after reading a fair amount of speculation before the announcement of ProTools HD Native and ProTools 9 I kept thinking to myself; it seems a bit premature for ProTools 9.0. I’ve been using ProTools literally since version 1.0 and while I had never actually number crunched the development cycle, I instinctively knew it doesn’t happen often, and for good reason. Jumping a whole version number usually means major changes and new features, which of course also brings the potential for new bugs.. And such things take time…

But then I got to thinking: I am an investor in ProTools, not financially but in terms of time & creativity invested in the platform. Sure I could move to another app and translate my techniques, but when I add up the cumulative hours spent in ProTools over a 20 year period it is more than significant. So as an investor I decided I should know what the development cycle is for the program I rely on every day!

So thanks to google I made a spreadsheet with the dates of each major ProTools release since v1.0 and here is a PDF of it – it’s three pages long to keep the monthly timeline linear, but here is the last few years of releases, and speculation about the next release: ProTools 9.0 (Note the number beside the release is the number of months since the previous release)

PT Timeline

You’ll notice I did the same process for Photoshop and Ableton LIVE. I included Photoshop as I remember the same time i finished film school and started working with ProTools 1.0 (ProDeck and ProEdit as it was back then) I also did a night course in Photoshop and I distinctly remember it being Photoshop 1.0, so partly for nostalgia but also for the interest of comparing a mature application from another field I included it. Ableton LIVE is interesting as I staretd using it from v1.0 as well but noticed their development cycle was shorter than ProTools – new major versions were released almost once a year…

So what does all this prove? Nothing! It is just speculation on my part & shouldn’t be taken with a grain of salt. Of course there are any number of variables in the development cycle of an application. One of the most obvious is a major OS change eg Mac OS9 to OSX, and I seem to remember talk of Digidesign changing development platforms for ProTools at one stage, which must have added months of work just to stand still.

But within the margins of error history does tend to repeat itself, so if I do average the development cycle from v1.0 of each app up to their current major release we can at least get a ballpark feel for when to expect the next major release…

ProTools – average development cycle: 26.25 months
ProTools 9.0 release approximately February 2011

Photoshop – average development cycle: 20.17 months
Photoshop 13.0 release approximately December 2011

Ableton LIVE – average development cycle: 11.25months
Ableton LIVE 9.0 release approximately April 2010
4 months ago!? Where is it?

Update: @pulsetrain just reminded me Ableton formally announced they were holding back on new releases so they can squash all bugs in the current release – see this CDM post – an incredibly admirable stance to take!

Escape clause: Please note I am not a statistician, I am a sound designer

Update 2: Also not coincidentally, I have stayed on ProTools 7.4 on my work HD2 system as it is rock solid. And when you look at the release history of ProTools updates you can see why, just look at all the bug squishing thats gone on to get to 7.4 from 7.0

11/03/05 7.0
12/05/05 7.1 (for PCIe and Expansion|HD)
12/15/05 7.1cs1 (66846, 69250, 70503, 70505, 70988, 71038, 70435)
12/13/05 7.1cs2 (70503, 70505, 70393, 71223, 71110, 66846, 71297)
12/15/05 6.9.3r2 (XMON firmware update)
01/14/06 7.1cs3 (68289, 71130, 71131, 71296, 71408, 71697)
02/04/06 7.1cs4 (71869, 72143, 71701, 68784, 72493)
03/06/06 7.1cs5 (65203, 70901, 71998, 72085, 72725, 73149, 73160)
03/30/06 7.1cs6 (71235, 72531, 72677, 74487, 74761)
03/31/06 6.9.3cs4 (74487, 66747)
05/09/06 7.1cs7 (72604, 75784, 76525)
06/12/06 7.1cs8 (63172, 71269, 75405, 75888, 76222, 76766, 77280)
07/26/06 7.1cs9 (73176, 73463, 75844, 76555, 77061, 77164, 78032, 78034, 78042, 78430, 78524, 79230)
08/02/06 7.2 (Mixing, Video, Field Recorder, Dubber enhancements)
09/18/06 7.2.1 (Mac Pro compat)
09/26/06 7.2cs1 (80417, 81138, 80818, 81941, 81257, 82082)
10/18/06 7.1cs10 (80417, 81138, 71254)
10/26/06 7.2.1cs1 (76606, 82271, 81997, 82896, 82926
11/16/06 7.2.1cs2 (81478, 83338, 83900, 76606, 82271, 81997, 82896, 82926)
11/16/06 7.2cs2 (76606, 82397, 82271, 81997, 82926, 81478, 83338, 83900)
12/05/06 7.3
12/07/06 7.3cs1 (84814)
01/11/07 7.3.1 (85058, 85462, 85755, 85906, 84814, 83316)
02/12/07 7.3.1cs1 (86186, 85536, 85058, 85462, 85755, 85906, 84814, 85250, 83316)
03/09/07 7.3.1cs2 (87627, 87717, 86186, 85250, 85536, 85058, 85462, 85755, 85906, 84814, 83316)
06/01/07 7.3.1cs3 (85976, 90570, 90726, 85674, 92185, 93283, 93289, 90821, 91345)
07/25/07 7.3.1cs4 (90820, 92013, 93481, 94441, 94510)
10/02/07 7.3.1cs5 (82932, 88757, 94425, 97236, 97716)
11/07/07 7.4
11/30/07 7.4cs1 (99342, 99442)
12/20/07 7.4cs2 (94474, 99342, 99442, 99545, 99562, 99605, 100013, 100028, 100142, 100299, 100378, 100420, 100423)
01/28/08 7.3.1cs6 (87718, 99442, 99562, 85802)
02/15/08 7.4.1 (Leopard compatibility for 8-core Mac Pro computers, for those featuring “Harpertown” processors)
03/01/08 7.4cs3 (85802, 100847, 100795, 100794, 100661, 101047, 100657)
04/24/08 7.4cs4 (100604, 100502, 76712, 100497)
05/29/08 7.4.2pr (Pre-release added Leopard Compatibility)
06/04/08 7.4cs5 (Added: Expand to New Tracks by Time Code Only)
06/20/08 7.4.2 (Full release added Panther Compatibility)
07/01/08 7.3.1cs7 (100794, 100847, 100795)
08/20/08 7.4.2cs1 (102582, 100604, 100723, 100913, 100502, 76712, 100497, 100802)
08/29/08 7.4cs7 (100723, 100913, 104551, 100802, 101226)
11/12/08 7.4cs8 (106627, 100595, 105968)
11/12/08 7.4.2cs2 (104551, 106627, 105968)

I’m looking forward to ProTools 8.4 more than 9.0!

4 Responses to ProTools 9 Release Date

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Music of Sound » ProTools 9 Release Date -- Topsy.com

  2. mny says:

    well on the other hand : why should we always update? ok, I think, you have to keep up with industrie standarts, but I am always surprised how few new inventions these updates bring up.
    I have to admid that I don`t use Pro Tools but Logic 8 and Live 8, so I can only talk about these programs. I think I`m gonna make my next update when Logic 10 or Live 10 will come out =)

  3. Ray says:

    Hah, I’m running tests with multiple partitions with vanilla OS versions and ProTools, evaluating WTF is happening in relation to Quicktime playback in ProTools.
    The news is not looking good. I have a gradual degradation of quicktime picture handling in ProTools from v7.4 being good, to v8.0.4 on Snow Leopard being virtually unusable.

    I’ve downloaded but not tried out v8.1 yet but the best results I have with v8 ProTools is on v8.0.1.

    I find it amazing that version 8 has been such a bad release. Playing with the GUI has released a major can of worms. The video stuttering effects in leopard and snow leopard are heinous.

    AVID really has to up their game. Am seriously thinking of rolling back to v7.4 for general use apart from maintaining a partition of v8 for large region groups work. From a dialogue editing viewpoint we have gone backwards. They have acknowledged that they have problems with picture playback but say “it’s logged with Apple for a fix” heheh

  4. Rumorer says:

    New Pro Tools HD version release this November… drastic change, including software based TDM and more than 384 track count…

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