Adobe has said it will do upcoming OS upgrades for CS6 in the near (foreseeable) future...OS X 10.9 is due soon and Windows 8 Blue as well. So, after 10.9 & 8.Blue I don't expect a lot of major OS gyration for a while. (I really hope this is true)
In the past, Mac has had some hard tech lines drawn in the sand...the switch from OS 9 to OS X was a line that made old software obsolete. When Apple switch from PPC to Intel cpus, there was another hard line–although it was several years–OS X 10.4, 10.5 and 10.6 before PPC code was finally dropped in 10.7. 10.8 drew another line when it stopped supporting non-64bit cpu.
I don't see Apple making those kind of massive changes (although I could be wrong) so I see Photoshop CS6 to be able to be run for years to come. How many years? I don't know...but +3 for sure, prolly +4, maybe 5+. Possibly longer but that's in Apple's hands.
For Windows, MSFT is far more reluctant to drop backwards compatibility because, well MSFT is far more conservative than Apple. CS6 will still run with Win XP SP3 and above. No problems running in Win 7/8 and if there is an issue with 8.Blue, I think Adobe will honor their promise and do a update for compatibility. After that, I see +4 - +5 years easy.
For Lightroom it's slightly different. LR4 dropped Win XP support. LR5 is dropping OS X 10.6.x support. But I do think there will be a LR6 that retains a perpetual option (no promises but that's my guess–with cloud functionality that might be interesting and compelling but not required). I see LR as a hybrid tweener
app that will cross the perpetual/subscription model. I
But, I think LR5 will run for years +3 on Mac easy, more likely +4, +5. On Windows, +4 easy, prolly far more. The code base is more modern than Photoshop so there wasn't a lot of old cruft left in when developed. That makes it easier to maintain the code base and requires much less backwards compatibility issues.
So, I think LR5 (I would suggest getting the LR5 upgrade for the features and to extend the useful life) and Photoshop CS6 are good for multiple years with a slight edge to MSFT because they care more about backwards compatibility. But I would NOT jump from Mac>Win or Win>Mac because of Photoshop CS6 or LR5.
While Adobe was prepared for pushback because of the killing of CS7 and going subscription only for the former suite apps, I'm not sure they were prepared for the volume and viciousness–particularly for the small pro, non-pro Photoshop users. That's a group that Adobe simply doesn't have expertise in dealing with.
Don't discount what Eric Chan wrote in his post on this thread: Re: Moving on from Adobe, need some final Lightroom advice
. Parse what he wrote carefully. And let me correct a slight fact, Eric isn't an exec, that's true, but Thomas is actually an Exec VP (I think that's his current title) these days so while Thomas ain't a "suit" (I actually saw him in a suit once-pretty dapper, but it was only for a wedding) and not "in charge" of of major Adobe corp direction, he has a say...and I don't think Thomas is happy with how things have transpired.
My thoughts, one week into the DECISION
I've been dealing with Adobe directly since Photoshop 3 days (June, 1995), I was the first external alpha tester for Photoshop 4 (not CS4, the version 4 that shipped Nov, 1996) and I've seen Adobe do a lot of, uh, questionable things and making some, uh, less than stellar decisions. The whole Creative Suit initiative was great for Adobe but really kinda sucked for Photoshop. The last true independent version of Photoshop was version 7. Once Photoshop CS was released, Photoshop was held captive by the Creative Suite. Let me repeat what I've said before, Photoshop is successful IN SPITE
of everything Adobe has done, not because of ANYTHING
Adobe has done over the years...
Photoshop 7 was also the last version that a small core of photographers had some major influence over the feature set Photoshop developed. People like Martin Evening, Bruce Fraser, Seth Resnick, Katrin Eismann and a few others (myself included) knew how to work with Mark Hamburg who was the Photoshop "architect" till then. Mark "washed his hands" of Photoshop when the Creative Suite occurred...and turned his attention to, well, Lightroom–where a core group of photographers helped drive LR development.
It would be wrong to look at Adobe as a single entity...yes, corporations are considered a legal entity, but it's really more of a community. Don't for a second presume everybody inside of Adobe agrees with what "Adobe" has decided to do. But understand everybody in Adobe will be very circumspect with their criticism. The engineers on Photoshop are the cream of the crop. If you were a talented engineer who was really into digital imaging, where would you want to work? But Adobe is really good at circling the wagons when under fire (I think this counts as Adobe being under fire?)
A lot of people are pissed off at Adobe (both inside and outside of Adobe) at the "decision" to take their talents to subscription...yes, a lot of people seemed to also be really pissed at me for pointing out the obvious–that Photoshop was never developed for the photo industry but for "graphics" pros. That Adobe is a company that is good at developing pro apps and pretty poor developing apps for consumers. They still suck at consumer apps and marketing (otherwise they would have launched CC a lot better). Yeah, ok...my attitude doesn't make what I tell people easier to swallow, but I am what I am...I call it as I see it. I let the chips fall where they may.
Of all the apps Adobe has ever developed, Lightroom is the ONLY app that was designed, engineered and marketed directly at photographers–all types of photographers, non-pro and pro. Guess which app is still available as a perpetual license? Lightroom...you can read a lot into that decision. Yes, you can get LR via the cloud but you can but it as a perpetual license and even buy it from the Apple app store. Why? Well, the LR product/marketing team actually does have a much better understanding of the photo industry than Adobe in general does.
So, for the short term, people should evaluate the sea change and wait for what happens over time. Don't jump off the cliff just because things look dark...it's darkest just before dawn. Adobe may have given smaller 3rd party developers the opening they've needed for years to try to wedge an opening into the industry. I think this could be good for the industry, long term, if competition ends up breeding excellence. But don't count out Adobe from looking at the landscape and developing something interesting to come up with something above Photoshop Elements but less than Photoshop. That's why I started the thread: If Thomas designed a new Photoshop for photographers now...
So, hopefully, this will be mildly useful to offer a way of looking at what happened only a week ago...so, unless you have an immediate need for buying new hardware (that would create a line in the sand) I would suggest bidding you time and see what shakes out in the next year or so. I do think LR5 is a worthy (although not huge) upgrade...that's due soonish. Photoshop CC is a useful (although not huge) upgrade over CS6. The upside is Adobe has committed to making Camera Raw 8.x work in Photoshop CS6–so, buying a new camera doesn't screwup you AC updates. Beyond that, there's always the free DNG Converter option.
Bottom line? Chill out and let's see what happens. Nobody has to do anything immediately.