As a user of a 64-bit operating system, each announcement about a new 64-bit application is a source of great joy. It represents another step towards a pure 64-bit future. Now, Adobe has advanced a great deal towards that goal by deciding to entirely abandon 32-bit versions of their Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects in CS "Next" coming "not anytime soon".
While Adobe had started with the process of moving their application to 64-bit in CS2 with 64-bit versions of Premiere Pro and After Effects, and these application have been released in both 32- and 64-bit in CS2, CS3, and CS4, however now Adobe wants to focus on the 64-bit versions of these applications without having to lug around the weight of supporting an outdated platform. So the CS4 version of Premiere Pro and After Effects will be the last ones to come out for 32-bit computers.
While porting these applications to 64-bit makes a lot of sense, it is difficult to see advantage in restricting the applications to 64-bit only. However, the advantages are many and overwhelming.
The very reason to switch to 64-bit computing is for better performance and access to greater amounts of memory. With native support for working with 64-bit numbers, 64-bit computers make processing large numbers faster, and can significantly speed up application which perform such operations, such as multimedia applications, and especially those which deal with encoding and transcoding.
Premiere Pro and After Effects are both CPU-intensive, multimedia applications, which deal with very large amounts of data. They are both used for working on HD content which requires great deal of memory, and heavy CPU usage as these application may have to process terabytes of data. As such these application have the most to benefit from conversion to 64-bit.
For any serious professional working with video content using these applications, a 64-bit operating system with more than 4GB of memory is essential! It is reasonable to assume that whenever the next version of Adobe Creative Suite is released these requirement would have become even more essential. By making these application exclusively 64-bit, Adobe is essentially saying that with all computers already using 64-bit processors there is not much of a reason to stick to a 32-bit operating system, especially when one wishes to work with such applications.
As Adobe tries to take greater and greater advantage of 64-bit computing, maintaining a separate 32-bit code base is no longer a worthy investment. We can now hope to expect bigger and better features in future Adobe applications with this new focused effort. If you are still using a 32-bit operating system -- be prepared, the time to upgrade is coming.