1. It seems like Photoshop like features migrate to Adobe Photoshop Elements a couple versions later. PS had Layers, PSE got Layers. PS had Layer Masks, PSE got Layer Masks. If using PSE is like using an earlier version of Photoshop, it might be justifiable to wait it out and go with the PSE versions updates.
2. Adobe Lightroom gets more capable with each version. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Beta (LR5B) adds a better Healing/Cloning Brush and the Radial Filter is the bomb. (It was used on about ten different places on today’s image.) The Upright utility in the Lens Correction Panel looks like it’ll be useful. If LR continues to add features, PSCC may not be necessary for photographers.
3. If you absolutely have to have Layers (and I do to do things like today’s image) you might want to look at (and follow) OnOne’s development of their Perfect layers. It adds layering capabilities to LR. It bears watching. They may be able to be the disruptive technology that deals a blow to Adobe’s thought process.
4. There’s been a cottage industry built up around offering Photoshop features to PSE users. It will probably expand and become a “we’ll keep up with PSCC new features using pull-ins if you have CS6” industry. Once Adobe opens the door (i.e. shows that camera shake based sharpening can be done) it won’t be long before some smart coder duplicates “the new best thing” in his/her basement.
Adobe appears to be at a SIP (Strategic Infliction Point) as described by Clayton Christensen and championed by Intel’s Andy Grove. At a SIP, a company makes a decision that determines the course of the company’s future. Guess right and the company goes to new heights. Guess wrong and it could be the beginning of the end for that company. Which way it goes for Adobe will be played out over the next product cycle or two. It’ll be interesting to see how the react.