John Nack, highlighting a comment from brushing engineer Jerry Harris on CS4 and the new Wacom Intuos 4 tablets:
PS now preserves pressure beyond 8-bit throughout the painting code, whereas before CS4, only 256 levels (8-bits) made its way to this code.
For as much as I could find out in a two minute search on Google, the Wacom Intuos from 1998 already supported 1024 pressure levels. Photoshop supported 16bit colour to a certain extent since version 2.5. God only knows how many people bought professional Wacoms in the last ten years, convinced that their tablets were actually doing something more than moving the cursor around. What took so long to actually pass those 1024 levels on to the PS brushing engine?
This is from an Intuos datasheet; it’s quite puzzling or maybe I just misunderstood the whole thing: