For the new adobe cc you don't need a consistent connection through the net. Being online once a month is enough.
It's not about CC requiring an online connection or not - it's about renting your software. And a number other things related to CC subscriptions.
Ohh and i would never ever use something else than Illustrator & photoshop anymore. Can't imagine a workflow without smart objects anymore. That saves hundreds of hours.
Photoline supports similar workflows: for one, PL offers virtual clones of existing layers, layer groups, layer masks, vector/text objects, and so on. They function very much like smart objects, with the ADDED two advantages that they update in real-time when changes are made to the original one, and that the original object can be edited in context. Both are impossible with SOs in Photoshop. A smart object in Photoshop does not update in real time (must be saved, which is awkward) and cannot be edited in situ (requiring a separate document window, which is even more inconvenient). And Photoshop does not support multiple page documents, which Photoline does - making the virtual layer concept even more powerful.
Second, Photoline can also, like the newest PS CC, place external content with the link remaining live. So I can edit an object in an external application (for example a pdf, an svg, or a psd file), and the placed external layer with that content automatically updates when I save the changes. Or manage my Photoline elements as separate individual elements with all the functionality of Photoline.
All in all, Photoline's workflow "outsmarts" Photoshop smart objects in several ways. Another boon is that layer masks in Photoline are treated like regular layers, so one layer mask can serve as a master for all the other masks applied in a Photoline layer stack - update the one mask, and all the others update as well. Photoshop cannot do this with layer masks, because they are limited to the one layer. (To be fair, this could be solved with clipping layers in Photoshop, although clipping layers are somewhat inflexible.)
Of course, SOs in Photoshop do have certain advantages not available in Photoline: only Adobe software can open AI and PSD files with the full complement of supported features.
Anyway, Photoshop is not the only application that offers such a workflow. Honestly, I feel Photoline's workflow in this regard is arguably superior to Photoshop.
Btw, two more advantage of PL over Photoshop SO model: 1) there is no need to convert layers to SO for non-destructive tranformation of a layer - that's a given in PL. so it saves time. No need for silly SOs to retain bitmap layers quality.
and 2) there is also no need to convert layers to SOs to add non-destructive filters/effects in Photoline. Again saves time.
Combined with the other caveats related to smart objects in Photoshop that I already mentioned above, I can work much quicker in Photoline than in Photoshop.