Quark Inc. finally ended the suspense for professional publishers waiting to make the leap to Mac OS X when it announced that the Mac OS X-native version of its QuarkXPress DTP package will ship next week.
In a sign of the enduring importance of the Mac platform to its clientele, Denver-based Quark made the announcement at a briefing on Apple Computer Inc.s Cupertino, Calif., campus. Quark has “removed the last barrier for creative professionals to move to Mac OS X,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement. XPress is the last major Mac application to make the move to native compatibility with Apple Computer Inc.s Unix-based OS.
XPress 6, which will run on Mac OS X 10.2 or later as well as Windows 2000 and XP, will feature interface enhancements, better table handling, and new output and multipurpose publishing options. The U.S. list price is $1,045, and users of QuarkXPress 5, 4 or 3 will be able to upgrade for $199, $299 or $499, respectively.
Quark first began outlining the features of XPress 6 in April, but it remained mum about a ship date or pricing.
The company said Version 6 will introduce project files, allowing users to share attributes and information in complex projects that include multiple versions of print and Web pages in varying sizes and orientations. Project files will let users share style sheets, colors, hyphenation settings and lists among layouts.
Meanwhile, a new Synchronized Text feature will let users share content among layouts; changing synchronized text in one area will update corresponding text elsewhere in the project.
When it comes to creating tables, XPress 6 will let users control content flow by linking text cells within a table, linking tables to each other, or linking a table cell to a text box. Tables can contain transparent cells and gridlines, and users can define tabbing order. Users will be able to convert tables into grouped boxes that can be moved, rotated and reshaped independently.
On the print-output front, Quark has taken steps to improve XPress ability to take advantages of features of Adobe Systems Inc.s PostScript and Portable Document Format technologies. XPress 6 users will be able to output PDF files directly from QuarkXPress. Support for the DeviceN color space will let users output blends, multi-inks and colorized TIFF images as composite color while retaining spot-color information for in-RIP separations. Publishers can now retain spot colors in PDF files, for example.
XPress 6 will extend the Web-page conversion features introduced in Version 5 of the package. Quark said the upgrade will include enhancements to rollovers, menus, hyperlinks, font-family management, and preview and export controls. It will also allow users to create XML documents without first having to create an XML document type definition (DTD); new color coding makes it easier for users to identify tagged content. The upgrade will tap the Xerces engine to parse XML, Quark said.
Other enhancements will include multiple-undo and -redo support, more undoable actions, and full-resolution previews of on-screen images.
The arrival of QuarkXPress on Mac OS X eliminates a serious obstacle to the adoption of Mac OS X in professional markets. While Mac OS 9-compatible versions of XPress run within Mac OS Xs Classic environment, Apples core market of publishing professionals have cited the lack of a Mac OS X-native version of XPress has as a key factor slowing their migration from Mac OS 9.
Although Apple in September announced that new Macs wouldnt boot into Mac OS 9 after January 2003, the company later modified that deadline for a few models until June—apparently largely at the behest of major XPress clients torn between buying new hardware and waiting for a Mac OS X-native XPress release.
The Cupertino, Calif., Mac maker in September announced a joint promotion with Adobe Systems Inc. to promote Mac OS X-native XPress archrival InDesign.
San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe told eWEEK that its healthy lead in Mac OS X development has given InDesign 2 a competitive edge over long-time DTP leader Quark. “We think its great that theyre coming to OS X,” said Will Eisley, InDesign senior product manager. “InDesign 2 has been running on OS X since January 2002.”
In addition, Eisley said, many XPress 6 features “appear to be largely catch-up [to InDesign]. Features like multiple undo, high-resolution preview and PDF export have been there since Version 1. Were humbly flattered that XPress 6 is now following InDesign 2s lead in the marketplace.”