How much will your XPress 6 upgrade really cost?
By Jake Widman
We've all heard by now about the announcement of QuarkXPress 6--that there's finally a version of XPress built to work with Macintosh OS X. By all accounts, the presentation in Cupertino was an Apple-Quark lovefest, complete with hugs between Steve Jobs and Fred Ebrahimi, neither one generally considered the cuddly type. Obviously, emotions were running high.
And with good reason. It's a big development for both companies. To rehash a little conventional wisdom: a version of XPress for OS X is important for Apple because it brings one of the primary programs used by one of Apple's most important market segments to the company's current and future platform. Apple delayed its plans to cease selling computers that could still boot into OS 9, supposedly because of all the Quark users that still needed such a computer. Now Apple can move its users into the future in the manner it wants--just in time to start using (and buying) the new G5 computers.
Meanwhile, for Quark, the new version blunts some of the threat posed by Adobe's InDesign. Without a true OS X version of XPress, Mac designers tempted by OS X had to consider switching page-layout programs as well. The wait for XPress was becoming a drag on those who wanted to move forward with the Macintosh times. Nobody wants to be held hostage to old hardware because of a particular piece of software.
Now the logjam's broken. And the new XPress comes not only with the ability to work on OS X but with an attractive assortment of new features. There are intriguing tools for collaborative workflows, such as something called "layout spaces" that can gather multiple layouts with their own style sheets, colors, and so on into a single project. And a "synchronized text" feature will enable content to be shared among the layouts, so that changes in text in one place will be reflected throughout the project.