Quark to launch XPress 10

Quark is getting ready to release QuarkXPress 10, which should be available by late August, with a 20 percent discount on pre-orders till then. Gavin Drake, Quark’s vice president of marketing, points out that QuarkXPress has now been going strong for 26 years, saying: “There have been some changes in that time, some industries still want PDFs and printed versions, but in others print has been pretty much left behind.” He added: “We still have the same number of designers so we have to be more efficient in creating all the different versions, for print, ebooks, tablets and so on.”
The new version boasts over 50 enhancements, mainly aimed at speedingup the way that designers work with the program, and the performance of the software itself. On the Mac platform there has been a complete rewrite to take advantage of Apple’s Cocoa architecture so that QuarkXPress can now follow the OS language and can take new features from Mountain Lion such as the Recent Items list, the file list in the dock, and the dictation feature.
There’s also a new Xenon graphics engine, which supports muti-threading image handling so that images look good with vector graphics appearing to be much cleaner, without pixellated or jagged edges. Photographs appear to render very cleanly with good resolution and image definition. Drake added: “We now have a native deep understanding of file formats like tiff and Photoshop so we can map the photoshop elements directly to our object model. All this gives better performane and you don’t have to keep accessing the hard disk.”
The interface has been tidied up with the layout space automatically resizing around the palettes so you don’t have to keep resizing your working area. The tools palette can be docked with the other palettes to save space. You can also hide the palettes automatically. It will also support dual monitors with the paletes on a second monitor. Style sheets can now be automaticlly applied as they are created, saving time in not having to then apply the style. Quark has also finally retired the Modify dialogue, which Drake says was a bit archaic. To compensate, the measurements palette has gained extra functionality
It now supports transparent PDF pass-through, whereby a PDF with transparency that has been placed on a Quark page and is then itself saved as a PDF can retain the original PDF settings. There’s also new pantone swatches which make it much easier to cheeose a Pantone colour, providing you have a properly calibrated monitor.
It comes with a dual license, which is cross-platform. It runs on Mac OS X 10.7 and on, including the upcoming 10.9 Maverick version, as well as Windows 7 and 8. There’s no support for Flash, or for Blio, with Quark now concentrating its App Studio publishing around HTML5.
Meanwhile, Quark has been trying to persuade its customers to update to the latest versions since the beginning of this year, mainly by offering generous discounts on newer versions up until the end of June.
When I queried the cut off date, ie before the details of v10 were released, Drake told me that Quark had one customer with 50 licenses of v4, not to mention a couple of v5 licenses, adding: “It’s pretty unique to give them an upgrade path but that’s an offer that’s coming to an end and I figure if after 10-15 years customers have not invested anything in QuarkXPress then it’s reasonable to end that upgrade path for them and force a decision.”
It’s a reasonable point, but Quark has now extended its offer further, so that anyone running v3-7 now has until the end of August to upgrade to v9, and get v10 for free. Customers running v8 have until the end of December of this year to update to v9, and get a free copy of v10. This also means that anyone who switched to Indesign and is now feeling unhappy about Adobe’s new licensing policy, can dust off their old Quark license and return to the fold.

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