The list's past and present: Apple improves its product


The new Apple chips are a marvel of engineering and will revolutionize today's norm. This next year, as rumours go, the current chips, and the ones in development will bring another giant leap in computing power. The benchmarks for the new chips in comparison to the "old" ones are astounding and the future ones will be even more astounding. This is predicted to happen in the next 2 years and I do not doubt the mayor software players will keep up. 

But this is nothing compared to other predictions that in about 10 years we will see zero point energy being drawn from the quantum vacuum!


Kenneth Harris

This brings me back to a very traumatic period, coming in everyday for about a year wondering it would be our last day on a mac, knowing full well how spastic the tablet/interface was on the windows PS.  
Vis-a-vis the initial versions of inDesign, from my pre-press point of view, the first versions just acted like pagemaker in new clothes, which was disappointing, because from about 95 to 00 the biggest changes to QX were their in poorly implemented anti-piracy coding, which made it increasingly unstable, and because they left some kind of cookie on the network when it crashed, it required restarting hubs to clear before QX would launch again, and we were forced to choose whether to kill network sends to the RIPs (at a blazing 14megs/min) or not work in QX.  It was a very abusive relationship.  To this day, on the rare occasions I'm replacing FPO images in inDesign, I'm still thinking how much faster it was to do it in Quark.  Then I remember how much I came to hate Quark Inc.

Ken Harris

John M. Henry

As printer  I’m on another list of 500 others, we are all looking very closely at affinity products.  In my office we are going to that for all but our two designers. The rest of the staff no longer needs Abobe outside of acrobat pro. They have anything from CS4-6 and will never need more, as we go with affinity. We only keep one seat now of CC for our creative and customer work.  Most for the panel in PS and prepress plug ins we have for Acrobat, that there is no substitute for.  Thanks for making me feel of my 60 years today as this all seems so much less time than 20 years ago. BTW I still miss my 840av, photoshop 3 (with scanprep Pro) and Quark, that set up  screamed in its day.


What a killer app their photo would be with a Panel like  workflow integrated.  


30% off sale + this announced from them

in other news…

our apps are now fully optimized for the next generation of Mac

Ready to go on Apple’s Big Sur and primed to deliver superfast performance on Macs with M1 chips, our latest 1.8.6 update to the macOS versions of our apps means huge performance gains.





John M. Henry


Speedway Press Mitchell Printing & Mailing Inc. The Phoenix Press

1 Burkle Street

Oswego NY 13126



Founding Board Member National Print Owners Association

Dan Margulis

In the last years of the twentieth century, which is when the magazines I’m currently archiving appeared, Apple Computer was on death’s door. It had been run into the ground by three CEOs who were marketers, not technical people. Steve Jobs had been purged. Prices were too high, features disappointing, and the operating system beginning to look antique.

How bad was it? Well, Microsoft thought, probably correctly, that having Apple as a weak competitor would be better than having no competitor at all and being a convenient target for anti-monopoly legislation. Adobe thought, probably correctly, that it might not do well in a world controlled by Microsoft. So both companies took various under-the-radar measures to try to prop Apple up, right as Apple was attempting to talk us into turning in our ancient System 9 in favor of the great unknown of OS X.

Which brings us to the question brought up in the thread started by Davide Barranca. Here in 2020, Apple has announced new hardware that eventually obsoletes various extensions, such as the PPW panel. It’s not clear how anxious the market is to adopt it. What is Adobe’s responsibility here?

The same question, more or less, faced Adobe back then. Its response was to release an unprecedented “public beta” of Photoshop that ran much faster on the new OS. In this way, it hoped to give a boost to the transition, knowing that its action would make Apple very grateful.

The same question also faced Quark back then. And back then, QuarkXPress had the same position among page-makeup professionals that Photoshop does today among imaging pros: about 95 percent of the market. Adobe was getting ready to launch InDesign; its then-current product, PageMaker, was actually better than Quark but the forces of inertia remembered how bad it was several years back, and wouldn’t buy it. Adobe introduced InDesign as its “Quark-killer”, to which I retorted in print that it was like introducing a fly and calling it a spider-killer. I said that the only thing that could kill Quark was Quark itself.

Quark immediately commenced to do just that. First, it decided to exploit its near-monopoly position by holding Apple for ransom. It demanded that Apple pay it to develop the software for OS X. When Apple would not do so, to teach them a lesson Quark’s next release could only be run on the classic Apple OS.

Also, previous versions of Quark understandably had almost nothing pertaining to the web or cross-media. Quark knew it had to do something about it, but decided that we should pay for it. So, the cross-media/web stuff was a $400 extension.  Counting this, they desired to charge about $1,300 (Y2K dollars) for a single-seat license whereas Adobe asked around $700 for an InDesign two-seater.

In 2002, Quark finally released an OS X-compatible version, with web capabilities built in. Even then, it was not totally predictable that InDesign would take over. Changing vendors for a critical piece of complicated software is very challenging. But Quark’s customer relations were disastrous. In 2004, I wrote,

I would really like to see Quark succeed, for the unselfish reason that I dislike seeing Adobe become preeminent in yet another application and for the selfish one that I have been a Quark user for 15 years and am really not looking forward to retraining myself on InDesign. If Quark would give me even the slightest reason to continue supporting it, I would gladly do so.

It hasn’t. I can’t.

Four months later, the parent company of my magazine made the same decision not just for us, but for its other 40 or so titles. They had been waiting for the Quark update before switching everything over to OS X. They had assumed that in view of the high cost of retraining everyone on InDesign, they had no real choice. 

That’s what Quark thought, too, and told our company so in just those words, after putting them through hoops just to be favored with an audience with somebody in Quark management. Hat in hand, my superior suggested that, since around 400 seats were involved, Quark might wish to quote us something less than the suggested retail price. No way, came the response. 400 seats is nothing to us. Full price, times 400. 

Adobe, meanwhile, offered 400 new installs of InDesign, Photoshop, Acrobat, and Illustrator as a package for less than Quark wanted for its one-product upgrade. 

From time to time people suggest that Photoshop might go the way of Quark, possibly as a history-repeats-itself deal with respect to the new Apple hardware. That one is easy to predict, IMHO. The cases are too different. Twenty years ago Apple’s very survival was in doubt; today it is all-powerful And, although some of us have negative views about Adobe, it’s nowhere close to the visceral hatred we had for Quark. If we make the decision to go elsewhere, it will not be because we are so angry with Adobe that we feel the need to teach them a lesson.

So, most developers are simply going to follow Apple’s lead, though some may not think it’s worth the bother to rewrite everything. If enough of them feel that way, then sure, some people may turn away from Photoshop. Affinity Photo is a worthy competitor and I assume that others are pretty good, too. The main reason I don’t migrate is the availability of the PPW panel and possibly others.

But, it’s only a prediction. And I’ll close these reminiscences with another, taken from the “Just In” news section of Electronic Publishing, March 1997:

After off-and-on reports of Apple’s interest in the Be operating system, the company finally put all rumors to rest with its announcement of the acquisition of NeXT Software. For the $400 million it spent, not only does Apple get the NeXT technology, but it also gets Steve Jobs, CEO of NeXT and one of the co-founders and pioneers of Apple Computer. Opinion on the implications of this move swings both ways. Some industry experts speculate that the merger of the NeXT and Apple technologies will be the salvation that Apple needs in light of its recent diminished performance and customer loyalty. Others fear that Apple will develop an operating system lacking backward compatibility, thereby effectively rendering all existing Mac software useless, and further alienating customers.

I didn’t write that, but if anybody had asked me then I would gladly have signed off on it. It really could have gone either way. We’re much better off, IMHO, that it turned out the way it did.

Predictions are notoriously difficult. Discussing them is one good function of user lists. That’s why, 21 years ago, we decided to launch this one. It was a good prediction.