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What Price XPress 6?

(July 2003) posted on Tue Jul 15, 2003

How much will your XPress 6 upgrade really cost?

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By Jake Widman

There are also changes to the way XPress uses layers that supposedly make it easier to print layered projects, as well as improved table creation features. And for those who use XPress as a Web page design tool, there are enhancements to rollovers and hyperlinks as well as improved working with XML.
Perhaps most significantly, Quark has added the ability to generate PDFs directly from within XPress. The company has licensed the PDF creation engine from Global Graphics, makers of the Jaws suite of PDF tools and the storied Harlequin RIP. This new capability further shores up XPress' defense against the InDesign assault.

Can't wait to get your hands on it, right? Actually, there's one often-overlooked detail that could slow down a lot of otherwise eager XPress users. Shops that have multiple XPress workstations are going to have to consider their upgrade strategies carefully. You see, XPress 6 will be able to save in XPress 5 format, but nothing earlier than that. I don't know the numbers on how many XPress 4 users ever upgraded to 5, although news and rumor sites from around when 5 was released suggest that the answer might be, not as many as Quark hoped. But now, shops that decided to stick with 4 and wait for the OS X version aren't going to be able to upgrade piecemeal, by adding a couple of OS X/XPress 6 workstations to the mix and seeing how it works out. If they want to share files among all their workstations, they'll have to upgrade all their copies of 4 to something, anyway. Quark has announced upgrade pricing for the move to 6--moving from 5 to 6 will cost $199; from 4 to 6, $299; and from 3 to 6, $499. Quark tells me they'll continue to offer a 4-to-5 upgrade, but said they won't "promote them" and declined to set a price.

There's another twist in the upgrade strategy: anybody who's been making PDFs from XPress files already has some kind of process in place for handling that. Do they move to the new PDF generation capability built into Xpress? Wait for that feature to show up in Apple's upcoming Panther release of OS X? Or, stay with what they have, which likely involved Adobe Acrobat--which has also recently been upgraded?

And we haven't even mentioned the cross-platform shops. The Mac version of XPress 6 should be shipping right about now, but a ship date for the Windows version hasn't even been announced yet. So if you've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of XPress 6, just remember the old saying: Be careful what you ask for--you might get it.