For all its hype of the cool G4 LCD iMac, Apple is still “obsessed” by the professional market, according to the company’s vice president of Europe Pascal Cagni.

Speaking to Macworld at the massive nine-day IPEX 2002 international print, publishing and media event in Birmingham (April 9-17), Cagni reaffirmed Apple’s commitment to its professional customers: “If you look at our recent digital-video announcements at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) exhibition, and witness Apple’s presence here at IPEX, you can see that we are even more focussed on our pofressional customers than we were previously.”

Oren Ziv, Apple’s creative markets director, emphasized the point: “We haven’t taken our eye off the professional market”.

Publishing on X Showing Macworld around Apple’s large stand at IPEX, Ziv pointed out the “complete spectrum” of leading publishing applications that now work with Apple’s modern operating system, Mac OS X.

“We’ve got almost all the creation, authoring and design tools on OS X, as well as those high-end apps for media production preparation, print-production delivery and the management server backbone,” explained Ziv.

The OS X-native creation applications include all of Adobe’s Design Collection, including vector-drawing program Illustrator, bitmap image-editor Photoshop, DTP tool InDesign, and PDF-creator Acrobat. Other OS X-native publishing and pre-press applications include heavyweights such as Creo’s high-quality copydot scanning and digital descreening oXYgen, Best Color’s Designer Edition, and Global Graphics Software’s Harlequin RIP.

These and other third-party solutions - such as HP, Kodak, DiamondSoft, Helios, Kodak, Cumulus and Gretag-Macbeth - are being demoed at Apple’s stand – which is also showing off 13 of the company’s new 23-inch Cinema Display LCD screens. Theatre presentations focus on Mac SO X, ColorSync, AppleScript, and OS X Server.

Apple did admit that Quark's failure to release a Carbonized version of the premier page-layout application QuarkXPress was hurting OS X take-up. Added to that, XPress 4 does not work even in OS X's Classic environment - although new version 5.0 does. Ziv hopes an X-native version of XPress will be released soon.

Quark's stand at IPEX is dramatically situated right next to Apple's presentations theatre (see picture above) - which shows off the publishing delights of Mac OS X every 20 minutes.

Core creative features Ziv outlined the core features of OS X that make the Mac the best platform for publishers and designers, including: Unix stability, Java 2 implementation for cross-platform tools from Heidelberg, DTI, Seinet, Scenic Software and Idee; the Quartz imaging layer and PDF; high-fidelity printing; built-in font management; and networking technologies, such as SMB that allows Macs to be plugged directly into Windows and Unix networks.

“Apple is the standard bearer for open industry standards, which is important for publishing customers who value the opportunity to move between suppliers,” he told Macworld.

“Java 2 doesn’t resonate in many markets, but it does in publishing,” he said, listing Spanish company Seinet’s Xtent Publishing Suite - a comprehensive set of tools that optimize the processes of publishing newspapers and magazines and their associated Web sites. Xtent is an open, flexible solution developed in Java/XML where you can edit, store/search, and publish all types of multimedia content in either paper or digital format..

“XML is also very important for cross-media publishing. OS X has a fully featured XML parser that’s used for the operating system’s data file. Because XML is critical to the OS, customers can rely on Apple to integrate the most up-to-date versions.”

Quartz is a RIP, and is a unified imaging model for viewing and printing. Every window drawn by Quartz is colour-managed, and if an image or PDF has an embedded ICC colour profile, Quartz uses it as source space.”

Post-sales services Apple UK’s managing director Mark Rogers, also at IPEX 2002, told Macworld: “With the addition of consulting IT services in the UK, we are further helping professional Mac users with a lot of support improvements in the past 12 months. And we will continue to do so in the future.”

“It’s not only digital video and publishing that we’re interested in. In the future, we’re going to employ specific solution experts for several niche markets, including architecture and music to name just two areas Apple is focussed on,” Rogers added.