Quark has released a new version of its graphic design and page layout software QuarkXPress. QuarkXPress 10 includes Retina display support, Quark's new Xenon Graphics Engine and more than 50 new features and timesavers.

Quark is describing the release as "new inside and out".

With QuarkXPress 10, Quark has finally migrated its software to Apple's Cocoa frameworks. Until now Quark was using Carbon – a programming interface designed so that applications that ran on the now-obsolete Mac OS 8 and 9 platforms could run on modern Macs. Mac developers have now largely abandoned this programming interface, especially as it cannot support some modern features. Back in 2008 Apple confirmed that it would no not offer 64-bit support for Carbon, for example. Adobe updated Photoshop to Cocoa back in January 2010 having had to "rewrite from scratch" (a process that took Adobe a few years). 

The transition to Cocoa meant that Quark has had to rewrite large amounts of this legacy code (a total of half a million lines of code plus a new 350,000 new lines of code) and as a result the transition to Cocoa was described by Quark in a conference call as "lot of work". However, the move to Cocoa means that QuarkXPress 10 should offer better performance, and be better able to leverage the latest OS X features including the MacBook Pro's Retina display. It should also be able to support OS X updates as they arrive. In fact, during a conference call, Quark promised that it "will be able to support Mavericks soon after availability".

Quark's new Xenon Graphics Engine has also been implemented in QuarkXPress 10, allowing better rendering of files such as PDFs, Photoshop files and TIFFs, with an Adaptive Resolution feature to display the "best possible onscreen resolution without compromising performance". It supports such features as larger, higher resolution previews that can be drawn and redrawn in seconds.

The new graphics engine supports multi-core, multi-processor, multi-threading, SSE3, and Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), according to Quark.

QuarkXPress 10 has a new look too, with palette enhancements, the ability to be used in full screen mode, new navigation elements and a measurements palette. Quark claims that this makes for a more "consistent design and a more consistent user experience".

Another new feature that may please users is the way that boxes and lines around an object can be hidden so as not to interfere with the design.

The updated software also offers better integration with Photoshop including non-destructive editing and preservation of layers. Quark demonstrated how clipping paths can now be manipulated directly within QuarkXPress 10.

There's now a QR code create within QuarkXPress 10, and every edition of the software supports East Asian typography too.

When it comes to workflow improvements, Quark has added the ability to import pictures and hyperlinks from Microsoft Word, a new PDF Pass-Through Transparency feature, layers enhancements, a print preview, the option to highlight missing fonts, tool enhancements and more. For the full list of enhancements, click here

The software was due to be released in late August, but after some delay is now available to download here. It's a perpetual licence with no subscription necessary (unlike Adobe's offering), and supports OS X Lion 10.7 or later. It'll set you back £799 (excluding VAT) for the full version, or £299 if you already own QuarkXPress 8 or QuarkXPress 9.