Today the editors of Macworld magazine released their choices for the Macworld Best of Show Awards at the Seybold San Francisco 2001 trade show. These six products represent some of the most interesting, innovative, and buzz-worthy products and technologies on display this week at the venerable publishing-industry trade show and conference.
“Every year, Seybold brings with it many innovative and exciting publishing products, and this year is no different,” said Macworld editor Jason Snell. “From impressive new hardware offerings to Mac OS X native software, this year’s Seybold San Francisco brought us a wide range of products to choose from for our Best of Show awards.”
The award-winning products and technologies are:
Adobe Systems’ InDesign 2.0. Although Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) has spoken publicly about the upcoming release of InDesign 2.0 before, this week was the official coming-out party for this professional page layout application. In addition to being optimized for Mac OS X, the newest version of InDesign allows you to apply editable transparency effects to any object on the page, quickly and easily create tables, as well as import and export XML data. InDesign 2.0 will now also let you import native Photoshop and Illustrator files with their transparency preserved. The program is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2002.
Adobe Systems’ XMP. Electronic information can be created and transmitted with little effort; finding a system to organize that information is considerably harder. Adobe’s solution is XMP, a technology based on the Rich Data Format flavor of XML. XMP is an open standard that’s meant to address the XML needs of designers and other creative professionals; although Adobe plans to incorporate the specification into all of its applications, the technology is currently being integrated into Acrobat 5, Illustrator 10 and InDesign 2.0.
Apple Computer’s AppleScript Studio. Due later this year, Apple’s (http://www.apple.com/applescript) AppleScript Studio is a professional development environment that allows users of Apple’s easy-to-use scripting language to construct Mac OS X-native Cocoa applications using only AppleScript. Apple’s Project Builder and Interface Builder tools already let Objective C and Java programmers build programs quickly; AppleScript Studio brings the same power to AppleScript. Already an extremely popular tool for creating customized publishing workflow systems, AppleScript systems can become more powerful and flexible than ever before when AppleScript Studio is added to the mix.
Electronics for Imaging’s eBeam. Whiteboard-using Mac users will welcome eBeam (http://www.e-beam.com), a $599 device that allows you to capture whiteboard content onto your Mac. The eBeam system consists of two pods that attach to the upper corners of your whiteboard. Those pods capture electronic signals from sleeves that house standard dry-erase markers. As you draw on the whiteboard, the signal is sent to the pod, which relays it to the computer. Everything you draw is captured on the computer stroke for stroke. eBeam’s two capture pods take up less space on the whiteboard than competitor Virtual Ink’s Mimio, making eBeam an intriguing new wrinkle for users of Macs and whiteboards.
Hewlett-Packard’s DesignJet 10ps. With its new DesignJet printers, HP (http://www.designjet.hp.com) has finally come up with a group of products that will really compete with Epson’s line of high quality comping and proofing printers. The entry-level 10ps printer has a top resolution of 2400 by 1200 dpi; maximum print size of 13 by 19 inches; six individual ink tanks; a software-based PostScript 3 RIP; and the promise of consistent color from proof to proof (something Epson pioneered in this market with the release of the Stylus Pro 5000 in 1998). What makes the DesignJet 10ps stand out, however, is its $995 list price, which means that designers and graphic artists can ditch those older, crankier inkjets with a high-quality printer that showcases their work as they intend it to be.
Wacom Technology’s Cintiq 15x. Wacom (http://www.wacom.com) has been building pen-based LCD display tablets for quite a while, but they’ve always felt more like pricey technology demonstrations than products designers could put into everyday use. The Cintiq 15x changes that. It offers a high-contrast 15-inch active-matrix display (with an 80-degree viewing angle and a maximum resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels) and a pressure-sensitive surface that can sit in your lap. At $1,899, the Cintiq is expensive for the casual user, but for professional digital artists and compositors, it could very well be a key product that streamlines the creation of digital content.