An AppleTalk – On Thinking Different

Apple introduced the 333 MHz G3 server, the most powerful Macintosh G3 server to date. It combined Pentium-toasting PowerPC G3 performance and AppleShare server software to create the most powerful, easy-to-use Apple server yet.

Chris Gulker, business development manager for publishing, entertainment and new media markets at Apple Computer, recently spoke with Printing Impressions about Apple’s Mac OS efforts—brace yourself for Mac OS X—as well as the company’s core commitment to the design, prepress and commercial printing sects, despite all the hoopla over the cute and cuddly iMac.

The iMac is receiving considerable attention on the consumer side, but is Apple’s energy as high on the commercial printing and publishing side?

“Absolutely. Publishing is one of the primary thrusts for Apple, including design, prepress and printing. We understand all the major concerns of the prepress business, the printing business, the graphics studio. And what’s really good news for printing and prepress operations is that Apple Computer—alone among computer companies—controls hardware as well as OS systems. We have that understanding; we know how to make an environment productive.”

How does Apple keep in touch with the prepress needs of general printers?

“To make sure that we’re not just guessing or giving people what we think they ought to have, Apple turns to a grouping of its best customers from a variety of markets in the United States, Europe and the Pacific Rim. We do two things: have them critique our current technologies and, through nondisclosure, get their thoughts on some of our forthcoming offerings. In the more than 18 months we’ve been doing this customer focus, we’ve found that innovative customer input has added value to our finite number of engineering resources.”

What has Apple learned from its commercial printing customers?

“For one, they need Quark files saved faster. Prepress customers told us that a lot of what they do is save Quark files. To them, what makes the difference is not buzz-words like multi-tasking, multi-threading or Java, but rather throughput. The more jobs, especially for prepress firms, they can get done in a finite period of time, the more profitable they are and the more they can expect new jobs to become even more profitable.

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