An old article charting the history of MacOS X in Japan and a snapshot of the Japanese pre-press industry in 2000. In retrospect, OpenType fonts with embedding in PDF along with InDesign J made things much easier, but good advanced Japanese typography is still not supported in the majority of applications, and web browser Japanese typography is and will always be, a joke.
You can guess who the end client was but the project was handled through an intermediate consulting company that disappeared long ago. The managers in charge had all left by the time it was delivered. I emailed the executive summary to Steve Jobs who immediately sent some minions from Apple Japan with a flimsy job offer for ‘internal developer relations’. Translation: convince our co-workers in Cupertino to follow this strategy you wrote but who don’t listen to us and won’t listen to you either. I figured it was a lost cause and declined.
MacOS X will be launched into a sluggish, recessionary Japanese DTP market that has a low DTP conversion rate, expensive and unreliable workflow and intense price competition. Change is coming as the installed base slowly moves from OCF to CID fonts that finally deliver Japanese embedding in PDF. This will allow PDF to become a standard Japanese DTP production format. In 2001, Adobe will be aggressively marketing OpenType in connection with InDesign J as ‘THE’ solution for Japanese DTP problems: expensive and unreliable workflow, poor cross platform support and primitive typography.
MacOS X will face specific Macintosh platform issues: over half of current DTP MacOS installed base are ‘pre G3’ Power Macs that cannot run MacOS X. Because of the hardware requirements and poor business environment, Japanese publishers will not migrate just to use the Classic Compatibility Environment, they will likely choose a gradual upgrade strategy.
Apple must insure a smooth, gentle migration in several key areas:
- Print drivers: Localized print drivers for high-end production and proofing systems.
- High End Scanners: Carbonized, localized scanner software and SCSI card drivers.
- 3rd Party Drives: Carbon I/O drivers for popular MO and CDR-RW drives.
- Applications: Carbon versions of Quark XPress, PhotoShop, Illustrator.
- Utilities: Carbon versions of FWB HDT and B’s Crew driver software.
- Fonts: ATM Kanji fonts must work seamlessly with all Carbon apps.
At the same time Apple must counteract Adobe Japan’s OpenType/InDesign J cross platform marketing push by positioning MacOS X and the Hiragino OpenType Pro Kanji fonts as the most advanced, most reliable, most cost effective DTP workflow solution for the Japanese market. By doing so, Apple can play off Adobe marketing and also create a clear compelling case for Japanese publishers to migrate. In summary the key issues are:
Compatibility: A Gentle Migration and CarbonLib on MacOS 8.x, 9.x
Flexibility and Extendibility: The best platform solution to reduce the high cost of Japanese DTP workflow.
- Platform Goals
- System level, intuitive, seamless PDF and OpenType Pro Kanji fonts
- Richer, advanced type solutions based on AAT and Open Font Architecture that allow 3rd party developers to build ‘Apple only’ Japanese specific solutions that go far beyond the capabilities of OpenType.
- Future promise of Cocoa technology and tools that will play an important role in web publishing and asset management.
- Market Conditions
- A Brief Look at the Japanese DTP Market
- Market Analysis
- The Market and MacOS X
- Print Drivers
- High End Scanners
- 3rd Party Drives
- DTP Apps
- Plug-ins and Utilities
- Japanese Font issues and MacOS X
- OpenType Opportunities
- System Level PDF
- User Upgrade Scenario and CarbonLib
- Cross Platform Issues and Summary
To understand MacOS X migration issues, it is necessary to review the current business conditions of the Japanese publishing market.
The printing industry is still contracting.
- 1997 (book and magazine) revenues: 2,637,416 mil yen
- 1998 (book and magazine) revenues: 2,541,508 mil yen
- 1999 (book and magazine) revenues: 2,460,700 mil yen
The advertising industry is also in a slump.
- 1997 revenues: 5,038,567 mil yen
- 1998 revenues: 4,772,064 mil yen
- 1999 revenues: 4,647,553 mil yen
(Based on Japan Federation of Printing Industry figures)
In 1999 print consumables such as ink and film showed slightly increases and scattered portions of the industry reported slight increases in work volume. However, any increase in work volume has been offset by severe price competition. In general publisher pricing has dropped 30% in the past 2 years.
A Brief Look at the Japanese DTP Market.
- Desktop publishing (DTP) production comprises 30 to 35% of total Japanese publishing production. (70% of pre-CEPS text creation made with Densan Shashoku Systems)
- 80 to 85% of Japanese DTP production uses MacOS. Remaining 20% is low-end business related DTP using Windows and inexpensive TrueType Kanji fonts.
- Roughly 70% of current MacOS computers used in Japanese DTP workflow production are ‘pre G3’ Power Macintosh computers.
- The majority of the MacOS DTP installed base is running 8.X (8.1, 8.5.1,8.6) and have yet to upgrade to MacOS 9.
(Based on interviews and data from the following companies: DaiNippon Screen, Morisawa, Fontworks Japan, Heidelberg Japan, Toppan Printing, Seishin Shoji, Komada Printing, Kosaido Printing, Nisso Printing and Matsumoto Printing. These figures do not represent the design section of the DTP market)
General Market Analysis
Because of the poor business climate, the Japanese publishing market has been slow to invest in new hardware such as Computer To Plate (CTP) technology (and the production systems that accompany them: Apogee, Prinergy, etc.), which has made significant inroads in America and Europe, and equally slow to upgrade to new software such as CID (in the case of Morisawa ‘New CID’) fonts which in turn has slowed acceptance of PDF as a major file format in the production process. RIP systems are being upgraded to PostScript 3, but again slowly. The recent bankruptcy of Harliquin postponed the PostScript 3 (compatible) upgrade of that popular OEM RIP system, which in turn has also slowed the conversion to CID.
On the whole, the industry is still in recession and has been treading water for the last 3 years with little in the way of new investment. At the same time competition has forced pricing down sharply, so there is a great need to reduce production costs and increase efficiency. This is the challenge of the Japanese publishing industry today: to reduce costs and boost efficiency. Meeting this challenge will require new investment in hardware and software. While it is true that Japanese publishing is a very conservative business, businesses that do not reduce their production costs will not survive.
The Market and MacOS X
The great challenge to Apple in such depressed business circumstances, is to convince the publishing market to migrate to MacOS X. In a good economy this would be a difficult task, it will be monumental in the current stagnate one. Japanese publishing is, by nature, very conservative and changes slowly. Japanese DTP workflow is far from perfect: it is expensive and unreliable, it has primitive typography and layout, and a limited variety of Kanji fonts that lack necessary Gaiji characters. However users are familiar and comfortable with the tools they have. The failure of Quark to convince users to upgrade to XPress 4.x and Morisawa to get users to upgrade to CID technology shows that the Japanese DTP market is very sensitive to price performance and feature sets. Users simply won’t upgrade unless there are very compelling reasons.
For this reason, most publishing businesses will not upgrade to MacOS X just to use the Classic Compatibility Environment; businesses will only upgrade when they can enjoy the full benefits of Carbon at reasonable cost.
The current Japanese market leaders for high end PostScript (and compatible) systems are:
- Power Brisque (Scitex)
- GreenRip (FujiFilm)
- Apogee (Agfa)
- Renautus (DaiNippon Screen)
- Delta (Heidelberg)
- Cilty (Konica, based on the Hyphen Postscript clone)
- Harliquin (OEM Postscript clone)
Carbon PostScript print drivers are critical for MacOS X success and it is here that the longest delays will likely occur. For example it can take 6 months or more for high-end workflow vendors to qualify current MacOS 8.x revisions after the OS is released.
In the case of Heidelberg the new OS English version must be cleared and qualified by the engineering department in Germany before any qualification work can start in Japan. Adobe PS Japanese drivers and PPD files have to be tested on a variety of Japanese systems and rewritten if necessary. Until the qualification process is complete, technical support tells customers to stay with the old OS and print drivers. The vastly more complicated Japanese high-end DTP landscape with Japan only systems like Renatus and Cilty and their own proprietary file formats, can slow down the qualification process considerably.
All in all, high-end PostScript licensees will probably be the very last to qualify MacOS X for their customers. It takes time for Adobe to provide licensees with new OS compliant drivers who in turn have to rewrite their product specific PPD files. New drivers for Carbon will undoubtedly take longer. Only after work is completed on the English versions will Japanese localization and qualification begin. Apple might be able to help things along by giving these vendors the tools and information they need to get the job done quickly, but this is basically Adobe’s responsibility. The PostScript license requires Adobe to provide licensees with OS compliant PS print drivers. Most licensees will prefer to wait for Adobe to deliver.
Critical middle to low end color copy/B&W laser printer systems include:
- Oki Data Microline PS series
- Epson 9000 B&W PS laser printers and 8000 PS (Fiery RIP) series
- Fuji Xerox A-Color, DocuPrint and DocuColor PS systems
- Canon Pixel Duo (Fiery RIP)
Apple must include as many 3rd party print drivers, PPD (or Tioga replacement plug-ins) and peripheral drivers on the MacOS X CD as possible and back it up with a web site as well. The ability to search for/download drivers via Sherlock or an automatic software updater like MacOS 9 control panel would also be a plus.
High End Scanners
High end Japanese DTP production is rapidly moving from drum to flatbed scanners. Current Japanese market leaders are:
- Lanovia Mac (Fuji Film, Pictus scanner software)
- GenaScan 5500 (DaiNippon Screen, Color Genius scanner software))
- SG 8060 (DaiNippon Screen, Color Genius scanner software))
- Tango (Heidelberg, LinoColor scanner software))
- EverSmart Pro (Scitex, EverSmart scanner software))
- Nexscan F4000 (Heidelberg, LinoColor scanner software)
All of these products use G3/G4 Power Macintoshes and represent an important area where Apple has successfully fought off the general migration of high-end solutions (RIPS etc.) to Windows NT. These scanner systems present a more complex set of problems because in addition to SCSI card drivers (almost all use Adaptec PowerDomain SCSI cards), high end scanners use special software (LinoColor, Color Genius, Pictus, etc.) to drive and operate the scanner which in turn is protected by hardware dongles. In this scenario all three components: SCSI drivers, dongles and scanner software have to be Carbonized (and scanner software localized as well) before users can safely upgrade. Some high-end market leaders are preparing Windows NT versions of their scanner solutions. If Apple wants to protect their lead in this area, it is very important to invest time and money and insure a smooth migration.
3rd Party Drives
The great majority of peripherals used in Japanese DTP production are SCSI based and comprised of MO, CRW-RW and hard disk (HD) drives. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but represents a cross section of popular models in the installed base. The leaders are:
- Buffalo (HD)
- Coniglio (HD)
- I/O Data (HD)
- Logitec (CD-R/RW LCW series and MO LMO series, 230, 640MB MO media)
- Mitsubishi Chemical (MO drives) 128, 230MB MO media
- Olympus (TurboMO 230, TurboMO 640, TurboMO 1300)
- Pioneer (DW-S114X)
- Sony (CWO and EDM series OEM MO drives)
- Yamaha (CRW 8424, CRW 6416, CRW 4416)
- Yano ( J-Compo MO series, V series, 230, 640MB MO media)
These are the legacy 3rd party peripherals MacOS X has to work seamlessly with for success in Japanese publishing. Even though MacOS X has the Classic environment, DTP users will have little justification for migrating to MacOS X until the bedrock foundation of new Carbon based I/O drivers are in place. Many DTP operations use utility programs such as FWB ToolKit J and B’s Crew to format and drive peripherals. Carbon versions of these popular apps would help win many converts.
The MacOS X user scenario for applications is simple and obvious: the more Carbon applications there are, the more users will be inclined to migrate. The major DTP production applications at present (as of March 2000) are:
- Quark XPress J 3.3
- Adobe Illustrator J 5.5, 8.0
- Adobe Photoshop J 4.0, 5.5
These are the key applications of Japanese DTP. Until Carbonized, localized versions of these apps exist, there will be no migration. The influence of InDesign J, to be released late 2000, is difficult to judge. Looking at the reception of InDesign in America however, where major operations have not migrated from Quark because of printer issues and software bugs, it seems certain that Japanese publishers will keep production running on Quark XPress and that any change will come gradually. Influence on MacOS X migration will likely be minimal.
The great Japanese migration challenge is Quark XPress and how to convince users to upgrade from version 3.3. Version 4.X has been on the market 2 years but users have not upgraded because of the expensive upgrade price and lack of new features. The upgrade does not yield any cost savings in the production process and is not cost effective
If the Carbon version of Quark XPress J has a rich set of new features that address Japanese typography problems, has full file compatibility with version 3.3 and an attractive upgrade price from both 3.3 and 4.X versions, Japanese publishers will at least start thinking of migrating to MacOS X. This issue is Quarks responsibility of course, but either way Quark XPress will have considerable impact on Japanese DTP migration to MacOS X.
Illustrator, the king of Japanese DTP single page layout, and Photoshop will have a major impact on migration as well. And it is possible that the Carbon version of Photoshop may be many publisher’s first step to MacOS X. Image manipulation workstations in Japanese production tend to be standalone setups: the latest Power Macintosh hardware and Photoshop only with little or no fonts and text manipulation software. Because of this simplicity, and the great need for power, speed and multitasking, these workstations will most likely be the earliest test candidates for MacOS X migration in prepress production after the Carbonized version of Photoshop (and the necessary peripheral drivers) appears.
Plug-ins and Utilities
The role of Quark XTensions and Photoshop/Illustrator plug-ins in the Japanese migration scenario is difficult to analyze. While there are many popular Japanese XTensions (EZ Compo, Extensis QX Effects, BeyondPress) and plug-ins (Metacreation’s KPT series), the real question is, are any of them mission critical? There are 2 ‘must have’ candidates. The first is PageXTractor XTension that links Quark XPress documents with Cumulus databases.
Cumulus has quietly become a Japanese market leader for asset management and a basic workflow tool for publishers large and small. Japanese publishers are finally realizing that good asset management can reduce production costs. A highly compatible MacOS X production environment where Quark XPress, Cumulus and AppleScript (FileMaker as well) work together seamlessly could be a good marketing opportunity to sell MacOS X as the best solution to reduce high Japanese DTP production costs.
The second ‘must have’ candidate is the TWAIN driver plug-in for Photoshop. The Japanese market leaders for middle and low range scanners are Epson and Canon whom exclusively rely on TWAIN. DTP users depend on it also.
Utility software is also important and, here too, there are some crucial applications:
- FWB Hard Disk ToolKit J (both Pro and Personal packages)
- B’s Crew (peripheral driver and formatting software)
- AdaptecToast J
- Retrospect J
- Cumulus J
- StuffIt J
- Norton Utilities J
These are the ‘bread and butter’ utilities necessary for day to day operations: asset management, backup, formatting media, hard disk repair and upkeep. DTP operations depend on these tools, and Carbonized versions are key for successful migration. Carbon versions of FWB’s Hard Disk ToolKit and B’s Crew would go a long way in winning converts simply because so many users depend on them to drive peripherals.
Japanese Font Issues and MacOS X
The MacOS X migration issues presented up to now could be applied to any DTP market. Japanese fonts are a different matter; they have their own unique history and their own unique set of problems. First of all, the Japanese font market is highly polarized with expensive high quality PostScript Japanese fonts only available for MacOS and inexpensive lower quality TrueType fonts available for Windows and Macintosh.
There are other major Kanji font problems which have kept the Japanese DTP penetration rate at 30%.
- Extremely poor cross-platform support (incompatible encoding, formats and capabilities)
- Unreliable, expensive workflow (multiple copies of fonts, high cost, high maintenance, technical complexity with downloading)
- Primitive typographic features (lack of pair kerning, lack of proper metrics, poor Gaiji support)
The Japanese PostScript font market is also in transition, moving from older more expensive OCF fonts to slightly less expensive more advanced CID fonts that are necessary to embed Japanese in PDF 1.3. PostScript printers and RIPS have been shipping with CID for over 2 years now, but clients are upgrading only very slowly. Client upgrades from OCF are expensive (3,150 JPY per license) and the only real benefit is font embedding with Acrobat 4.0J.
Fortunately, MacOS X will address many of these problems and provide Apple with some excellent marketing opportunities for Japanese DTP.
The most important short-term issue for DTP users is font compatibility. ATSUI and Open Font Architecture in MacOS X provide compatibility with all flavors of PostScript Type 1 (OCF, CID, CFF) and TrueType if developers choose to support ATSUI API’s in Carbon.
QuickDraw Text and WorldScript II are also fully supported in Mac OS X version 1.0. What is less clear, at this point, is what happens to ‘ATM font’ rasterization if a Carbon application only supports QuickDraw Text/WorldScript II. It is absolutely vital that ‘ATM fonts’ work seamlessly across all Carbon applications. If they do, there will be no problem.
Management and installation are also important areas. Font management has always been a major pain in the classic MacOS particularly with Japanese fonts. This weakness has been a 3rd party opportunity, with utilities like MasterJuggler, Suitcase and ATM Deluxe trying to fill the gap but failing to provide seamless, intuitive Japanese font management. These utilities are extensions and will not run in Carbon. Fortunately Apple has said there will be a font management feature present in MacOS X. If fonts are as easy to install as they are today, if end users have the ability to install and uninstall fonts on the fly, easily manage them and create font sets according to their needs, then it will be easier for Japanese DTP users to migrate to MacOS X.
The Hiragino OpenType fonts announced for MacOS X J will be a major selling point to DTP professionals. The high quality Hiragino designs coupled with extended Gaiji character sets (Adobe Japan 1-4, JIS 2000, possibly more) and advanced typography features (AAT, OpenType Layout) are very attractive features.
Adobe is positioning OpenType as ‘THE SOLUTION’ for all Japanese font problems and beyond: host based printing, server-based fonts, reduced cost, increased productivity, E-publishing and, most important, DTP growth opportunity. Adobe will be marketing Japanese OpenType fonts in 2 flavors: OpenType Regular which is a simple upgrade from CID with few new features, and more expensive OpenType Pro fonts with extended Gaiji character sets and advanced layout.
Clearly Adobe is aiming for the 70% of Japanese publishing that has not converted to DTP. Apple’s MacOS X OpenType Pro Kanji fonts should mesh very well with the Adobe marketing message; Apple’s fonts are also ‘first to market’ and will get lots of attention that is always a good marketing opportunity.
How font developers implement advanced typography features is a little less clear. Morisawa, for example, is thinking of implementing their new ‘Kyoiku’ font collection as variations rather than separate fonts. Also Morisawa tends to focus on Adobe’s advanced typography solution (OpenType layout) rather than Apple’s solution (AAT). Adobe has publicly stated they have “no plans” to adopt ATSUI for their applications, which might bias font developers to use OpenType layout instead of AAT. Time and effort spent by Apple to support Japanese font developer efforts with OpenType and AAT could make MacOS X advanced typography very attractive as 3rd party OpenType Kanji fonts appear on the market.
The bottom line is that advanced typography, extended character sets and cross platform support are key Adobe marketing strategies and Japanese font vendors will be adding these features for OpenType. Font vendors will also have to change their current price structure if they want DTP users to upgrade and also sell to the Windows market. Apple can use these changes in the market place to their advantage if there is a continuous, sustained vision, plan and effort to do so.
System Level PDF
PDF is the publishing production file format of the future. The Japanese DTP installed base is moving slowly to CID and, more important, production systems are all moving to the PostScript Extreme PDF based architecture: Prinergy, Apogee, Power Brisque, and TrueFlow. The PDF foundation of Quartz could be another excellent marketing opportunity to sell MacOS X to publishing professionals as Japanese DTP production workflow moves to PDF.
The current Acrobat 4.0 /Distiller combination is complex and not very intuitive It is easy to make mistakes and, for example, not have fonts not embed properly. If Apple makes MacOS X PDF simple, intuitive, seamless and compatible in every way with PDF 1.3, DTP users have an invaluable tool to effortlessly move production files between applications and across platforms. This alone can reduce production costs and give users a very good reason to migrate to MacOS X.
User Upgrade Scenario and CarbonLib
With a significant percent of the DTP installed base still running ‘Pre G3’ Power Macintosh, a large section of the market must buy new hardware before they can migrate to MacOS X. As stated previously, Japanese publishing is conservative in nature and the industry is still in a business slump. In such circumstances a gentle migration path for DTP users is vital and CarbonLib is the key.
With the great majority of the Japanese installed base running MacOS 8.x. CarbonLib will allow these DTP users to gradually upgrade their key DTP applications (Quark XPress, Illustrator, Photoshop) as Carbonized versions appear, run them on 8.x and benefit from any new features developers choose to add. When all the pieces are in place: Carbon apps, I/O drivers, Carbon print drivers released, and hardware upgraded, end users can finally migrate according to their needs.
Many publishers will likely choose this gradual upgrade strategy and it is important for Apple to educate the Japanese publishing market that this strategy exists. By presenting MacOS X as the gateway to the 2nd wave of Japanese DTP that is based on PDF and OpenType, and by show casing MacOS X as the most advanced, most reliable, most cost effective DTP workflow solution on the market, Apple can create a clear compelling case for Japanese publishers to migrate. Co-marketing campaigns bundling new hardware with Japanese versions of Carbon apps could also make MacOS X migration very appealing.
Cross Platform Issues and Summary
The Japanese publishing market is ripe for change. DTP workflow hardware and software has not changed much in the last 3 years. The industry is in a prolonged slum, pricing competition is severe yet the cost of Japanese DTP workflow production is still the same. Production costs must come down for companies to survive.
Change is coming. OpenType will finally give Japanese publishers the choice to deploy high-end DTP on the Windows 2000 platform. InDesign J will provide even more cross-platform opportunities when it is released later this year. Japanese publishers are conservative, but the low-end business related publishers are already leaning to Windows to avoid cross-platform problems.
The migration to MacOS X in a changing market is not without risks, but change is also opportunity as long as Apple can prove that MacOS X is the best, most cost effective publishing solution. To that end MacOS X can offer Japanese DTP users:
- CarbonLib on MacOS 8.x, 9.x
- Gentle Migration Strategy
Flexibility: The premier DTP cross platform solution
- System level, intuitive, seamless PDF
- OpenType support and OpenType Pro Japanese fonts ‘out of the box’, a Japanese publishing industry first.
- The best platform to reduce the high cost of Japanese DTP workflow
Extendibility: Apple only solutions that build on the power of MacOS X
- Richer, more advanced typography solutions based on Apple Advanced Typography and Open Font Architecture which allow 3rd party developers to build ‘Apple only’ Japanese specific (and Asia specific) solutions that go far beyond the capabilities of OpenType.
- Future promise of Cocoa technology and tools like WebObjects (as well as established MacOS technologies like AppleScript and ColorSync) that will play an important role in web publishing and asset management.