ColorSync controls to cross platforms

News: ColorSync controls to cross platforms

Rebecca Gulick

And, in an important third-party endorsement, Adobe Systems Inc. pledged to incorporate ColorSync into its cross-platform graphics applications.

Announcing the release of ColorSync 2.5 in his keynote address, interim Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the company will release a version for Windows in the fourth quarter or in early 1999. Besides Adobe, Jobs said Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.1, due in April, will support ColorSync.

Joining Jobs at the keynote session, Adobe CEO John Warnock promised support for ColorSync in future versions of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, PageMaker and Acrobat. Warnock described the technology as the “lingua franca for cross-application color management.”

According to Carla Ow, Apple product line manager for OS graphics technologies, Adobe’s adherence to ColorSync APIs “will assure ease of use and compatibility … and will give us the opportunity to actualize the business potential of digital devices such as printers and scanners. ColorSync provides a framework for color management to exist in an open environment.”

Version 2.5 adds support for Apple-events scripting, which lets users write custom scripts to automate repetitive color management tasks such as matching, proofing, embedding and batch-processing, Apple said. The package comes with a set of sample automation scripts.

A new monitor-calibration framework also makes its debut in the revision. Apple said the plug-in architecture accommodates third-party monitor-calibration software via the Monitors and Sounds control panel.

“We’re actually providing a host so applications can communicate but other third parties can add value,” Ow said. Current third-party color calibration tools are available from Bayer Corp.’s Agfa division, Eastman Kodak Co., Imation Corp. and Linotype CPS Co., she said.

ColorSync 2.5 also features an array of new utilities and add-ons, including Kodak’s Color Matching Module, Version 2.0 of the ColorSync Photoshop plug-ins and press profiles.

Like previous versions, ColorSync 2.5 offers the color matching method that Apple co-developed with Linotype. Microsoft Corp. licensed this same technology for Image Color Management 2, its own OS-level color management technology reportedly due to ship with the next version of Windows NT.

Jeff Cain, channel manager at Hauppauge, N.Y.-based Linotype, said the Apple and Microsoft color management systems will likely be complementary because they share Linotype’s core technology. In addition, Cain said he expects Windows programmers to emulate the work flow from the Mac environment, given the head start that Apple and third-party developers have had in the color arena.

Prepress industry insiders, however, questioned Apple’s new ColorSync strategy from a business perspective. “In theory, it’s great,” one insider said. The move may let Apple hold on to its dominance of the publishing market, he said, but he added it will require resources to implement. “So where is the revenue stream?”

While the cross-platform move may make ColorSync more palatable for developers, some sources questioned the advantages Apple could offer users over Microsoft’s ICM 2 technology. “If it’s the same, why not buy Windows?” said a vendor who requested anonymity.

“Owning core pieces puts us in the strong position to drive the standards,” Ow countered. She said ColorSync 2.5 “begins to show that Apple’s greatest strength is that we own key technologies that are critical to the design and publishing customer.”

ColorSync 2.5 is a free update available from Apple’s Web site at

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