It, as I've intimated here, boasts new features:
- Transparency ("color-level" transparency)
- Composition Zones, which allow for mulitple layout artists to work on a single document.
- An improved interface, with dockable and undockable floating palettes and a much-improved context sensitive Measurments palette, allowing users to approach an InDesign-like experience (access of most all functions through palettes), but enough like the traditional Quark UI that Quarksters don't have to change thier ways.
- Job jackets, which enable project specifications to travel with the file itself.
- And the most unique feature, for Quark: a street price of $749 (about $250 less than previous versions) and an upgrade price of $249, regardless of version, from version 3 through version 6.5. As Sandee Cohen points out here (at CreativePro.com) that's a significant improvment from earlier, where Quark charged you more depending on the age of the version you upgraded from.
The only competition for QuarkXPress 6.5 wasn't Adobe, though...it awas also QuarkXPress itself, specifically QuarkXPress 4. 5 wasn't recieved well and 6 didn't compel. The new XPress looks like just the sort of XPress that Quarksters have been wanting, and should keep committed Quark fans "on the rez".
Of course, because of past sins, Quark has lost a lot of former users; it's position at the top of the DTP heap (enterprise and single user) can no longer be seen as secure. Adobe's insurgency has kicked Quark in the ass, and after the cool reception 6 and 6.5 got, Quark finally brings it with 7.
I wouldn't expect this to be the InDesign "killer" (an ironic term, that), however. The shops and indviduals that have switched to Adobe aren't likely, given the many reasons why they left, switch back to Quark. I personally wouldn't say that XPress has pulled even with InDesign, exactly, but XPress 7 will keep Quark in the game...and keep Adobe innovating.
Having used both, while QuarkXPress 7 is a very good product now indeed, the company that makes it still has to stay on the game to keep up.
Really, regardless of whether or not you're a hardcore Quarkster or an unabashed InDesignista, we're all gonna win on this one. Quark's going to keep Adobe on its toes, and back the other way as well.
Quark, Inc: http://www.quark.com
QuarkXPress 7: http://www.quark.com/products/xpress/