pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...
I remember back about then, in a type shop in New York, working on ads designed by a major agency touting Apple's desktop publishing capabilities. The ads were being produced on a dedicated DOS-based typesetting front end printing to a Linotype L300. The Mac-generated paper comps (mockups) we were working from were pretty awful.
The worm turned a few years later, when, at another type shop, I supervised production of a raft of IBM ads containing language which implied but did not state that the ads were produced on IBM equipment. They were, of course, produced from scratch on Macs using Quark, though the ad agency twiddled around with PCs and Pagemaker to produce mockups. That was back in the days of Quark 2 and 3. IBM was still pretending its ads were done on Pagemaker. Quark by then was the only wheel in town for high-end production, but even then, the better you knew it the more you hated it. Yes, some of us had been waiting that long for InDesign.
A bit later, IBM moved all its advertising to Ogilvy & Mather, and I followed shortly afterwards. O&M finally persuaded IBM to drop the Pagemaker pretense, because O&M wasn't about to drop Mac/Quark, and O&M was big enough to talk strong even to IBM (and was giving IBM the first decent creative it had had for some time).
Another ad agency that had retained a small piece of IBM work was sucking up to Big Blue by running a small PC/Pagemaker section for IBM work. They called me in to see if I was interested in taking over for the departing lead for that section. The lead, whom I knew professionally, made it graphically clear why he was departing, and compassionately and successfully exerted himself to persuade me not to take over the disaster. One reason was that nobody in New York who was any good was willing to work on Pagemaker.
But now that it's accepted that graphics production is done on the Mac, all is transparency and light, no? Har har har har har har har ha-ck gakhhh -ahem.
The ad agencies claimed to be doing work that was actually sent out to type shops. After the type shops were proclaimed obsolete (that is, after kickbacks from the type shops were replaced by kickbacks from creative temp agencies supplying production people to the ad agencies), the agencies claimed that their designers were doing work that was actually being done by a separate in-house production department (staffed, back then, by former type shop people). The designers--you guessed it--just twiddled around producing more or less awful comps, and sent them to production to "take care of the details". They made a pretence of sending the digital files too, though they could rarely assemble all of them.
At one ad agency, they had three levels of this--the designers sent their comps and files to a department staffed by people they found more congenial than those awful production people. That department, after doing I know not what, sent the stuff to MY department, where the work was done that went to the press.
It's the designers, of course, or their bosses, who were interviewed by the trade press and the software vendors about production. As these experts walked the visitors through the "pre-press" department, we'd hear them explain how the work was done using technology that we had quietly stopped using months ago, or used for something else, or had never used at all.
It's the designers, of course, or their bosses, who you see in the Apple ads, and who were about all Cupertino ever knew about print graphics production in the digital studio.
The one constant through time is that if a moderately difficult job goes to press without problems and looks good when printed, it was probably not done by the person who is supposed to have done it, may not have been done using the claimed technology, and was certainly not done using the claimed techniques.