Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the font-water.
On September 14th, representatives from Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Google made a joint font announcement in Warsaw: OpenType 1.8 was unveiled, featuring variable fonts, a.k.a. OpenType Font Variations, based on an all-but forgotten Apple technology, GX Variations.
Variable fonts enable type designers to create fonts that have one or more design axes, such as weight or width. Use of a design axis frees designers; for example, if there is a weight axis, a designer is free to choose any arbitrary weight within the font's design space, not just a few pre-set weights.
Many type designers have long used such technology for font design, so there is a backlog of existing typefaces that could be adapted to this technology. But two previous axis-fonts technologies did not take off: Apple's GX/AAT Typography allowed it, and Adobe's Multiple Master did as well. Why should this be different?