Feeds

Happy birthday, Apple QuickTime

Released 20 years ago today

Security for virtualized datacentres

Codec compendium

The lawsuit would continue in and out of courts unresolved until August 1997 when Apple and Microsoft settled, part of the two firms' reconciliation followed long-departed co-founder Steve Jobs' return to Apple's helm that year.

QuickTime trailer site as it is today

QuickTime 3.0's Sorenson codec paved the way for Apple's movie trailer site

QuickTime itself had changed during that time. Version 1.5 had added the Cinepak – aka Compact Video – codec from SuperMac, a company that developed multi-processor technology for Macs. Cinepak added the ability to present subtitles over the video.

In 1993, QuickTime 1.6 brought fresh tweaks, while version 1.6.2 added support for Apple's new processor platform, PowerPC. February 1994 saw the release of QuickTime 2.0 and with it MIDI playback. The arrival of 2.1 and 2.5 saw enhanced music playback, the addition of sprites, and the ability to create and present panoramic VR-style images.

QuickTime 3 Player

QuickTime Player through the ages: circa 1998...

QuickTime 3.0 gained the Sorenson video codec when it was released in March 1998. Sorenson's superior compression tech allowed coders to deliver much better results than they could achieve with Cinepak, and the move laid the foundation for Apple's popular movie trailers site.

QuickTime 4.0, released in June 1999, added the MPEG 1 Layer 3 audio codec - aka MP3 - to the software. Version 4.1 added support for variable bit-rate MP3s. July 2002's release of QuickTome 6.0 added MPEG 4 video and AAC audio - both key components of what would become Apple's iTunes content stores.

QuickTime X Player

...and into the early noughties...

QuickTime is now at version 10.1 – under the QuickTime X brand – on Mac OS X, and 7.7.1 on Windows.

Looking back, it's easy to dismiss the early QuickTime – with its tiny image size and scratchy, low bit-rate sound – as a gimmick, but the technology was genuinely ground-breaking at the time of its release. Computers had shown video before, but not without some very expensive add-on technology. This was the first time video could be done on an ordinary home machine.

QuickTime X Player

...circa 2005...

Software developers certainly appreciated the technology, and if many of the games and CD-Rom presentations that made use of it left a lot to be desired – video clips designed to blend into a pre-rendered background but failing to do so through a mix of misalignment and 8-bit colour dithering were commonplace – it was not through want of trying.

QuickTime X Player

...and QuickTime X in 2011

And its plug-in architecture has allowed QuickTime to adopt, and developers to use, a wide array of open code standards. Even those not favoured by Apple can be inserted into the OS this way, as the successful Perian project has shown. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained
They just cannae do it in time, says analyst
Slap my Imp up: Bullfrog's Dungeon Keeper
Monsters need to earn a living too
Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK
Is EMBIGGENED Apple mobile REALLY that popular?
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
The Apple Watch and CROTCH RUBBING. How are they related?
Plus: 'NostrilTime' wristjob vid action
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.