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Apple Releases QuickTime 6 Ahead Of Expo

Apple Releases QuickTime 6 Ahead Of Expo

by , 5:00 PM EDT, July 15th, 2002

Apple has quietly released the final version of QuickTime 6 today, available now from Apple's QuickTime download page. The release comes a mere two days before Steve Jobs kicks off MACWORLD New York with the keynote address on Wednesday. As announced, the new version of QuickTime has a host of new features, including the new movie standard, MPEG-4, and the new audio standard, AAC. From Apple's QuickTime 6 New Features list:

MPEG-4 File Format (.mp4) Since the QuickTime file format is at the foundation of MPEG-4, QuickTime 6 supports .mp4 files as first-class citizens. So with QuickTime 6, you can author professional-quality, ISO-compliant MPEG-4 audio and video files that can be played back not only by QuickTime 6, but by any other MPEG-4-compliant player. Learn more about MPEG-4.

MPEG-4 Video The high-performance MPEG-4 video codec included in QuickTime 6 provides the highest quality results across a wide spectrum of data rates ÷ from narrowband to broadband and beyond. This revolutionary codec offers compression times and video quality that rival those of the best proprietary codecs, yet it provides interoperability with other MPEG-4 players and devices. Tour the MPEG-4 Video Gallery.

AAC Audio AAC is the new standard in professional audio. It provides more efficient compression than older formats such as MP3, yet delivers quality rivaling that of uncompressed CD audio. The QuickTime AAC codec builds upon new, state-of-the-art signal processing technology from Dolby Laboratories, and brings true variable bit rate (VBR) encoding to QuickTime. Listen for yourself in the MPEG-4 (AAC) Audio Gallery. Learn more about MPEG-4 AAC audio.

Skip Protection Apple's patent-pending technology for preventing interruptions or skips in streaming media just got better. QuickTime 6 and QuickTime Streaming Server 4 iron out the bandwidth bumps on the Internet.

Updated User Interface QuickTime 6 includes up-to-date access to the best in QuickTime content as well as a new, easy-to-use "Favorites" interface.

And Much More QuickTime 6 also includes a new DVC Pro PAL video codec, support for Macromedia Flash 5, a new JPEG 2000 still image codec for Mac OS X, enhanced AppleScript support, and a host of new developer application programming interfaces (APIs).


A screen shot from the new QT 6 player
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

Apple first previewed QuickTime 6 at the QuickTime Live! conference in February. At the time, however, disagreements between Apple and the MPEG-LA over the licensing of MPEG-4 technology held back the release. Early last month the licensing talks began to look promising, thus prompting Apple to release a public preview of QuickTime 6.One month later, the final version is in our hands.

For more information on QuickTime 6 and its new features, visit Apple's QuickTime page. To download QuickTime 6, visit the QuickTime download page.

The Mac Observer Spin:

We find the timing of this release to be interesting, seeming more like a "surprise attack" by Steve prior to his keynote on Wednesday. Hey, we're not complaining. This release seems to suggest that a licence agreement suitable to both Apple and the MPEG-LA group has been reached, and that in and of itself is an important step forward in the adoption of MPEG-4 and QuickTime 6. MPEG-4 is likely to become a widely accepted standard in the near future for both video an audio. In addition, it is likely that AAC Audio will take a swipe at MP3 for our digital audio needs. With the release of QuickTime 6, we may very well see a greater adoption of both MPEG-4 and QuickTime simply because of the quality and standards-oriented nature of the technology. QT6 is bound to be a pre-expo home run.

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