December is traditionally the time of year when Mac users, developers and Apple are concentrating on one of the biggest shows of the year, Macworld Expo San Francisco. This year, amid the planning for Expo, some people at Apple are also planning for another important show for the company,
The upcoming show will mark the third anniversary of QuickTime Live, a show dedicated to Apple’s QuickTime technology. The show’s attendance and the diversity of its attendees has grown over the past couple of years.
“In the past couple of years it has grown into the center of the QuickTime universe,” Frank Casanova, director of QuickTime product marketing, told MacCentral. “All things QuickTime throughout the year revolve around QuickTime Live. More of the QuickTime community get together at this conference than any other time of the year, whether it’s Apple’s QuickTime organization including executive management, product marketing and engineering as well as all the people in our ecosystem.”
When the show first started, attendees consisted mostly of a few QuickTime developers and people making movie trailers; last year, people that write software that access QuickTime APIs — but not exclusively QuickTime developers — starting showing up to talk to Apple engineers to get hands-on help with QuickTime related problems. “It’s the one place you can go, regardless of who you are, and just learn everything you wanted to know about QuickTime,” said Casanova.
If you attended QuickTime Live last year and felt the schedule was too full for your liking, you should like some of the changes in next year’s show. Apple has made more time available for attendees to get together and talk about QuickTime and what they are doing with the technology — something that’s beneficial for everyone, but hard to do if you’re running from session to session all day long.
QuickTime Live will also give attendees a chance to get more information on Apple’s implementation of MPEG-4. “MPEG-4 will play a bigger roll than it has in the past because we’ll have completed more of our work,” said Casanova. “We’ll be able to talk in more depth and demonstrate in more ways how QuickTime and MPEG work together. We want the world to see how much progress we have made.”
Developer releases of the next version of the QuickTime application that supports MPEG-4 are already in the hands of select companies. Apple is getting feedback from these developers and implementing changes and fixes to the software in order to reach the next step in the development cycle — a public preview. Of course, after the public preview comes the Gold Master and then the software will be released to the public.
Casanova gave no dates for a public preview release. When Apple released QuickTime 5 public preview, 2.5 – 3 million people downloaded the software from Apple’s Web site.
Apple is a co-founder of the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) — an organization dedicated to the development of products and technologies that adhere to industry standards. QuickTime was chosen by the International Organization for Standards (ISO) as the file format for MPEG-4, and Apple is working with other ISMA members to bring interoperable MPEG-4 products and technologies to market.
Real Networks announced earlier this month its support for MPEG-4. Real said that MPEG-4 is support now through server and client-side plug-ins — native support for MPEG-4 will be included in the next release of RealSystem.
“The announcement by Real to include MPEG-4 is a welcome change,” said Casanova. “We’re really happy that they decided to change their direction or at least add this standards-based direction because that just benefits the world. Content providers and customers alike will benefit from Real and Apple and all the other people supporting MPEG-4. We applaud their decision.”
Theoretically, with MPEG-4, content authored in QuickTime could be dropped on Real’s application and it would recognize and play the content.
With Apple and Real making their commitment to MPEG-4, only one other company has to make its intentions known — Microsoft.
“We’re certainly waiting to see what Microsoft decides to do. We would welcome Microsoft with open arms into the MPEG-4 community, where we can all share files and share formats to make the whole streaming world work together. That may seem like a grandiose thing to wish for, but with Real joining the MPEG-4 bandwagon, jumping on a train we started years ago, that’s one big step in the right direction.”
QuickTime Live will be held from February 11-14 at the Beverly Hills Hilton, Beverly Hills, CA. More information on sessions, pricing and how to register for the show are available on
Apple’s QuickTime Live Web site.