Snow Leopard's QuickTime may pack Pro features at no cost

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
An architectural overhaul to Apple's QuickTime media software due as part of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard may ship with a media player that bundles once-premium features at no cost.



That's just one of several Snow Leopard-related tidbits to crop up in recent weeks after the Cupertino-based Mac maker equipped its developer community with the first pre-release builds of the next-generation OS since early December.



Removal of Pro licensing



Apple has distributed the QuickTime multimedia framework with a limited version of QuickTime Player for so long that the original reason for adding the optional Pro version has almost been lost to history. QuickTime Pro unlocks advanced recording, sharing, saving and exporting functions after users buy a Pro license key, which the company sells for $29.95 and also bundles with some of its Pro software titles.



The QuickTime Pro licensing system appears due to change. A person familiar with the latest distributions of Snow Leopard told MacRumors earlier this week that the software arrived with a version of Player that unlocks all QuickTime Pro's existing features by default.



A few years ago Apple began highlighting Pro features as grayed-out menu items in the Player software to entice users to upgrade. Those options would become immediately available once the user registered QuickTime by entering a Pro license into the QuickTime preference pane.



Though the accessibility of Pro features in the Snow Leopard builds could simply be a measured aimed at affording developers access to test the new version of QuickTime broadly, it was also reported that QuickTime system preference panel has been updated to completely omit the registration pane -- a sign that the change may be permanent.



In recent years, Apple has loosened its grip on some legacy QuickTime Pro features while debuting others. In early 2007, the company added a new feature to the paid software that allowed users to export video on their computers in a format suitable for its then fledgling Apple TV media hub. A few months later it unlocked full-screen playback, a feature once exclusive to the Pro software.



QuickTime Player 7.5 basic (left) compared to an unlocked Pro version (right).



Apple is shedding its need to directly monetize QuickTime as it builds products and software that earn revenue for the company using QuickTime as a catalyst technology. Back when Apple was only selling Macintosh computers and spending a lot of money developing software to differentiate its systems from generic PCs, the need to find a way to directly earn revenue from its system software was more critical.



Many attempts to monetize QuickTime



Shortly after the initial development of QuickTime 1.0 in 1991, Apple attempted to bring in money to cover its development by packaging the technology into a $149 Pro version of its Mac System 7 operating system software in 1993. That plan failed miserably, not just because Mac users of the day were accustomed to getting System Software updates from Apple for free, but also because QuickTime and the equally new AppleScript were bundled with the bloated, complex, and system taxing PowerTalk, a collaboration software framework built upon AppleTalk.



QuickTime 2.0, released in 1994, was the only version to be released as a paid-only upgrade. It was also the first version offered for Windows. By version 2.1, Apple was back to offering QuickTime for free, largely to spur rapid cross platform adoption as it fought with Microsoft to deliver the best video playback platform.



QuickTime languished within the struggling Apple during its dark period of the mid-90s. Apple had brought a suit against Microsoft related to code theft that had used the San Francisco Canyon Company to take Apple's technology and install it as part of Microsoft's Video for Windows.



Meanwhile, Microsoft met with Apple's new executives from NeXT and threatened in 1997 to destroy Apple's entire creative multimedia business if it didn't agree to "knife the baby" and drop video playback on the Windows platform, according to testimony given during in the Microsoft monopoly trial.



Steve Jobs brokered a deal with Microsoft that dropped the QuickTime code theft case in exchange for a visible partnership that made Microsoft an investor in Apple and ensured regular new releases of Office for Mac.



Apple also released QuickTime 3.0 in 1998 with a new business model: the software itself would be free, but a special Pro version could be unlocked for $30. The Pro version only enabled certain features of the MoviePlayer application, not the core software itself, making the restriction easy to bypass.



As QuickTime 4, 5 and 6 were released in rapid succession in 1999, 2001, and 2002, the business model behind QuickTime changed from one where Apple was trying to sell foundational operating system technology to consumers to one where the company began using QuickTime itself to develop and support real applications. For example, iTunes relies upon QuickTime for all its underlying media handling needs. Apple's Pro Apps, particularly Final Cut, and its iLife consumer suite are also built on QuickTime.



In 2005, Apple released QuickTime 7, an entirely new architecture that focused the company on MPEG-4 H.264 as a video codec, making it simpler to manage video across devices from iPods to desktops and future devices such as Apple TV and the iPhone. With QuickTime now embedded throughout Apple's products, the demand for earning money from the core software itself is no longer there, enabling the company to enhance users' experience by dropping the legacy Pro licensing fee.



Apple's inability to successfully license QuickTime as a raw software technology to the broad consumer market helps to explain why the company also makes no effort to sell Mac OS X to other hardware makers or as a retail product, and instead bundles its software with hardware sales.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,122member
    If Snow Leopard comes with an unlocked QT Pro what feature will you all enjoy the most?



    I might enjoy downloading HD trailers but then if I can more easily edit my .mov files that would help as well.
  • Reply 2 of 66
    nuff said.
  • Reply 3 of 66
    asciiascii Posts: 5,685member
    The ability to save a video as different formats coming free with the OS would be great. Yes, there are open source solutions, but not as good as a pre-installed, vendor supported product that's fully integrated with the rest of the system.
  • Reply 4 of 66
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    If Snow Leopard comes with an unlocked QT Pro what feature will you all enjoy the most?



    Not having to pay for it.
  • Reply 5 of 66
    Quicktime is a surprisingly powerful video editor - it's a shame they couldn't add a bit more interface to guide users (or incorporate the features into iMovie). This makes sense and can only help encourage people to use Quicktime.
  • Reply 6 of 66
    Holding back the QT features at this point is kind of cheap.



    Did previous version of OS X distribute the developer releases with QT locked?



    There are tons of applescripts floating around to automate qt tasks, but I've never had much luck with them.



    A better interface would be nice, but not if QT grew to be bloated.



    End of random QT thoughts....
  • Reply 7 of 66
    I bought the Pro licence once and at the next major upgrade it turned out I had to pay the Pro upgrade again... Once bitten...
  • Reply 8 of 66
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,161moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrtotes View Post


    Quicktime is a surprisingly powerful video editor - it's a shame they couldn't add a bit more interface to guide users (or incorporate the features into iMovie). This makes sense and can only help encourage people to use Quicktime.



    I agree, I think that would be a great to have a more advanced interface for it, although the edit features would need to be hidden in playback mode.



    Perhaps if there was a lozenge at the top right and clicking it would expand the video, audio tracks and possibly text tracks into a format similar to imovie. Then you could do track editing and Core effects to selections.



    One big problem with iMovie and other editors is having to convert video into a common format for editing and then you have to convert back out again. For high end editing, it's not such an issue as you want frame accurate editing and have as few timeline renders as possible but for quicktime edits, you generally want to just cut stuff up or modify audio tracks, colors, brightness etc of certain parts of the video without the headache of full video encodes.



    I've wished Apple would open the Pro version for all users for a long time. The developer SDK was open and 3rd party software allowed the features of QT Pro for free and more, like batch encodes. I wonder if they will do the same for the Windows version though.
  • Reply 9 of 66
    Does anyone else remember Steve saying that Snow Leopard wouldn't introduce "new features" and it was just to optimize the system, clean things up, etc. When I read that, I thought "well, if it's Intel only, then no new features wouldn't really matter on my G5, etc."



    But this whole week has been a series of articles mentioning all the new "goodies" with SN!! Maybe I want QT Pro features, and dynamic printer libraries, and better communication with Exchange, etc. And I'm willing to pay for the upgrade . . . but I don't need a new computer!



    All of the G5 Xserves out there . . . wouldn't it make sense to make THOSE more compatible with Windows servers?



    I seriously hope that Apple isn't dropping us this way.
  • Reply 10 of 66
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,550member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    If Snow Leopard comes with an unlocked QT Pro what feature will you all enjoy the most?



    I use QTPro for editing little movies shot in my stills camera. Its just quick and easy once they are in iPhoto. I will trim and join and optimize. But the feature I like the most is the ability to flip the movie on its side. I have a wide screen camera and I can shoot with the camera sideways or upways as I like, QTP sees me right. You might be able to do this in iMovie but I don't have iMovie 09 and iMovie 08 is... well, you know...
  • Reply 11 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,512member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mn_hawk View Post


    Does anyone else remember Steve saying that Snow Leopard wouldn't introduce "new features" and it was just to optimize the system, clean things up, etc. When I read that, I thought "well, if it's Intel only, then no new features wouldn't really matter on my G5, etc."



    But this whole week has been a series of articles mentioning all the new "goodies" with SN!! Maybe I want QT Pro features, and dynamic printer libraries, and better communication with Exchange, etc. And I'm willing to pay for the upgrade . . . but I don't need a new computer!



    All of the G5 Xserves out there . . . wouldn't it make sense to make THOSE more compatible with Windows servers?



    I seriously hope that Apple isn't dropping us this way.



    They didn't say that they wouldn't release any new features, just that the release was focussed on under the hood work.
  • Reply 12 of 66
    This is an interesting history lesson. I remember seeing the original Quicktime 1.0 beta back in 1989 when it was just an interesting (but novel) player for 160x120 video. Over time the features got better but it did languish with all other Apple technologies in the mid-1990s. I remember when the Quicktime Pro feature was first introduced back in '96 (I think), there was a fair amount of grumbling in the user base, but we all went ahead and paid it, not that we specifically needed the features, but Apple was doing so badly and desperately needed the money. When System 9 was released and Apple wanted payment for that (unusual for previous Mac OS releases), users pretty much ponied up and paid for it, again because Apple needed the money or it was going to fail as an ongoing concern.



    Now Apple has a 40 billion dollar run rate a year and $28+ billion bank account (remember when the $150 million dollar Microsoft investment was a lot of money?). The number of people who still buy QTPro is probably so small that it's not even visible on any sales radar screens. And serial numbers are widely pirated I'm afraid.
  • Reply 13 of 66
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    I've posted this elsewhere and still think it would be a good product option for Apple:



    Bundle all the licensed codecs that we currently have to manage separately and sell that as a Quicktime add-on; MPEG-2 (already a separate Apple product), Flip4Mac/WMV playback and export, REAL playback, Ogg, and everything remaining that's currently covered by Perian. I'd pay $30* for that, and let Apple manage the updates and potential software conflicts.



    It's not the same as QT Pro, but it would save all the individual users out there from cobbling this together themselves.



    * I don't know what kind of licensing terms Apple would get, or if $30 is enough to cover all this, but that's a reasonable target price to start with.
  • Reply 14 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    An architectural overhaul to Apple's QuickTime media software due as part of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard may ship with a media player that bundles once-premium features at no cost.



    Maybe they will call it Quicktime X.
  • Reply 15 of 66
    ivladivlad Posts: 735member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mn_hawk View Post


    Does anyone else remember Steve saying that Snow Leopard wouldn't introduce "new features" and it was just to optimize the system, clean things up, etc. When I read that, I thought "well, if it's Intel only, then no new features wouldn't really matter on my G5, etc."



    But this whole week has been a series of articles mentioning all the new "goodies" with SN!! Maybe I want QT Pro features, and dynamic printer libraries, and better communication with Exchange, etc. And I'm willing to pay for the upgrade . . . but I don't need a new computer!



    All of the G5 Xserves out there . . . wouldn't it make sense to make THOSE more compatible with Windows servers?



    I seriously hope that Apple isn't dropping us this way.



    I don't know if you didn't get the memo or smthg, but Snow Leopard will be Intel only OS.
  • Reply 16 of 66
    irelandireland Posts: 17,207member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    Maybe they will call it Quicktime X.



    Who cares what the call it, its name of no consequence, besides marketing.
  • Reply 17 of 66
    About time!!
  • Reply 18 of 66
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    You had me until the last sentence:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple's inability to successfully license QuickTime as a raw software technology to the broad consumer market helps to explain why the company also makes no effort to sell Mac OS X to other hardware makers or as a retail product, and instead bundles its software with hardware sales.



    Come on - the failure of QuickTime licensing has nothing to do with Apple's decision on licensing OS X. Nothing. That's a throwaway sentence that should have been thrown away.
  • Reply 19 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    They didn't say that they wouldn't release any new features, just that the release was focussed on under the hood work.





    It was report on AI on June 4th 2008 that there would be no "major features".



    Quote from Article:

    Citing a person familiar with the situation, the technology website confirms several details of the next major Mac OS X upgrade first reported on Tuesday, including a scheduled release as soon as Macworld 2009 this coming January, and that it will not introduce any major new features.



    Link to AI article:

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...rd_report.html
  • Reply 20 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,512member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacOldTimer View Post


    It was report on AI on June 4th 2008 that there would be no "major features".



    Quote from Article:

    Citing a person familiar with the situation, the technology website confirms several details of the next major Mac OS X upgrade first reported on Tuesday, including a scheduled release as soon as Macworld 2009 this coming January, and that it will not introduce any major new features.



    Link to AI article:

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...rd_report.html



    As I said, Apple never said that there wouldn't be any new features. That article just shows what I said. I didn't mention MAJOR features.
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