today in apple history: quicktime brings video to the masses

QuickTime brought multimedia to Macs — and the masses. Photo illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

December 2, 1991: Apple ships its first public version of QuickTime, bringing video to Mac users running System 7.

Containing codecs for graphics, animation and video, QuickTime confirms Apple’s status as a leading multimedia tech company. The software also starts us all off on the path to playing video on our computers. This fundamental transformation of Macs into media machines eventually leads to iTunes Movies, YouTube and more.

QuickTime: A long-time dream of multimedia Macs

Being able to play video footage using a computer was a big ambition in the 1980s and early 1990s. At the top of the ladder in Hollywood, pioneers like George Lucas and, later, Steve Jobs (who bought Pixar from Lucas) saw that film was headed in a digital direction — whether for special effects, computer animation, footage preservation or other reasons.

On the consumer end, Apple helped pave the way for digital video. In the 1980s, Apple engineer Steve Perlman wrote a program called QuickScan that allowed video playback on a Mac. Although it got a public demo, Apple canceled QuickScan before release. (The move came largely because the software required its own graphics chip to run.)

This work eventually transitioned into a program called QuickTime. Apple demoed QuickTime at its second Worldwide Developers Conference in May 1991, before shipping the first beta version in early July.

The first QuickTime video ever shown to audiences was Apple’s iconic “1984” ad for the Macintosh. Lead developer Bruce Leak played it at 320×240 pixels resolution.

An innovative approach to video

One of the most revolutionary things about QuickTime wasn’t simply that it let you play videos, but how it let you do so. Its name emphasized a time-based component, in which the soundtrack would continue and the footage frame rate would vary to accommodate it.If your CPU proved too slow to handle a high frame rate, QuickTime skipped over some video frames in order to keep up with the soundtrack. On a then-current Mac IIci or IIcx system, for example, you could expect to play QuickTime movies of around 160×120 pixels at around 10 frames per second.This caused some people to criticize QuickTime. They were apparently unaware that comparable Windows PCs at the time were still struggling — and failing — to provide a standardized audio playback (with no video!) option.QuickTime, by comparison, juggled audio, video, text, time codes and other time-related information. And the software kept it all in sync with the (comparatively) limited hardware of 1991-era Macs.

Apple: A video pioneer

today in apple history: quicktime brings video to the masses

QuickTime sparked a vide revolution.Photo: Apple

After launching QuickTime, Apple continued to build on its multimedia capabilities. Other versions of QuickTime, which Apple eventually ported to Windows, brought new, better features.

In the early 2000s, Apple became the go-to company for encoding and hosting streaming movie trailers, which ran far better than any rival option. Apple also won an Emmy for its FireWire technology (exactly a decade after QuickTime first shipped). The high-speed FireWire interface standard let home users easily upload self-shot footage to edit on their Macs.

Today, Apple is taking a stab at Netflix-style original content with Apple TV+. Should it live up to its potential (and, right now, it’s doing pretty darn well on the quality front) it will be a worthy continuation of QuickTime’s industry-transforming legacy.

Do you remember seeing video for the first time on a Mac? Were you there to witness the early days of QuickTime? Leave your comments below.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Maruti Gypsy to Ford Fiesta: 5 used CULT cars cheaper than iPhone X

Well, the iPhone X is unarguably among the best smartphones available in the market. On sale for Rs 1,08,930 (as listed on Apple India’s official website), the flagship smartphone from Apple doesn’t come cheap. Sure, it packs in a lot of features, but do you know that you can buy some ...

View more: Maruti Gypsy to Ford Fiesta: 5 used CULT cars cheaper than iPhone X

Apple to Require Employee Proof of COVID-19 Booster: Report

Unvaccinated employees will need negative COVID-19 tests to enter Apple workplaces Apple will require retail and corporate employees to provide proof of a COVID-19 booster shot, The Verge reported on Saturday, citing an internal email. Starting January 24, unvaccinated employees or those who haven’t submitted proof of vaccination will ...

View more: Apple to Require Employee Proof of COVID-19 Booster: Report

Maruti Baleno, Honda City Now Available at Cost of Apple iPhone XS

Apple had recently launched the new iPhone variants some time back and as expected, they are priced par belief. Every other September, Apple unveils a new iPhone which sees the price of the old one drop and existing customers rush to the showrooms to purchase the latest avatar. However, for ...

View more: Maruti Baleno, Honda City Now Available at Cost of Apple iPhone XS

Genesis and Hyundai Could Get Apple CarKey Support by Summer

Both Genesis and Hyundai could be getting Apple CarKey support by the summer. Should it happen, iPhone or Apple Watch users will be able to open their cars through the use of their Apple products. Apple CarKey Support Could Come to Hyundai According to the story by AppleInsider, drivers ...

View more: Genesis and Hyundai Could Get Apple CarKey Support by Summer

CatLife has just released for Apple and Android devices

The new game CatLife has been released by Candywriter, who are the makers of BitLife and DogLife!

View more: CatLife has just released for Apple and Android devices

Roblox Islands Pineapple Update Patch Notes

We've got all of the details that have been released on the new Roblox Islands Pineapple update!

View more: Roblox Islands Pineapple Update Patch Notes

Amazon Great Republic Day Sale 2022: Best offers on smartphones including iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Amazon Great Republic Day Sale 2022 offers are live in India. The e-commerce platform is offering several deals and discounts on smartphones across all ranges. In addition to the best Amazon Great Republic Day sale offers, customers with an SBI credit card can avail 10 percent discount. iPhone 12 ...

View more: Amazon Great Republic Day Sale 2022: Best offers on smartphones including iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Apple AR/VR Headset's Potential Name

What could be the name for the upcoming Apple goggles? Some actually say it could be called “Apple Vision.” Apple Rumored to Create Its Virtual Headset with AR Capabilities As of press time, Apple is strongly rumored to be creating its own virtual reality (VR) headset with AR capabilities. ...

View more: Apple AR/VR Headset's Potential Name

When will DogLife be available on iOS/Apple devices?

Get the COVID-19 booster shot, Apple reportedly tells staff

Apple iPad Air 5 Rumored to Launch in Early 2022

iPhone Safari Bug Can Leak Your Google Account Info, Let Hackers Spy on Your Browsing History: Is There a Fix?

How to pre-register for My Hero Ultra Impact (Android or iPhone)

Genesis to add Apple CarKey unlocking and engine start tech: report

How to spoiler an image on Discord Mobile (iPhone, iOS, Android)

How to change Nickname on Discord Mobile (iPhone, iOS, Android)

Motorola’s ‘Frontier’ Project is a Flagship Smartphone Says Leaks, to Rival Samsung, Apple, and MORE; Specs?

ProMotion 120Hz could stick to iPhone 14 Pro models after all

iPhone 14 non-Pro models might not get ProMotion displays after all

iPad Air 5 with ultra-wide cam might beautify video calls

OTHER TECH NEWS

;