afraid to "Think Different," Apple once again broke new ground with
a trio of major announcements at NAB that make it the only computer
hardware company with its own multimedia software architecture and
its own professional-level video editing software.
NAB, in long awaited announcements, Apple released a public beta
of version 4.0 of QuickTime which included a streaming video server
while they also released, Final Cut Pro, the non-linear video editing
from a redesigned interface that includes visible timecode and audio
EQ, the most dramatic new feature of QuickTime 4 is the QuickTime
Streaming Server software. The biggest surprise in this announcement
was that Apple took an Open Source approach to its new streaming
making its new server software available under the Open Source model,
Apple is taking a completely different approach from its main streaming
competitors, RealNetworks and Microsoft. Neither is Apple planning
to sell streaming servers like RealNetworks, nor is it licensing
QuickTime servers within its server sales like Microsoft does with
its NT servers. Rather, Apple wants to make streaming QuickTime
as widely available as possible, and in as many forms as possible.
(For more on this announcement, please see my Video Web column "The
Best is Yet to Come.")
a result, developers (who can download the streaming server source
code at http://www.apple.com/publicsource/)
will be encouraged to customize the server according to their needs
including porting it to other platforms. As part of the announcement,
for example, Apple said that the QuickTime Streaming Server was
already being embraced as a new component of IBM's new VideoCharger
multimedia server and SGI's WebFORCE MediaBase media streaming system.
The QuickTime Streaming Server is also available as a free upgrade
to the Mac OS X Server.
the same time, Apple demonstrated a further commitment to the video
professionals who have frequently depended on its software (as well
as its hardware) by releasing Final Cut Pro. A QuickTime-based,
full-featured, professional-level application (SRP US $999.), Final
Cut Pro includes three-point non-linear editing, match frames, unlimited
layers of compositing, built-in text generators with automated kerning
and leading, and customized special effects via an FXBuilder module.
According to Apple's press release, Final Cut Pro is also enhanced
by the Mac's "true plug and play support of FireWire" so that "video
creators now have a complete, professional-quality, plug-and-play
video editing system that costs less that US $5,000."
In defining Apple's renewed focus on the video market, iCEO, Steve
Jobs added, "With our FireWire-savvy computers, we plan to bring
easy to use desktop video creation to millions of new customers
including television producers, ad agencies, graphics firms, web
site designers, teachers, students and consumers."