QuickTime X vs. Final Cut Studio

Those of you starting to use Snow Leopard will notice the new QuickTime player.


Apple markets this as part of QuickTime X. However, it turns out that the new player is a small part of this new version of QuickTime.

As detailed as part of a 23 page technical review of Snow Leopard over at Ars Technica, as with the rest of the OS, most of the changes to QuickTime are hidden from end-users. The first release of QuickTime X is for developers to create new media manipulation applications.

The way Apple does this is through ‘abstraction’ – hiding which software is carrying out requests for applications. For the last few years developers have been asked to use a part of the OS known as QtKit instead of QuickTime 7. In earlier versions of OS X QtKit called QuickTime 7 to perform operations. In OS 10.6 Snow Leopard some operations are carried out by QuickTime X while most are still performed by QuickTime 7. As future versions of OS X are released, more of the application requests will be carried out by QuickTime X.


A wider advantage of Snow Leopard is that more of the OS is 64-bit compatible. The advantages won’t be immediately apparent for most users. This release (and the fact that it doesn’t cost very much to upgrade) is to encourage developers to create 64-bit applications and drivers. The eventual benefits will be access to virtually unlimited amounts of memory and much better processor performance.

For more on the 18 year history of QuickTime, the advantages provided by QuickTime X and how the 32-bit Final Cut Studio suite fits into the picture, read the QuickTime page of the Snow Leopard review over at Ars Technica.


For more on the QuickTime X player, QuickTime 7 player in Snow Leopard and the question of Pro feature unlocking, there’s another page of the Ars Technica review on these subjects.

  1. Mathieu said:

    Hey ALex, I don’t think that Quicktime X is 64-bit yet. A lot of developers who were waiting for QT X (64) hit a wall when they got the 10.6 seeds. Apple is way behind Microsoft regarding 64bit. I can’t event use a 64bit QT on my Vista 64 PCs.

    • Alex said:

      As you’ll see from the article I’ve linked to here, the fact that some or all of QuickTime is 32 or 64 bit is irrelevant for now.

      The fact that QuickTime X can use GPUs and can provide much faster access and more consistent delivery is much more important. As Final Cut keeps it’s media on disc, the amount of addressable RAM doesn’t matter much. If more work can be offloaded to GPUs and multiple processors, then we’ll see more complex real-time effects at higher resolutions.

  2. Justin Barham said:

    Good overview. Interesting times for Quicktime. I’m excited to see how it will play out down the road re: FCS.

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