Tomorrow will see the unveiling of something new from Apple. Across the world Apple fans and sceptics alike are girding their loins with excitement and speculation: and I unashamedly join them. Damned if I know what they’ll actually reveal though.
I’m not going to make any real predictions, except to say that no matter how revolutionary it _actually_ is, it’ll seem _much_ more than that. Your first thoughts, along with a sizeable proportion of the sentient media-consuming populace will be something along the lines of “Holy crap… why didn’t anyone think of that before” (even if it has actually been done, this’ll seem better). Your second thought will probably be somewhat more covetous…
After four years of largely fruitful and mutual partnership, today QuickTime and I part company. When I started producing 360° panoramic work, the only reliable, cross-platform way to publish the work was as a QTVR file. Getting under the skin and providing many of the things panographers take for granted, such as a custom interface, hotspots and interactivity, was dirty work but it could be done at a pinch.
Unfortunately Apple have done nothing to extend the functionality or longevity of the file format for years, and the multimedia aspects of QTVR have been looking rather long in the tooth for some time. Even their products seemed to play less well with QTVRs: when the iPhone failed to support it natively I knew the format was approaching the end of the road…*
I began to make my panoramas accessible in Flash format in 2007. Over the last couple of years it’s become easier to publish, use and view these panoramas; and as they’re Flash files, they’re much more extensible than QT. Although, thanks to the near ubiquity of iTunes, QuickTime has become much more established as a platform, fewer end users view my panoramas in QuickTime than ever. And almost everyone has at least Flash 8 on their machines.
So I’m no longer going to publish QTVR content on this site: over time I’m going to convert or upgrade all the legacy content so it’s available in Flash. I may still need to provide an alternative for commercial applications, but generally speaking, I’ll not be relying on QTVR again. Sniff.
So, sorry to see you go, QTVR… you were a good friend while you lasted. Thanks for the good times…
* I do however support the iPhone, via the wonderful PangeaVR from Brian Greenstone, veteran Mac programmer. I’ve been using it for almost a year now, with great success, as it’s the best way of allowing others to see what I do when I’m out and about. It comes in two flavours: the ‘regular’ free version, which allows you to view online panorama content from Anti Limited and hundreds of other around the world, and a ‘pro’ version which allows you to download panoramas and view them offline. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can view my content by looking up ‘Anti Limited presents Panoramas in your Pocket’ after installing PangeaVR. Enjoy!