In case you haven’t seen, Apple has made a vague public mention of Snow Leopard, the next major release of OS X. Cost: unknown. Availability: a year out, roughly. Contents: "quality" improvements. (I talk about some of the confusion Apple’s software strategy has caused over on Create Digital Music.)

Here’s the visualist tidbit: on the official announcement page, Apple mentions that a key feature will be QuickTime X. I figure this could be fantastic news — or terrible news. For now, we mostly have questions:

  • Will QuickTime X be back-ported to Tiger/Leopard? Will it be on Windows? (Normally, I wouldn’t even ask, but it’s listed as a "Snow Leopard" feature)
  • What does this mean: "features optimized support for modern codecs and more efficient media playback"? (Which codecs? Efficient how?)
  • What will it break?
  • Why is this "media technology pioneered in OS X iPhone"?

What could be good news: this may mean real multi-threading in QuickTime playback, at least on Mac OS if not (wishful thinking) on Windows, where QuickTime is a fourth-class citizen.

There are some other juicy bits, as well. For fans of the GPU, there’s a new OpenCL library for doing general-purpose computing on the GPU. (GPGPU) And hidden in the OS X Server announcement for Snow Leopard, multiple video inputs:


"Support for dual-video source capture lets users record both a presenter and a presentation screen, allowing a picture-in-picture style ideal for podcasting lectures."

I imagine we could do some damage with that beyond lecture podcasting.

Unfortunately, OS X is generally covered under NDA until it’s released. So now, we wait — and hope that QuickTime X doesn’t cause compatibility issues with our favorite VJ apps.