Apple unveiled QuickTime X at the WWDC keynote. Here are their bullet point slides:

  • Modern foundation
  • Hardware Acceleration
  • ColorSync
  • HTTP Streaming

I’m actually quite keen to know how the new QuickTime X works. What will it mean for live visualists? What does it mean for developers, not only on Mac but Windows? What does it mean for open source projects built on QuickTime, projects vital to music and visual applications and innovation?

Here’s the problem: we’re not allowed to talk about that. Apple didn’t talk much about what’s in QuickTime at their public WWDC keynote. Now, they’ll start explaining all the details at sessions at WWDC. Some of our readers are at those sessions, but because the entire conference is under a non-disclosure agreement, they can’t talk about them. In fact, in the past, I’ve contacted PR to try to get information based on a report and was told by upset Apple PR representatives that I should not even be asking the question, and that it was a real problem that someone had told me what they had heard in a session. Even more surreal, Apple has told me that I’m not allowed to know about things that are printed in descriptions of sessions from WWDC posted on their website. Apple will happily charge you a couple grand to go to California to their session, but they won’t share information with the press.

What’s the message to the press?

Repeat our hype and our PR. Ignore the technical details. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

And so, as a result, a lot of the discussion of the Mac lacks technical detail or solid information. It’s voodoo.

It’s a really weird universe in which Microsoft is the progressive company. Microsoft will be more than happy to let you talk about technologies they haven’t released. Microsoft employees blog new stuff to share it, post public tips about how developers can use it, and we’re allowed to do the same. We can write about developer previews of their operating system. That’s to say nothing of free software development and Linux. But this is Windows we’re talking about – Windows is more open as far as communication.

There’s no way that this makes the Mac a better operating system. And if you’re bothered by all this secrecy, you do have alternatives.

And I’m not just saying this to rant. I do think Apple could find a way to reach out to the press on this stuff, and to allow developers to communicate with each other more freely so they can make better software. Apple finally eliminated their absurd NDA on all iPhone development topics, after developers, publishers, and the press pressured them to do so – and, not coincidentally, around the same time Google open sourced their Android tools. I don’t expect Apple to change overnight. But I do think they could do better.