End of the road for Quick­time Player 7

The tran­si­tion from 32- to 64-bit tech­nol­ogy means the end to oldies-but-good­ies like Quick­time Player 7, writes Ja­son Snell

Macworld - - Contents -

In an­other step along the tran­si­tion to 64-bit apps, Ap­ple has started warn­ing users of 32-bit pro­grams that these would need to be up­dated or they will stop run­ning. This was news, but it is ac­tu­ally a story long in the mak­ing. Last year, Ap­ple warned Mac de­vel­op­ers that 32-bit apps would stop run­ning “with­out com­pro­mise” this autumn with the re­lease of the suc­ces­sor to macos High Sierra.

The writ­ing has been on the wall, more or less, since all the way back in 2009 when Ap­ple be­gan its 64-bit tran­si­tion with the re­lease of Snow Leop­ard.

But the move to 64-bit apps will have ca­su­al­ties, namely a whole gen­er­a­tion of apps that are no longer be­ing up­dated, but are still used ev­ery day by Mac users. No soft­ware is for­ever, but when you lose a whole gen­er­a­tion of apps at once it’s a bit more no­tice­able.

Quick­time Player 7

And then there’s Quick­time Player 7, an app from 2009 that has some­how sur­vived nine years be­yond its ex­pi­ra­tion date. You may not re­mem­ber, but when Mac OS X Snow Leop­ard was re­leased in 2009, it in­tro­duced the new Quick­time X Player, and Quick­time 7 Player be­came an op­tional in­stal­la­tion that hid away in the Util­i­ties folder. (Quick­time Player 7 is avail­able for down­load from Ap­ple at fave.co/2qu4ixj.)

Why would Ap­ple keep an older ver­sion of an app around, side by side with the new ver­sion? The rea­son is that Quick­time X didn’t of­fer many of the fea­tures of Quick­time Player 7. In fact, Ap­ple never re­ally im­ple­mented large por­tions of Quick­time it­self for 64-bit ar­chi­tec­tures; as a re­sult, I sus­pect a lot of apps that rely on the pro­gram for their func­tion­al­ity may die or need ma­jor over­hauls once the 32-bit era of­fi­cially ends.

There’s no deny­ing that Quick­time Player 7 is a fos­sil from an an­cient era of the Mac. As a player, it’s largely un­nec­es­sary – if you hate Quick­time X, con­sider try­ing the open-source IINA video player (fave.co/2hx­o1jl), writ­ten in Swift. But as a quick and dirty video clip­ping and edit­ing tool,

Quick­time Player 7 is hard to beat – and doesn’t re­ally have a re­place­ment.

Who is still rid­ing this brushed-metal di­nosaur? Every­one from pod­cast­ers to, oh, Lu­cas­film’s In­dus­trial Light and Magic. What Ap­ple has done with Pre­view app – namely make it a swiss army knife of doc­u­ment pro­cess­ing – it did more than a decade ago for mul­ti­me­dia with Quick­time.

In terms of file-sav­ing op­tions, Quick­time 7 is show­ing its age, but its ad­vanced ex­port op­tions are some­thing to be­hold. You can re­place an MPEG4 movie’s au­dio track with your own, and re-ex­port the re­sult with­out re-en­cod­ing the video track, by tweak­ing a few ex­port set­tings. Yes, if all you want to do is con­vert or re-en­code video, you’d be bet­ter off with Hand­brake (fave.co/2v2sovp). But there’s some­thing to be said for a sim­ple app with a sim­ple in­ter­face that will handle ba­sic tasks like this.

Will you get by when Quick­time 7 dies? Yes, between Hand­brake, al­ter­nate play­ers, and ded­i­cated au­dio and video edit­ing apps, you will still be able to do ev­ery­thing you do with that tool now. But in many cases it will be messier, take more time, and gen­er­ate out­put of lower qual­ity.

I wish I could hold out hope that some­one at Ap­ple re­ally does care about ba­sic tools like this, but the re­al­ity is, not only is the Ap­ple that built Quick­time long gone, the Ap­ple that de­cided to aban­don it for 64-bit pro­ces­sors is nine years in the rear view. It was a good run, us­ing a com­pletely dep­re­cated (yet still use­ful) tool for nearly a decade, but I guess it’s fi­nally time to move on.

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