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Watch Out, QuickTime

by Mark H. Anbinder, Contributing Editor

Apple pushers who have enjoyed a few months of uninterrupted multimedia advantage thanks to QuickTime are now a bit more concerned about what the other side has been up to. IBM reps are now showing stunning full-screen, full-motion video and sound on the PS/2 Ultimedia Model M57 SLC... and they are understandably enthusiastic about what they're showing.

The multimedia-oriented workstation is designed around a custom 386 SLC processor, essentially an enhanced 20 MHz 386 SX. It includes a color touch-sensitive display, CD-ROM drive, and high-quality audio, as well as IBM's XGA graphics standard. An upcoming enhancement will be a 40 MHz 486 CPU upgrade for the existing machine.

What impressed me at a recent computer show at which both IBM and Apple were showing multimedia solutions was that, while Apple's QuickTime technology is capable of showing full-motion video on a fast machine in a small window, IBM's technology can actually fill the screen with VCR-quality 30-frame-per-second video for several minutes at a stretch, reading the video and sound from the hard disk and decompressing on the fly.

This isn't to say that QuickTime is not a stunning technology; it is. It has a tremendous potential for providing multimedia at all levels, from the casual user on an LC II to the power user on a Quadra 950. My point is simply that Apple can't rest on its QuickTime laurels. The technology must move forward, because IBM's Ultimedia technology is at QuickTime's heels.

IBM -- 800/426-9402