Apple Rings Up Upgrades

Apple Computer Tuesday highlighted its compatibility with non-Macintosh hardware with the improvement of its QuickTime player as well as its iSync platform.

Looking specifically at the burgeoning handset market, the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker upgraded its iSync platform to version 1.1. Last updated in January 2003, the synchronization software covers e-mail, iCal calendar events and to-do lists exchanging them between Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, PalmOS devices, and Apple’s iPod portable digital music player.

The free download now adds syncing via USB for several Motorola phones bringing the number of supported platforms to more than 20 including Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Siemens. Apple has also included a Mac-to-Mac synchronization of its Safari browser bookmarks for .Mac subscribers. The upgrade requires Mac OS X version 10.2.5 and iCal 1.0.2.

“Mobile phones are a part of everyday life for millions of us, and iSync 1.1 now lets us easily take our contacts and calendars everywhere we go, right on our mobile phone,” Apple senior vice president Sina Tamaddon said in a statement.

“iSync 1.1’s support for Series 60-based smart phones, such as the Nokia 3650 and Nokia 7650, demonstrates seamless interaction between the mobile phone and the personal computer at its best. The Series 60 Platform is built on open standards and technologies, thus the industry-leading companies, such as Apple, can easily and conveniently develop and offer advanced applications like personal information management (PIM) to the users of Series 60-based devices,” said Nokia Mobile Software director Mika Saravirta.

With QuickTime 6.3, Apple is advancing its audio-video player to the handset level.

As previously reported, Apple added support for NTT DoCoMo’s 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to its code to make its streaming creation, delivery and playback platform more available over wireless networks.

“QuickTime’s support of open standards like MPEG-4 and 3GPP now make it the best technology for creating and deploying content in the wireless world,” said Apple vice president Phil Schiller.

Version 6.3 delivers extensive support for 3GPP, including Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) and Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) audio, MPEG-4 and H.263 video, 3G Text (TX3G) and native .3gp file format support.

“NTT DoCoMo’s FOMA is the standards-based 3G service which allows users to enjoy “i-motion” video clip distribution and “i-motion mail” video clip email service,” said Takeshi Natsuno, Managing Director of NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode Planning Department. “We are thrilled that QuickTime 6.3 has made standards-based content creation and desktop playback a reality for NTT DoCoMo subscribers that can now share personal movies captured on their phones with friends and family on Mac and PCs.”

For Apple, the partnership means greater expansion of its QuickTime platform, which competes with Microsoft Windows Media Player and RealNetworks Real Player.

In addition to more standards, QuickTime 6.3 features automatic streaming transport detection, improvements to DV audio and video synchronization and enhanced support for Apple’s Keynote, iMovie and iDVD applications.

The upgrade is available immediately as a free download for Mac and Windows users.

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