Apple yesterday released version 3.0 of its QuickTime media software for the Mac OS plus Windows 95 and Windows NT, adding support for many new media formats (including PNG and the DV digital video format), plus QuickTime VR and QuickDraw 3D.
QuickTime 3.0 can be downloaded for free from Apple (6.4 MB in MacBinary format). However, in an attempt to increase cash flow and return to stable profitability, Apple has devised a series of optional payment levels, each of which enables successive features of the software. For instance, with QuickTime 3 Usable ($20), the MoviePlayer application has a Quit item in its File menu. With QuickTime 3 Surfer ($30), the QuickTime Plug-In is enabled, so that movies can be viewed from within a Web browser. With QuickTime 3 Musician ($40), the new MIDI instrument package from Roland Corporation is enabled. The scale continues on up to QuickTime 3 Super-Professional ($200), at which point the user gets the full range of capabilities that QuickTime 2.5.1 provided for free.
Credit card payment and registration to unlock the various QuickTime features can be conveniently performed directly over the Web.
Inside sources say that Apple will almost certainly extend this payment model to other system components in the future. For instance, in the next system release, the Extensions Manager will not be capable of multiple sets unless the user pays an extra $20, and monitors will not be capable of resolutions greater than 640 by 480 unless the user pays $10 for each additional higher resolution.