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Apple splits its tools

Apple unveils new versions of QuickTime multimedia tools in its attempt to provide development tools that run on both PC and Macintosh systems.

Apple Computer (AAPL) unveiled new versions of QuickTime multimedia tools at the IMA Expo today in its attempt to provide development tools that run on both PC and Macintosh systems.

Apple's popular QuickTime multimedia files already run on both systems, but its development tools are still Mac-only, a situation Apple is working to change with the help of Macromedia and others as the company looks to bolster loyalty among creative computer users and leverage Internet popularity.

To that effect, version 2.1 of the Apple Media Tool will let authors create multimedia titles with interactive links to launch other applications, including browsers, to view Web sites. AMT 2.1 runs on the Macintosh platform only, but will generate both Mac and Windows run times.

Apple will also release a new version of its QuickTime plug-in for Mac and Windows versions of both Netscape Communications and Microsoft Web browsers. Version 1.1 of the plug-in will let users take advantage of hyperlinks built into virtual reality scenes on Web sites developed with QuickTime VR.

QuickTime plug-in 1.1 will be available this year from the QuickTime Web site. Apple Media Tool 2.1 will be available in late fall for $495. It will also be bundled with the Apple Media Tool Programming Environment for $1,195.

Beta testing of cross-platform QuickTime tools should begin in the late fall.