No QTVR on iPhone or iPod touch? WTF?! - Macenstein

No QTVR on iPhone or iPod touch? WTF?!

The fact that the iPhone has been out nearly 6 months now and I have not seen anyone bitch about this yet likely means I am wasting my breath, but who cares? It wouldn’t be the first time.

Why is there no QuickTime VR support on the iPhone/iPod touch? I just happened to be trolling Apple’s site this evening on my iPhone, and thought, “Hey, it must be kind of cool to pan around a QTVR using the iPhone’s touchscreen! Lets check it out!”. (Yes, I am also easily amused by shiny objects).

So I fired up Apple’s QTVR site, all wide-eyed and full of anticipation (and Doritos), only to be told “This movie could not be played”.

Hmmm.. COULD not, or WOULD not, Apple?

I next tried downloading the Times Square VR from Apple’s site, loading it into iTunes (where it plays very nicely, thank you) and then syncing that to the iPhone via the “Movie” checkbox under iTunes’ Video tab. While the QTVR MOV file shows up fine there as an iPhone-syncable item, it does not actually sync to the iPhone.

Finally, I tried e-mailing the QTVR to myself and opening it in the iPhone’s Mail app. I thought I had outsmarted the iPhone when Mail recognized the attachment as a QuickTime and attempted to open it when clicked, but then ultimately I was presented with the dreaded “This movie could not be played” error I had seen before.

As far as I know (which is admittedly not very far) QTVR has been a part of QuickTime since QT 2.5 made its debut, back in 1996 or so. And while perhaps only I and a couple realtors still think it’s cool, there can be no denying that scrolling around VR panoramas on an iPhone’s touch screen will bring hours of fun to the simple minded, such as myself. In fact, it seems like the kind of gesture-based activity the touch screen was designed for.

So please, Apple. Perhaps QuickTime VR is the ugly red-headed step child of the QuickTime world, but that’s no reason to strip it out of the iPhone’s bag of tricks. I guarantee a Jobsian QTVR demo at Macworld 2008 will bring Steve almost as many ego-boosting “oohs” and “ahhs” on stage as “finger-spread” zooming into a still photo did.

The Doc has spoken, so make it so, Number One. Seacrest out.

13 Responses to “No QTVR on iPhone or iPod touch? WTF?!”
  1. MC says:

    Nice pick-up Doc. Apple will probably pick that one up and fix it because it works well with the paradigm of manipulating a real model and would be an asset to show off on the phone.

    QTVR objects don’t have the friction physics (my term) like the iphones scrolling lists that slow after a while, but I may be wrong. Maybe they are waiting to add that to quicktime.

    On that note, it would be nice for them to add that feature throughout all of their apps, like FinalCut, iPhoto or even better, as a general system preference for that effect on everything that moves, like safari scrolling windows.

  2. There is no demand for it at the moment. Apple will add that feature on in an upcoming firmware update.


  3. Aaron says:

    QTVR Support….Excellent idea! ….another missed feature overlooked by the iPhone developers. how about QTVR support on iPods as well!

    And perhaps more codec support as well?

    Thanks for bring this issue up!

  4. Shawin says:

    I was just thinking about a way to get my 3D models onto the iphone and then remembered qtvr. I did a quick google search and saw your article. This actually made me really sad. I was so excited at the thought of being able to showcase my models to friends (and hopefully clients) on my phone.
    Not that I have an iPhone. I ordered it 12 days ago from eBay. Normal USPS post is taking so long to send that to Mauritius 🙁

  5. WJ says:

    I fully agree. I have been creating QTVRs for a long time and once Apple contacted me to feature my QTVRs on iTunes under “new and noteworthy”. Sadly, Apple’s support for QTVR is almost non-existent which is a shame.

  6. Nemo says:

    Well, Its sad so i created a workarount that you can see on my webpage. i think its cheesy but at least you can scroll aroud back and forth and the people I show it too really like it.

    see it on

  7. Craige says:

    Even now, as the 3G iPhone looms large, there’s no QTVR — only simulations.
    There’s bound to be a way in flash!
    This has been proven in panos– though (limited?) vertical.
    ……….. but not a decent object movie yet… only one-row?

    Hopefully, a lean QTVR-like player can be assembled by the os community!

    Craig Luce

  8. As you can see by my email address and website I am very much into QTVR. I thought the iPod Touch would certainly display my panoramas until I saw your article on the web. Hopefully Apple will wake up and support something that has rejuvenated my interest in photography.

  9. Craige says:

    Thanks for the tip, though I listed another lead above. Little late, but mainly another disappointment (for MY uses), as it doesn’t handle OBJECT movies.
    Perhaps not enough memory in the iPhone?

  10. Ed Morgan says:

    Just to let you know our company has just released an app which lets you open QuickTimeVR files directly on you iPhone. It is similar to our other iPhone app which is a panorama viewer for our own proprietary format files which are also geo-referenced.

  11. Ed Morgan says:

    I should have said what it was called – QuickPano

  12. There’s an app called iPano which views QTVRs, both panoramas and objects. It’s ideal for viewing them and it let’s you keep a collection of them on your phone. And it’s really neat on the iPad too!

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