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Getting Started with AV Foundation

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Learning to use AV Foundation is the key to building the next generation of media applications for Mac OS X and iOS. This chapter from Learning AV Foundation: A Hands-on Guide to Mastering the AV Foundation Framework provides you with an introduction to the AV Foundation framework, where it fits into Apple's media environment and the capabilities it provides.
This chapter is from the book

Apple has long been a driving force in the world of digital media. In 1991 it introduced QuickTime, which for the first time brought digital audio and video to the masses. The QuickTime architecture would revolutionize digital multimedia for the next two decades, having significant impacts on the education, gaming, and entertainment industries. In 2001 Apple introduced the world to iTunes and the iPod, fundamentally changing the way we listen to music. The iTunes Store, introduced two years later, upended the music industry and has since become the centerpiece of Apple’s ever-expanding digital media ecosystem. 2007 brought us the introduction of the iPhone, and a few short years later, the iPad. These events ushered in a whole new era of computing and forever changed the way we create, consume, and share media.

The world of digital media is no longer known only to the technical set. Today, digital media is simple, essential, pervasive, and empowering. Apps such as Instagram make it easy to take beautiful, artistic still images and share them with the world. Video chat applications from Skype to TangoMe bring together friends and family wherever they may be. Streaming video provided by YouTube and Netflix is never more than an LTE or Wi-Fi signal away. And tools like Final Cut Pro X and iMovie for the iPad put the power of video editing in the hands of power users and novices alike.

The digital media revolution is here, but we’re just getting started. Learning to use AV Foundation is the key to building the next generation of media applications for Mac OS X and iOS, and this book serves as your guide. It offers an essential overview of the framework, providing you the insight and understanding needed to master the framework. So, let’s get started!

What Is AV Foundation?

AV Foundation is Apple’s advanced Objective-C framework for working with time-based media on OS X and iOS. It offers a broad and powerful feature set providing you with the tools needed to build modern media applications on Apple’s platforms. AV Foundation was built from the beginning with today’s hardware and applications in mind. It is designed to be deeply multithreaded. It takes full advantage of multicore hardware and makes heavy use of blocks and Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) to offload computationally expensive processes to background threads. It automatically provides hardware-accelerated operations ensuring the best possible performance on a wide range of devices. It is designed to be highly power efficient to meet the needs of devices such as the iPhone and iPad. Additionally, it was written to be 64-bit native from the beginning, taking full advantage of 64-bit hardware where available.

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