Over 50 million copies of Apple’s QuickTime 4 player software have been downloaded, Apple revealed yesterday at the Worldwide Developer Conference.

The company also gave developers a sneak preview of the next version of QT, and announced that recent Nielsen/NetRatings data found Apple’s Web site to be the most popular location to find movie trailers on the Web. The recently-released Lord of the Rings trailer has driven the site's popularity, being downloaded 12 million times since April 7.

Jarvis Mak, an Internet analyst from Nielsen/NetRatings in a press release said: “Apple.com and its partnership with Akamai.com was number one in streaming-trailers to movie fans, ahead of film.com and aol.com, which hosts trailers for moviefone.com.”

Apple also showed developers at WWDC a preview of its next version of QuickTime, which will be available this summer and includes support for MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, Flash 4 and an enhanced QuickTime VR playback function. This will offer unlimited views of virtual-reality scenes.

The new QuickTime will also offer Qdesignb software, optimized for Velocity Engine/Altivec and capable of encoding music up to three times faster than previously.

QuickTime 4 player for Macs and Windows, the current incarnation is available from Apple.