Apple has released QuickTime 5 Public Preview 2, the second public beta of its revised multimedia standard - though International English Mac OS users will have to wait.

Version two incorporates a number of user-suggested enhancements, and a Windows version has also been made available. Preview 2 also includes support for media skins. Support for skins was announced at QuickTime Live!, along with extensive AppleScript support for Macintosh users.

The interface has been made sleeker, and the Player features an easy-to-use Favourites feature. The new version features Flash 4 and Cubic VR, which lets QuickTime handle 360-degree environments. The music synthesizer has also been improved. It now supports new file types – DLS and SoundFonts.

The Mac flavour of QuickTime Preview 2 also supports automated content-creation, making use of QuickTime's AppleScript support. It offers MPEG-1 support, an improved DV codec that offers faster rendering features and supports SHOUTcast, so it is possible to playback MP3 files from the SHOUTcast site.

Apple is also requesting comment and feedback about Preview 2, which can be downloaded from Apple's site.

At present, the International-English (IE) version of the multimedia standard remains to be released. Apple sources report the company is scheduling IE versions of updates for release between 10 and 20 days after the US release. Apple warns that installing US software on non-US operating systems can cause system degradation.

Public Preview 2 will replace older versions of QuickTime when installed. It requires a PowerPC Macintosh, 32MB RAM and Mac OS 7.5.5 or later.