Daniel Eran Dilger
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Jobs responds to outrage over MacBook’s missing FireWire

 Jobsemail081016

Prince McLean, AppleInsider

In one of his characteristically terse email replies, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has reportedly told one Mac user that changes in video camera technology have reduced the need for FireWire on his company’s 13-inch MacBooks.

Jobs responds to outrage over MacBook’s missing FireWire

  • starkruzr

    This is simply false. They may HAVE USB2, but not for transferring video. You cannot do transfer of HD video in real time over USB2. It simply does not have the sustained capacity. The USB2 links on these camcorders are for transferring images, not video.

    Of course, there are exceptions, such as Canon’s HG and HF series, but after two revisions and several upgrades to the AVCHD codec, they are still not capable of producing good video when filming motion. AVCHD simply cannot handle it.

    This means that there are no consumer camcorders capable of producing good-quality video AND that work with USB2. Steve’s decision is mystifying.

  • eldernorm

    Same thought here. I know that firewire transfers real time to iMovie.

    USB2 has always been a much slower transfer medium. So, what is up and is there a reasonable transfer system. ???

    Just a question.

    en

  • starkruzr

    If you have a MiniDV camcorder, USB is out of the question.

    DVD camcorders are not worth purchasing.

    That leaves HDD and Flash, which we’ve already addressed above.

  • Brau

    While I do not think Steve Jobs is lying, I don’t believe Apple dropped firewire for one simple economic reason. He’s just proffering the most politically plausible excuse. The omission of any other method to achieve Target Mode is evidence. Put simply, corporate interests don’t like consumers, especially the young (who buy the cheapest products and swap popular files) having the ability to clone or copy their precious media files in any way. Apple is no stranger to protecting their own interests, as we’ve seen with the Apple TV, iPods, iPhone, and even sharing/harddrive limitations on the MacBook Air, so I’m not surprised at all to find yet another feature dropped on their newest line.

    I believe Apple is slowly removing features over time in an effort to usher in an era where computers are an appliance that are completely controlled (as are iPhones, cable boxes, AppleTVs, Sony’s Blu-Ray PSP etc). They will be limited to approved applications and distributor authorized OS upgrades only. Once they’ve developed a robust network of streaming authorized files in an iron-clad sandboxed environment, they’ll remove all copying abilities altogether and morally assert anyone who wants those features is a mere thief.

    Then they can charge whatever they want for their precious media to a captive crowd.

    But Steve could never say that. It might cause a riot.

  • Brau

    Oh, and “one more thing”…

    When Steve says they intend to “make products that competitors can’t copy”, you can be damn sure consumers won’t be able to either.

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    @Brau

    For your conspiracy theory to work, the new models hard drives would have to be locked away inside. In fact: that was the old ones.

    I love Target Disk mode. Used it only yesterday myself. But with trivially easily accessible HDs, it’s a non-issue. Pop it out, slap it in a Sata caddy – or a dock! – and USB2 from there. Although Target Mode was slick on that you could use it with no screedriver antics required, it was hopeless when the hard drive failed. Honestly: I prefer easy access. (And for those needing spoiled, the new MacBook Pro has both!)

    So why is FW dropped from the MacBook? Same reason it slipped from the iPod ever since 2005. It lost the mass Market war to USB 2 and that was that.

    Go ask a MacBook user how often they’ve tried FW. It’s already a niche. Charging every buyer for it for the good of the minority is just daft. It makes sense now as a Pro only feature.

    Does that mean the iMac will lose it in time? I expect so.

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    @eldernorm

    Your answer: eSata. It’s already taking off and is the fastest and cheapest way of all for caddies and the highest throughput of data.

    I’d love to see it standard on all Macs. It is the DisplayPort of drives.

  • http://marineimage.com Jon T

    I think John Muir has it in one. Firewire IS already a niche.

    99% of Macbook users would be quite clueless about it.

    The 1% are a ridiculously vocal minority. In part stirred up of course by the Anti-Apple-Taliban. It was exactly the same with iMove, exactly the same with the move from PPC to Intel, etc. etc..

    My reply to “David” if I were Steve, would have been “…shut the f$*k up!”

  • http://marineimage.com Jon T

    And while I’m on the subject, it’s the same with Blu-Ray. I read about “photographers” saying how impossible it will be for them to send images and video to clients without Blu-Ray being on Macs.

    Well, I’d like to know who these posters really are, because more than 99% of the population does NOT possess a Blu-Ray reader. What propaganda like rubbish is spouted on the net…

    Rant over.

    Good weekend to all genuine Mac fans. And may it rain on the rest of you!

  • Joel

    First they take away ADB and replace it with USB.
    Then they they took away Firewire
    And now there are no mouse buttons…!

    I bet the next “design” “addition” will be to remove the screen. Grrr…!

    (Seriously, if your using pro tech and not using a pro laptop, you aren’t…)

  • LuisDias

    Enough with this whining. Seriously, I’m starting to think that the chaps that write more often are but whiny babies. Pff. I’ve a camcorder HDD and it works just fine over USB2. Would FW work better? Perhaps. But if I am to be just as demanding, why not buy a MBP instead?

    I also don’t take this con theories seriously. Standards grow out and die, some take over the industry, some other simply are drop out, it happens constantly. It’s called creative destruction, and it’s a natural process in the capitalist society we are in, so get over it. It’s not helpful that every time something dies, people proclaim the end of the world and that 1984 is in the brink of taking over the world.

    I guess people said exactly the same bullshit about floppy disks. I can imagine the same kind of bozos writing bitter replies to “Steve” saying, “now I just tell my friends that iMac sucks and that there are more affordable computers like Dell’s and HP’s that do have floppy disks”

  • PXT

    From reading posts on this subject it seems that firewire is a case of a good technology that lost out in the marketplace. So I understand if it is being dropped.

    But I do think that tech companies need to be aware that many people have made an investment in equipment. I am starting to think Apple need to provide something like ExpressCard in every machine, so that the cost of upgrading to a Mac is only the cost of the Mac ( plus a card ).

  • Nick Barron

    Sorry, I don’t care what the market says or what the PC market is doing.

    Firewire is superior to USB. T Mode was a key point of the Mac.

    Removing it is just petty, if you want to differentiate the line-ups make a 13″ MacBook Pro.

    Also I do not know what it is like in the US but in the UK alot of Mac users rely on Firewire, I am very upset by this loss.

    @ John Muir – So you can get to the HD? What about the Air?

    So angry I have put our work orders on hold and cancelled my plans for a new Mac Pro and iMac for home.

  • luisd

    @ Nick Barron

    What a tantrum you’ve dropped there! Are you gonna tell your mommy too?

  • Joel

    “Firewire is superior to USB. T Mode was a key point of the Mac. ”

    I always thought the key point of the Mac was a quality computing experience because of Apple controlling hardware and software. But there you go..

    “So angry I have put our work orders on hold and cancelled my plans for a new Mac Pro and iMac for home.”

    One wonders why you would get both an iMac and a Mac Pro at home, when you probably already have a work supplied laptop…?

  • Rich

    Kudos to Steve Jobs for even replying. I can’t imagine many CEOs even *reading* the e-mail they get.

  • LuisDias

    People, seriously. Here’s the big fucking difference between USB 2.0 and FW:

    USB 2.0:

    Printed Data Rate 480Mbits
    Sustained Data Rate (READ)33MB
    Sustained Data Rate (WRITE)27MB

    FW:

    Printed Data Rate 400Mbits
    Sustained Data Rate (READ) 38MB
    Sustained Data Rate (WRITE) 35MB/s

    The Horror! We have just lost 10% of performance! The Horror! The End Is Nigh, I tell’ya!

  • LuisDias

    PS: Source

  • starkruzr

    Louis: Your source link didn’t work.

    I am pretty sure those sustained data rate numbers for USB2 are not accurate in a practical sense. USB2 has too much overhead.

  • LuisDias

    I’ll try it again. Here. Warning: it’s a PDF.

  • LuisDias

    Well, starkruzr, gimme your numbers.

  • http://all.net/ hylas

    Listen you all, don’t get your panties in a wad, as far as “genuine Mac fans” and charges of “whining”, leave this to the politics of our time – try not to emulate.

    The MacBook is for the low end crowd, it’s like that starter wife we all had – it’ll just break your heart.
    Hold out for the high end models.
    You won’t get any true work accomplished on this platform, it’s for general usage.
    The pro cameras will all have FireWire 4 or 800, until they don’t, by then either there will be something as good or better – Steve’s no fool, he understands his (potential) audience and knows the problems of USB 1-2.x.
    If you showed up to the set with anything less than a full blown MBP you’d look like noob and you tell everyone how cheap you are (come on, a few hundred more).
    These MacBooks are the entry level “drug”. First you have to hook ’em.
    Steve-O takes care of his creatives.
    Like your proctologist said “take it like a man” that is – unless your a woman, and if that woman is your second/third wife, pay attention – it’s for your own good,
    :-)

  • http://ghscommunications.com potterhead4

    Getting past the bickering over exact speeds of USB and Firewire…

    This reminds me a lot, as Luis pointed out, of the backlash over not having floppy disks in the iMac. Was it an abrupt shift away from a standard at the time? Yes. But the point of the iMac was that it was a media and internet machine, and floppies were too small to do anything with media, and of course the beauty of the internet is you can store data virtually rather than on physical disks. How many of you really suffered because you couldn’t use a floppy? We learned how to burn disks, how to transfer things over the network, and eventually thumb drives came along as a true and much better replacement.

    We’re seeing the same thing with firewire, although it’s an even less ubiquitous standard. In my mind, the only people who have valid complaints are musicians and videographers, who actually use the technology. Otherwise, firewire hard drives are more or less obsolete in the consumer space, and Target mode over firewire will eventually be replaced with wireless n, USB3 and ethernet methods. But more importantly, target disk was never used extensively by your average consumer user. The idea that “only my grandma will be able to enjoy the new MacBook,” as I read on AI, is simply ridiculous. 90% of current MacBook users won’t even notice the difference.

    As for firewire in music and video applications…I can’t really speak to music, which requires live streaming over a cable, but I can speak for video as a producer. Eventually, firewire will be dropped from all camcorders as we transition from tape formats to solid state and HD storage that can be transfered at greater than real time rather than streamed over a cable. Most pros are already switching to P2 cards or Sony’s XDCAM, where sustained data rate simply isn’t as important. I assume that technology for audio pros will gradually switch over to USB, especially because audio is a less data-intensive workflow. But I think this is less important than video, because I know far fewer MacBook users with firewire based pro audio gear than I know with firewire camcorders.

    But the larger issue here, I think, is Apple’s transition from Apple Computer Inc., the prosumer computer company, and Apple Inc., the consumer electronics company. Pros have always had it VERY, very good with Apple because Apple stayed alive during the 80s and 90s as a niche computer company in professional media circles. To ease the transition towards a more consumer-oriented business model, Apple included many, many features on their lower-end computers in the early G3 days that most consumers never needed. As a result, entry-level pros (like myself) could buy cheaper, lower end Macs and get some pro features that would have not been included in other company’s systems.

    Now that transitional period is, I think, over. Apple is now a consumer electronics company with an attached prosumer (and professional) business in a few niche areas like video production and graphics. They are now asking their serious professional users to upgrade to the hardware designed to do their jobs, even if they could get buy with lower-end options in the past.

    Remember here, we’re complaining about the lack of a firewire port on a low-end consumer model laptop. It’s still there on the next model up. Apple is essentially saying, “if a firewire port was really such a huge part of your daily computing, you’re probably a pro user who should upgrade anyways.” And for the most part, they’re absolutely right. Sure, some consumers who discovered target disk will be left out. Some consumers with older camcorders will be left out. The majority of users will not be effected; their next camcorder will support capture via USB or be storage-based, and they’ll use migration assistant over the network.

    So in my mind, and clearly Apple’s, if you’re a low-level pro who had a Macbook, it’s time to get a pro. Not just because they want you to pay more, but because they want to capture as much of the consumer space as possible, and part of that was knocking off some features of the entry-level option to make it more affordable and smaller. Plus, it’s not like by going pro you’re just getting a firewire port. You’re getting a machine truly designed to do your work, with a better gfx chip, more hd space, more room for expansion, etc.

    If you can’t afford the pro, you can buy an old white Macbook or the refurbished upper white/black model, and by the time you need to buy again, firewire probably won’t even be around. They’re betting that they’ll capture enough of the consumer space with the new Macbook to be able to offset any people jumping ship because of the loss of one port on the entry-level option. And they’re right. Again.

  • gus2000

    Target-Mode on the Mac is very cool, and it will be missed in the Macbook. But the reason for it was that the Mac was not really user-serviceable, so there was no other way to reach the hard drive directly. Apple has addressed this issue, since the Macbook HD is now under the battery cover and secured by a single screw for easy access.

    Still, it would be nice if there was a single port that was standard across models, and it looks like USB is it. Any chance that Target-Mode can be made to work under USB?

  • Nick Barron

    @ luisd

    A tantram? Yes I suppose is it is. The removal of Firewire from the MacBook, despite what some people are claiming is a huge issue. I’m sure you are happy with a MacBook Pro? What if 15″ is too big? DO you see a 13″ MacBook Pro? That would put an end to the rubbish of well buy a Pro machine then. Its not about money (and while we are at it lets remember the pricing of the MacBook is not overly entry model anyway) its about size and options. Who misses the 12″ PowerBook? The loss of Firewire is terrible. So while I am a huge Apple fan, I will say if they do something wrong. Does anyone remember the Firewire incident with the original MacBook Pro? They corrected that pretty quick. I also remember people saying Firewire was not important then. Firewire is superior to USB, it affords many more options than USB. USB has its pluses as well. They key is to have both, 1x USB and 1x Firewire.

    @ Joel

    “Firewire is superior to USB. T Mode was a key point of the Mac. ”

    I always thought the key point of the Mac was a quality computing experience because of Apple controlling hardware and software. But there you go..

    The personification of this amongst others was in fact features like Firewire Target Mode. Thank you for adding to my point.

    @ Joel

    One wonders why you would get both an iMac and a Mac Pro at home, when you probably already have a work supplied laptop…?

    Fair enough but my work laptop is for work and occasional trips. Two people at home so prefer to have our own machines. One we share and one I put through the mill with testing builds packages etc, same setup for the servers.

  • Nick Barron

    I know I am not alone with the shear principle of a superior technology becoming obsolete to a cheap inferior version.

    Almost sounds like the Mac PC struggle…

  • Silencio

    I would submit that $1,599 is an awful lot of money to pay for a “consumer” laptop. That IMO should be the price of a low-end professional laptop.

    My own 12″ PowerBook finally conked out and I waited for the new MacBooks to be announced. I’m an IT consultant and make heavy use of Firewire still: mostly for fast external storage and Firewire Target Disk Mode. With the writing so clearly on the wall for the future of Firewire, I am going to make more of a concerted effort to migrate away from Firewire 400, but buying a laptop without Firewire 400 would be too painful at the moment. (And I need a smaller, lighter laptop and don’t need top-of-the-line processing power, so a 15″ MacBook Pro is total overkill for my purposes.)

    Instead of spending $1,599 on a new high-end MacBook, I ended up spending $1,099 in a refurbed 2.4GHz BlackBook. That’s $500 of my money that I get to keep and Apple didn’t get this time, but I don’t feel particularly great about it as the old MacBooks are bigger and heavier than my 12″ PowerBook.

    @Nick: if the iMac and Mac Pro you were going to buy still suit your purposes, why cut off your nose to spite you face and not buy them?

  • Nick Barron

    @ Silencio

    Anger at the moment in all honesty. It makes me re-evaluate the situation. I’m hesitant to invest money now and feel cheated by what has happened. It will stop me from being able to slave my laptop which I do like to do if doing extended work from home etc. Its nice to have a big screen and I do not see why I should have to replace my ACD to do so. The move forward in connections to DisplayPort is good but now no T Mode we are going back not forward

    This reminds me of the iSight issue where Apple stopped supplying them for the reason we all know. Then just left the market without a replacement.

    I agree with you on the 15″ being to big and heavy etc, it certainly is for what I want/need. When the Air came out I would of snapped one up if it had Firewire, as it didn’t I accepted and waited for the MacBook. It is really annoying as I would really love a new MacBook but will not part with that amount of money for a machine with no wire of fire. Please Apple 13″ MacBook Pro…. or just do the right thing and put the port back on.

  • musicologism

    For all of you all-knowing ones that insist that FireWire is some kind of niche novelty, have you ever used a video camcorder before? I’m not talking about your $5000 “prosumer” camcorders [which use FireWire] or $1000 “consumer” camcorders [the bestselling of which use FireWire], or the $500-$1200 camcorders that use USB; but the camcorders that the vast majority of Americans can afford and can rationalize purchasing. Camcorders like the Canon ZR series, which can find starting at the unobscene price of $179. Most people who use video just a little bit use a camcorder that is cheap, and the cheapest type of camcorder happens to utilize the IEEE 1394 standard.

    The educational market, involving both institutions and students, is where Macs have the largest relative marketshare. Students & faculty traditionally run to the Mac because of its supposed superiority for creative uses. That includes something as simple as a FireWire port for work that they do with any video or audio, as well as much faster real-world hard drive performance.

    FireWire is nothing like floppy disks, as floppy disks were replaced by various technologies (ethernet/CDs) that were superior. What is FireWire being replaced by? All I see are [only] 2 USB ports, that are worse in EVERY way than even FireWire 400. There is no improvement to be had with its lack. None whatsoever.

    And Jon T, please don’t pull ridiculously asinine statements out of your hindquarters, like “99% of MacBook users would be quite clueless about it”. Maybe your grandmother, or anyone from generations who didn’t grow up on computers would not know what FireWire was, but large portions of the people that actually use MacBooks [high school and college students] have no problems hooking their hard drives and camcorders and Mackie Satellites to that unknown port.

    [I think everyone realizes that FireWire has many advantages, but everything has pros and cons. The point is, does the lack of FW on the MacBook dramatically change its value more than its cost?

    Your example of dropping the floppy drive for CD is the same as comparing FireWire with USB; they are not equal replacements. The iMac didn’t originally ship with a CD burner.

    The advantages of FW400 over USB are:

    – Target Mode, which most users only use on rare occasions. Yes it’s very nice to have, and its too bad there isn’t eSATA or some other more direct alternative to pulling out your drive and connecting to it directly, but this feature has NEVER been offered on PC laptops.

    – Better performance with external HDs. Problem is that FW400 isn’t dramatically faster than USB 2.0, but is more expensive because its more rare. Also, laptops don’t have high performance drive demands. The MacBook boots from a 2.5″ drive! FW wouldn’t really solve problems for MB users.

    – Access to music/DV applications where USB isn’t as suitable. High performance audio interfaces and most existing DV gear is FireWire. But the MB is a consumer device. Consumer audio interfaces and cameras are USB.

    – FireWire supports Ethernet networking. The MB has GB Ethernet, which is faster than FW400. Also, nobody uses FW for networking.

    The list of pros for FireWire are not compelling enough for Apple to have added FW to the MB. Yes many Mac users will miss it. Pros who want a smaller than 15″ laptop will really miss it. I like FW. Bu it is not the end of the world and the reasons to have it are not outweighed by the cost savings that allow Apple to hit a lower price target for the new MB with more Pro features than ever. ]

  • Brau

    @ John Muir

    Hi John. I’m not really suggesting conspiracy, just protectionism. Apple is not alone in this regard. Most computer related companies are moving in this same direction. Any company or person in a position of power will always seek to protect their interests. It’s basic human nature.

    Dropping a feature like this is something I know would have caused great debate in the Apple board room. I know from experience that these companies usually base their product decisions on multiple reasons, not just one. I had the privilege of getting an inside view of the costs related to a security system manufacturer whose *custom* (US made) logic boards cost all of $6 to manufacture but retailed for $180 by the time warranties, packaging, shipping, wholesaling, and retailing charges were added up. Firewire components are so ubiquitous and cheap (China) that the inclusion of them to the new Macs simply could not have a major impact on their retail price. To that effect, I know the amount it would cost Apple to include FW amounts to pennies per device, and to the typical Apple consumer an added buck would not make a whit of difference.

    Apple has a couple other really good reasons to drop Firewire though:
    1. Target mode is a potential security risk where any person can simply shut down another person’s Mac, copy the hard drive in a few minutes, leave without leaving any evidence, then break the encryption at their leisure . Apple doesn’t want this to become a black eye on their reputation. Removing a hard drive takes considerably longer , takes much more technical know-how, and generally most will simply steal the computer rather than go to that length in a public place.
    2. Stopping quick transfer of their iTunes media content from one Mac to another among the target age group.
    3. Standard corporate procedure called “Product line differentiation”. Withholding features from the basic products, then charging much higher prices for adding those same features to a premiere line. It’s the same thing they did with iMovie 08, then pushing the $79 Final Cut Express to those who wanted features that previously were available in iMovie 06.

    What Steve said is true. FW is indeed disappearing, but I know cost is not the factor, and I know it would not significantly affect the size or weight of the laptop. I believe they had other more compelling reasons they simply would never utter publicly, hence the disappearance of Target Mode altogether on the new MacBooks. I fully expect Firewire to disappear across all their products over the next five years or so.

    I am curious about this new custom build of Leopard on the new MacBooks. Can’t wait until a few of them reach the hands of some investigative technicians. Wonder what they’ll find?

  • mikew

    My $.02 – I’ve seen many posts comparing this to the lack of a floppy drive and ADB on the iMac. The difference is that the iMac never had the ports – so nothing was eliminated. Keep in mind there were options – USB floppy drives and USB to ADB adapters. There is NO WAY to plug anything firewire into a new Macbook. People are ticked off because the predecessor had FW, there was no reason to expect the new model would eliminate it.

    If you want FW now either buy the older technology white Macbook or spend $1000.00 more for the 15″ MBP (or a Vista laptop for even less money). If FW is on the way out why is it on the new MBP? Why does the current Imac have both FW400 & FW800 ports?

    I can say with 100% certainty that I was ready to buy a new Macbook to replace my older Macbook this week. Lack of FW has prevented that sale.

    [Calls to mind: “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” Nobody expected the iMac either.

    As for comparing the lack of FW to dropping the floppy: nobody bought those USB floppy drives en mass. They figured out how to use networking and hard drives. It changed behaviors. So too, the lack of FW will change behaviors. Rather than doing a FW Migration one or two times in the lifespan of the device, users will have to pull the drive and attach it via a SATA-USB bridge. ONE or TWO times! Same thing for running disk diagnostics. People talk like they put their machines in Target Mode 3 times per day. Please! PC users get by without every having heard of Target Mode.

    As for camcorders, consumer models have already shifted toward using USB. Yes, this is less than ideal. FW is better technology. But at some point, Apple weighed the cost and engineering constraints and decided the few people who would be upset would be far outweighed by the many who would buy a cheaper MacBook. Given the choice of two USB ports and 1 FW and 1 USB, most consumers would pick the 2 USB ports. I’d rather have one of each, but there are thousands of consumers for every FireWire enthusiast. ]

  • nini

    I think removing the FW port is to some he gradual change from Apple being the computer company which made great systems to go with their OS to one not too far removed from all the PC makers they were different from during the 90’s. To me, they do seem to be aiming a little too singularly on their “lifestyle” consumers and ignoring those of us who liked the idea of having a superior data transfer standard to USB.

    Obviously, all good things must end but I worry about how many Apple fans this’ll alienate as they become more similar to Microsoft of the mid-90’s in not catering very well to their longest standing group of consumers. That $1000 might end up now in HP or Dell’s pockets instead and a tech company lives or dies by the techie quotient of their prospective audience and userbase.

  • musicologism

    You made some good points Dan, but some others are patently untrue.

    My point of citing the radical iMac change was that the removed an archaic standard in hopes of pushing people towards the abilities of newer technologies. Getting rid of FireWire, however, does no such thing, as it leaves the MacBook with a relatively archaic technology, USB 2.0.

    ” Problem is that FW400 isn’t dramatically faster than USB 2.0″

    Maybe not on paper. In real life, it translates to the vast difference in speed for Time Machine backups with USB & FireWire drives, syncing a FireWire-based iPod as opposed to a newer one, and transferring files to and from a USB & FireWire drive.

    ” Access to music/DV applications where USB isn’t as suitable. High performance audio interfaces and most existing DV gear is FireWire. But the MB is a consumer device. Consumer audio interfaces and cameras are USB.”

    Consumer cameras are USB? Yes, if you’re talking about Powershots and Cybershots and the like. But if you are referring to camcorders, they use FireWire. Period. If you are well off enough to afford a flash-based Canon or HDD Panasonic, or are okay with wasting your money on a DVD-based camcorder, then you’d be using USB. But the predominant connection for ALL camcorders under a $4000 price point still happens to be FireWire.

    “The list of pros for FireWire are not compelling enough for Apple to have added FW to the MB.”

    I know what you mean by “added”, but it wasn’t added. It was removed. Hence the widespread “niche” outrage.

    “Yes many Mac users will miss it. Pros who want a smaller than 15″ laptop will really miss it. I like FW. Bu it is not the end of the world and the reasons to have it are not outweighed by the cost savings that allow Apple to hit a lower price target for the new MB with more Pro features than ever.”

    I’m no expert on the costs of FireWire busses, but I don’t know that the cost of a key technology (and feature) outweighs the so-called lower price target. $1299 is pushing the price limits of being a consumer laptop, if not already well beyond it.

    All that being said, Dan, I thoroughly enjoy your articles and your opinions, even when I don’t always agree.

  • Joel

    “Maybe not on paper. In real life, it translates to the vast difference in speed for Time Machine backups with USB & FireWire drives, syncing a FireWire-based iPod as opposed to a newer one, and transferring files to and from a USB & FireWire drive.”

    When was the last time most people sync’d a Firewire iPod…? At top capacity of 20gb its not going to take that long – and back then you were lucky to find a computer with USB2…! I’ve seen several user cases on the Internet that suggest real-world access times aren’t that different. My experience is that takes around the same amount of time, and the main advantage of Firewire on old MacBook is that I can plug three things in at one time without digging out a USB hub.

    Oh, and anyone remember the wailing/end-of-Apple that occurred when SCSI was dropped…?

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