Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apple Snubs FireWire in Latest MacBooks; Users Rage

It's not a good sign when the developer of a format doesn't support it, yet with the announcement of its new MacBooks last Tuesday, Apple omitted FireWire ports from the new models. This stirred up a lot of criticism among Apple users, who expressed it on forums.

It's true, Apple developed IEEE 1394 or FireWire in 1995. And it's also true, the MacBook Pro still sports a FireWire 800 port. But many were disappointed, to say the least, with its omission from the more affordable MacBooks. From a large (11,000+ views, 290 replies) MacRumors forum post:
  • This is really stupid. The entry level white MacBook, now at $999 and will still be sold, includes FireWire 400! Where as the new, expensive ones don't. This is a confusing message to customers.
  • Its obvious to me that the lack of firewire is to stop pro users from being able to downgrade to the MacBook after making it a really tempting offer.
Meanwhile, at the official Apple support forums, we find a thread with 13,000+ views and nearly 450 replies:
  • In my unknowledgeable opinion Apple really screwed up with no firewire port.
  • I've been waiting months for a MacBook Pro for myself and a MacBook for my daughter. I won't use a Glossy Screen. She wants it for video and won't buy a new camera. Apple just lost two very long time customers with these decisions.
  • No firewire, no deal. It is as simple as that.
While it's true that despite Apple's backing, USB 2.0 has won connectivity battle, at least in the lower-end of the market. Want FireWire? You have to pay for it in the higher-end of the market (Pros).

And this looks to be the new way for Apple to differentiate consumer from pro models. It used to be the graphics card, but with the new NVIDIA chipsets and IGPs, that's not so much a factor. So FireWire becomes the differentiating factor.

Will Apple eventually drop FireWire altogether? That's an unanswered question. But if an email purportedly from Steve Jobs in his typical, one sentence answer format is real, the answer could be "maybe":

It's the typical type of Jobs-ian response: curt and to the point.

As one user said in the MacRumors forum:

Good Night Sweet Prince

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