Apple drops FireWire from video iPod

Apple drops FireWire from video iPod

Summary: I am simply shocked and amazed that Apple has abandoned FireWire on the just-announced fifth generation iPods with video. I understand why there's no FireWire on the iPod shuffle (no port) and even why it's off the nano (tiny form-factor, lower cost) but why in blazes did Apple leave FireWire off the new video iPod?


apple_firewire_logo.gifI am simply shocked and amazed that Apple has abandoned FireWire on the just-announced fifth generation iPods with video. I understand why there's no FireWire on the iPod shuffle (no port) and even why it's off the nano (tiny form-factor, lower cost) but why in blazes did Apple leave FireWire off the new video iPod?

Don't believe me? Take a close look at the iPod specs page and their Autosync page - there's no mention of FireWire anywhere, just USB 2.0. Apple has even gone to the trouble of demoting their FireWire Web page from a top level page ( to a page buried on their developer Web site under device drivers ( on or around October 12th, according to Google's cache.

Apple invented FireWire as "one of the fastest peripheral standards ever developed" and won Emmy and Grammy awards for the technology's impact on the television and music industries. It's inexcusable to leave FireWire off an iPod that you're supposed to sync videos to, it just doesn't make sense.

Topic: Apple

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The answer is obvious

    I am a Mac user and don't mind the new iPod is USB 2.0 only. The reason why is because I own a newer Mac. Apple wants to sell computers too. See lots of long time Mac users have extremely old equipment. But regardless how old, firewire has always been there. Now some will be able to bypass this by installing a PCI card with USB 2.0 but hopefully some will make the jump. As for Windows computers, most don't have firewire, especially the new ones. Therefore people have to buy Firewire cards. This is big upgrade for many people who don't use it and will seem like a lot to have to buy a card, an iPod and music. Now you'll say but they used to be able to do both. Sure and they also used to be bigger. Adding that compatibility adds more chips inside the iPod. We all like thinner iPods. The Apple we see today is far more smarter than before. They finally found a way to grow interest in Windows users. Coming out with new models of computers isn't enough. The iPod is a great bridge over to an Apple computer.
    • fireware has LOST the peripherial interconnect race

      go ahead and box it and bury it. whether or not it's faster or "better" that usb 2.0 is moot at this point.
      Valis Keogh
      • Which is a shame

        It's always sad to see a superior technology forced out of the
        market by one company flexing the power of their marketshare.
        One wonders if this is part of the deal with Intel, dumping Firewire,
        as Intel owns most of the USB patents. I'd rather see things go the
        other way, and have Apple license Firewire to Intel for free or very
        cheaply, but I'm betting that Intel would have been too wary of any
        technology they didn't own/control.
        tic swayback
  • Apple FireWire

    Apple went USB 2.0 on the last iPod update. I believe you can still use your original FireWire cable or buy one as an accessory (which is what is a rip-off for those of us who don't have a recent generation Mac that has USB 2.0). Both the FireWire and USB 2.0 cables have the same iPod dock connector at the other end of the cable.
    • I don't think this is true for the new video iPods

      ---Apple went USB 2.0 on the last iPod update. I believe you can
      still use your original FireWire cable or buy one as an accessory---

      Yes, I bought a 60Gb iPod from the last round and an accessory
      firewire cable which works great. But from everything I've read, the
      new iPods have dropped firewire connectivity altogether, so you
      can't use this sort of cable with them. It's USB or nothing, at least
      as far as I know.
      tic swayback
  • Moving from FW a mistake!

    Most video pros recognize FW as the only way to go. USB has a much slower sustained rate which is critical to video. This is not a killer step but it is one in the wrong direction.
    Reverend MacFellow
  • Firewire = Beta

    As you all know consumers decide what becomes a standard or, what joins Beta tapes in the big pile of perfectly good or better but rejected technology.
    Anyone in this industry should be able to recognize when a technology is not being adopted by most mainstream technology providers. Apple is just releasing the technology that more people are using. Simple marketing. The author should know that!
    • The Beta vs VHS analogy is flawed

      The Beta vs VHS analogy is flawed because one of the *main* reasons Beta lost was because it had a shorter time limit that prevented it from holding a full-length movie in many cases. Rental houses did not like the idea that they often had to stock two beta tapes for a movie, vs one for VHS.

      Go look it up.

      If you start taking a deep look at all the "innovations" in IT then you see that Apple really did not invent too much of what is in today's technology. Real innovation is in things like wireless etc, not wired technology. There are MANY other wired standards that are very good, but for some reason people think Apple is so innovative because they have ONE of those.
      • True, but....

        Apple fully adopts the better technologies sometimes years earlier than their competetors hence the innovation. Consumers on the Peecee side don't use FW as much because on their boxes it is an extra. Intell pressured manufacturers to keep FW out and add more USB. Many hence did not even know what they were missing, that sir is not consumer choice.
        Reverend MacFellow
      • Beta versus VHS

        While Betamax was a superior video product, as I remember the way things happening, the VHS camp paid to purchase far more titles than Sony ever did, thereby providing both a cheaper technology with a broader selection base. I may be wrong, but since I had BOTH machines, the selection thing was paramount to me.
  • Lots of reasons for this...

    As someone pointed out already, it

    1) forces mac users to upgrade. Apple knows you are not going
    to switch to pathetic windows system!

    2) Intel Macs will NOT BOOT from Firewire, only from USB II
    drives! Do not buy a Firewire only drive, it won't boot a future
    Intel Mac.

    Also, in response to the last poster, Apple (working with Lucent)
    had a LOT more to do with today's wireless standards than did
    ANY PC company. Look it up. Apple was first with both
    802.11a and 802.11g.
    The PCs were using 802.11a. That was a loser.

    Firewire 400 is better than USB II, but only on a Mac, and only on
    a PPC mac. I think it must have to do with endian difference
    between CPUs.

    A lot of our current Mac changes are to set up Intel move. Intel
    move is going to put Apple firmly in the driver's seat. M$ is
    scared, big time. They know they can't even begin to compete
    on software. Apple will soon offer the whole enchilada, and PC
    users will have no irrational reason why NOT to try a Mac.
    • Rational?

      there has never been a rational reason to buy a peecee over a Mac.
      Reverend MacFellow
  • The all mighty dollor bill!

    Jason, we now have a first hand visual of greed and the desire for
    power from a person that accuses the record companies of the very
    same sin. The masses are reduced to mediocrity and second hand
    technology for the desires of a greater consumer segment. Firewire
    400 is superior in every way to USB 2.0 in every test ever created or
    devised. Thanks, but no thanks. Jobs, please remove the plank in
    your eye before commenting about the speck in others.
    Robert Morrow
  • Spelling is Key

    Sorry for the oversight on the spelling of dollar. Anger clouds the
    Robert Morrow
  • Vintage PCs without firewire

    Since when have PCs NOT had firewire? Every PC I've set up for
    colleagues in the last two years has had firewire as standard.
    Okay, so they've mosly been laptops, but many of them have
    been budget laptops, the kind you'd buy for your kid to throw
    against the wall when Windows crashes. Sony calls IEEE1394
    iLink, perhaps that's what's been confusing you?

    So yeah, dropping firewire is very puzzling, seeing as the
    forthcoming Intel-based Mac laptops will more than likely have
    firewire 400 at the budget end, and firewire 400+800 on pro
    machines. But don't you see? It's a hint of their plans for the

    Apple will force the market to USB2 for iConsumer, USB2 +
    Firewire 800 for Pro.
  • Piracy

    Firewire was removed (I believe) to prevent and discourage
    I'm sure Disney was concerned about this and possible illegal
    distribution via DVD & Bit Torrent
    • Huh?

      What does firewire have to do with piracy? And why couldn't USB 2
      be used just as easily (if slightly slower)?
      tic swayback
  • FireWire for pros is right, USB2 is good enough for consumers

    Apple made USB ubiquitous, even if it was already available on
    Intel machines. Apple developed FireWire for consumer video,
    pro video and, of course, the iPod. USB2 was developed and the
    need for more speed at the consumer level has been satisfied.
    So USB2 does the job, is now ubiquitous, FireWire no longer

    FireWire 800 is for video pros and that's why it's not on iBooks
    but only on PowerBooks. Good marketing decision and strategy.
    Keeps Dell and HP out of the media business without Apple
    getting a piece of some of the action.

    I believe one day, movie studios, television, radio, music and
    newspapers will all be Apple. Windows will be relegated to
    accounting and human resources.
    • Hold on there, buddy...

      Um, wait a second. Apple made USB ubiquitous? When far and away most of the WORLD'S computers are Wintel machines (with USB ports)? Do you have any evidence or anything whatsoever to back up a statement like that?

      I'm not knocking Apple or their importance in the computing world or anything, and I think that you hit the nail on the head for why Apple dropped FW, but statements like "Apple made USB ubiquitous" smack of fanboy-ism.
    • also...

      what you said doesn't make sense from a business POV either.

      -Apple creates and uses Firewire.
      -Apple (magically) makes USB (basically a competing interconnectivity format) ubiquitous.
      -Now that USB is ubiquitous, no one wants to use FW anymore, so Apple drops it.

      Um, that doesn't seem like sound business to me, and I'd like to give Apple more credit than that. Just accept that despite their attempts, Apple lost the FW/USB battle to Intel. Very simple. Anyway, they still are exclusive at the level of FW800.