Jobs on Firewire: you don't need it

Jobs on Firewire: you don't need it

Summary: Responding to an email about the inability to use Firewire HD camcorders with the new MacBook and iMovie, Jobs (more likely one of his minions) replied:Actually, all of the new HD camcorders of the past few years use USB 2Edible Apple backs that up by noting that only 1 out of the top 10 camcorders on Amazon supports Firewire. While that may be true, there are a bunch of camcorders on the market that still have Firewire on them that won't work with the new MacBook.


Responding to an email about the inability to use Firewire HD camcorders with the new MacBook and iMovie, Jobs (more likely one of his minions) replied:

Actually, all of the new HD camcorders of the past few years use USB 2

Edible Apple backs that up by noting that only 1 out of the top 10 camcorders on Amazon supports Firewire. While that may be true, there are a bunch of camcorders on the market that still have Firewire on them that won't work with the new MacBook. Musicians are pretty fired up about Apple dropping Firewire too, complaining that Apple now charges US$700 for the port – on a MacBook Pro.

It's pretty clear that Apple dropped Firewire to differentiate its consumer from its pro hardware. If you need Firewire, buy a MBP the thinking goes. Previously the video card was the main differentiating factor between Apple notebooks (and screen size, ExpressCard slot and Firewire 800). Now it's Firewire.

No Firewire and a glossy screen? The new MacBook seems pretty lame to me.

(Tip: MacRumors)

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Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hardware, IT Employment

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  • Without FireWire it makes getting my Video...

    from my camera a bit tough. While I like iMovie, I will be hunting a Linux alternative, I am done with Apple until they get their act back together.
    • Firewire and Video Production

      You are so right. I am also a video producer and without firewire I would have my hands tied. Really! Steve Jobs needs to think twice about his realization of non reality. He is pushing people over to PC. My next computer was going to be a MAC. I have a HP now. It will not be a new Mac Book. So a person buys a new Mac Book and then has to spend another $700 for a firewire. Crazy and especially in todays economy. He has a wire loose in his brain.
      • Video Production and Consumer-Level Hardware

        I realize this story and subsequent comments, such as yours is going on 6 months
        old now, but I just now happened to stumble across it.

        Anyway... Comments like this only show that some people really just look for any
        reason to not buy a Mac.

        Firewire? Really... That's your reason? I hate to break it to you, but it's not a very
        good one...

        If you are a serious video producer, then why on earth would you be looking at a
        consumer-level piece of hardware with integrated graphics to begin with? One is
        not simply getting a mere FireWire port for the extra $400, (the $700 amount
        only applies to the base unibody 'Book.. and for the amount you also get a faster
        processor) but also dedicated graphics - Something that again, any serious video
        professional would insist on having... Which strongly leads me to the conclusion
        that your video-work most likely teeters between the "pro"-sumer and hobbyist

        As such, the whole Firewire thing is nothing but a smokescreen - You were really
        just looking for a decent-sounding excuse not to get a Mac. Especially seeing as
        how the price factor is largely irrelevant, since:

        1. You could have bought a close-out, last-gen MacBook with a Firewire port for
        as little as $899, or

        2. You could have waited a couple months until the updated, base white MacBook
        with Firewire came out for $999, or

        3. If you were really serious and wanted equally serious "bang" for your buck, you
        would have simply purchased a refurbished MacBook Pro (again, with dedicated
        graphics) for a mere $100 more than the high-end MacBook.

        Just to be clear... I really don't give two hoots whether you went PC or Mac. It's
        just that I see a lot of comments similar to yours and more times than not, the
        stated reasons are nothing but pure hogwash...

        There's definitely a whole lot more to it than the absence of Firewire.

  • I can live, but I don't want to

    Firewire not only is a pretty cool moniker, but is also a sweet setup. No Processor i/o compared to USB. It's like comparing SAS to SATA or IDE to SCSI. 9 times out of 10, USB will work, but Firewire simply does the job better.

    Lately Apple, (Last 10 years) Apple has been moving the opposite direction of where they were. They dumped SCSI for IDE and picked up SATA. They were the first to dump the floppy, but now are looking at dumping firewire over USB. They were the first to get rid of the CRT, but now are moving for the glossy monitors and getting busted for using cheaper LCDs.

    Woz was right, this company is headed down hill and lacking innovation.

    Apple fans spent 2 years telling all of us how much better Macs are because they all support Firewire but now the apology engine must kick in to explain to all of us why Firewire isn't actually all that important.

    We've all said it before and Jobs has just agreed with us (and disagreed with all you Apple fans), USB + eSATA have officially killed Firewire [b]in the consumer market[/b]. Firewire will still live on in higher end areas but Jobs has just put the last nail in the consumer Firewire coffin. :)
    • Actually

      if you'd shut your mouth long enough to engage your brain, you'd
      find out that a lot of Mac users are extremely p*ssed over this
      decision by Apple.
      • Agreed - I Want My FireWire!

        I use my MacBook G4 to travel away from my iMac. I use
        ChronoSync everytime I head out the door to sync my docs,
        desktop and mail folders - everything else syncs via .mac.

        I guess I can sync using the MacBook as a network drive -
        but with my new HD Canon HF-100 - speed is king
        moving those mega files back to my mac.

        I thought the 13 inch macbook - with backlit keyboard for
        those night flights - was killer - but the lack of FW is a
        pain in the ass. I thought the MBA was killer, but too small
        a drive, no Ethernet...

        Maybe the next rev...
      • Just install a Firewire adapter card

        into the PCMCIA slot for the laptops, full size card for the desktops
        • macbooks don't have

          card adapter slots. Which is reason number two why Apple was
          brain-dead stupid to do this.

          I suspect we'll soon see firewire over ethernet adapters coming to
          • Most Use ExpressCard now, which the MacBook has (NT)

          • no it doesn't

            the MacBook doesn't have expresscard, just the MacBook Pro
            does, but it also has FireWire already
      • Well put, frgough

        nonzealot just trolls the mac boards looking to put in his
        "zingers", most of us know enuff to just ignore him and read
        the real posters for intelligent comments.
    • Wow, you are getting weirder by the day.

      Apology engine? Who is apologizing? I swear if it weren't for strawmen you wouldn't have any friends.

      [i] We've said it... agreed with us..[/i]
      Your even manufacturing friends that support you in you phantom diatribes now. This really is pretty sad.
      • Apology engine was started before this announcement

        A couple months ago we had a discussion as to whether Firewire was dead in the consumer market. All the Apple apologists said I was wrong. Looks like I was right. :)
        • All your phantom apologists... OK

          I think I finally understand.
          I guess its like the time I was having a disagreement with some PC guys , and umm I won the debate and they all agreed I was really cool and they were lame. And that next time a related story came up on ZDnet I should start crowing to this other unrelated group of PC guys so that umm...
    • Question

      How has eSATA done anything to firewire in the consumer
      market? It's still expensive and requires an additional card,
      which I hadn't heard becoming standard on machines just
      yet. No, it's USB, like VHS to Beta, that has become the
      ubiquitous cheap all-plug that connects the majority of
      devices. It's too bad, cause it's never been as stable, nor does
      it seem to be any faster than firewire. It's simply an easier
      product to manufacture.
  • It shouldn't matter much

    The Macbook had 400 Mbps firewire.
    USB2, theoretically, can reach 480
    Mbps, so the the speed loss, if any,
    should not be much.

    The MBP uses the far faster Firewire 800
    so that it offers a decided advantage.
    Since Apple boosted the graphic
    performance on the new Macbooks, they
    certainly want to give pro
    graphics/video people a reason to stick
    with the more robust and expensive

    If you happen to have a FW only device,
    like a FW only outboard drive, you will
    • Well the rated speed of USB2....

      maybe higher, but the true throughput is way slower, plus it is way more CPU intense than firewire. But the other things lost are for those who want to upgrade, you loose target disk mode,and if you have external devices that are firewire only, now you have to buy more hardware, also those with Video cameras there is no way to import the video.
  • Welcome to the Jobs Cage....

    - Like nucrash says, FireWire simply works. USB usually works, but when it doesn't it's usually inexplicable. Even if USB2 is "480Mbits" I can tell the drives I have hung off that travesty are slow. Just because USB is winning doesn't make it superior from an usability standpoint. We're just shackled with it.
    - I knew when Microshaft started pushing that wuz-tech that we'd wind up here some day. What besides older video cameras and some external hard drives use FireWire? Dictator For Life Jobs is simply following the market. And the Apple Lemmings are mad. Oooooo. I'm sure Dictator For Life Jobs is simply *shaking* in his boots. He has a monopoly that the Apple Lemmings are clamoring over each other to support with their consumer dollars. Do you really think he CARES?
    • Sigh.... Classic case of can't win for loosing.

      People complained over the years about many different
      aspects of Apple. There lack of conformity and none
      business like practices. Now that Apple uses standard
      parts and more business like practices people still
      complain. Look SCSI was and is still better than what is
      used today by Apple. Apple gave us Firewire and gave it
      time to catch on in the market (and it is better) but it did
      not catch on as it should, based on history we all know
      that better often looses to the masses. Insert MS joke
      here...:P To keep adding it to the consumer line and
      adding cost to said is foolish.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn