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A Brief History of Features Apple Has Killed

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the or-you-might-be-a-fanboi dept.


Technologizer writes "Some folks are outraged over the lack of FireWire in the new MacBook released this week. But Apple wouldn't be Apple if it didn't move faster than any other computer company to kill technologies that may be past their prime. And history usually validates its decisions. We've posted a decade's worth of examples that prove the point."

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Outrage! (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 6 years ago | (#25419175)

The new Macbook doesn't have an 8" floppy?!?!
I won't buy one then, wah, wah, waaaaaaahhhh!

Re:Outrage! (4, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#25419693)

it's not even the same thing. Firewire provides much faster transfer speeds than USB 2.0--3200 Mbps versus 400 Mbps. 8" floppies were phased out because of the technologically superior 5.25" floppies. and those were subsequently replaced by the 3.5" floppies.

i'm not saying that all computers need a Firewire port, because that's obviously not the case. but having used Firewire compared to USB to transfer large amounts of data, i don't think Firewire should be dismissed so easily.

i'm guessing Firewire has lost out to USB because it's more expensive to implement, whether due to licensing fees or inherent hardware costs, but i would hate to see such a useful technology be killed off just because USB 2.0 is "good enough" for the average user. Firewire makes a huge difference when you're working with audio/video editing, or working with lots of hi-def images or other large files. i would not have thought that Apple would discard a technology that is so vital to their traditional customer base.

Re:Outrage! (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 years ago | (#25419865)

I strongly suspect that the reason wasn't the cost of adding a firewire port per se. Firewire(albeit in the annoying 4 pin form) shows up on a fair portion of genuinely cheap and awful PC laptops. Firewire addon cards are fairly modestly priced, and Apple clearly wasn't nervous about raising the price of the macbook in order to add the features they wanted.

This seems like a fairly blatant attempt to enforce separation between the macbook and the pro. Now that both are practically identical in build quality and the difference in GPU performance is merely large rather than absolutely enormous, they need a differentiating factor. Firewire seems to have been chosen. I suspect that Apple knows what they are doing, Apple zealots are zealous, most of them will suck it up and pay, and they can use their top of the line construction to sell macbooks to switcher college students. It sure isn't a nice thing to do, though.

Re:Outrage! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 years ago | (#25420129)

Fine and dandy. Now, SteveO, go and make us a 13" Mac Book Pro (with the firewire). Better yet, make us a 13" Mac Book Pro with firewire and a tablet screen.

And send me a pony while you're at it.

Re:Outrage! (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | about 6 years ago | (#25420153)

I can't find a link right now, but one of those Mac nostalgia sites has a first person account of Steve Jobs demanding hardware based functionality be removed from the initial Apple II offering so that it could be replaced to add value to the next generation.

Artificial upgrade cycles suck even if history will show Apple was just on the leading edge of a new wave. Firewire still works well for a number of use scenarios.

Re:Outrage! (5, Interesting)

altek (119814) | about 6 years ago | (#25419885)

I am thinking that they are starting to try to wean people off of FW because USB3 is on the cusp of becoming available in consumer devices. It will likely replace both USB2 and FW.

Re:Outrage! (1)

Starayo (989319) | about 6 years ago | (#25419929)

You know, I hear people talking about all the benefits of firewire, but I have never:

*Seen a firewire device
*Seen a firewire port on anything besides a faulty motherboard I once had
*Seen anyone using a firewire device

I don't think many people care, at least here in Australia. :\

Re:Outrage! (3, Informative)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#25420087)

you probably haven't seen them because you just don't use them. but that doesn't mean they're not useful or that no one uses them.

a lot of external hard drives have firewire ports. most major external storage vendors will sell two different flavors of each device, one that comes with firewire and one with USB only. but most end users usually opt for the USB models as they're cheaper.

i mean, if you're only transferring 100-200 MB of data then it probably doesn't seem like a very significant difference--what's an extra 3-4 seconds, right? but if you're transferring 50 GB of data, then firewire versus USB could be the difference between a 2 minute transfer and a 15 minute transfer. and if you have to do large data transfers like that on a regular basis, the time savings start to add up.

Re:Outrage! (3, Interesting)

HSpirit (519997) | about 6 years ago | (#25420207)

*Seen a firewire device

I have a firewire iPod mini (yes, it's old - but it still works, why should I get rid of it?), three firewire backup drives for the old G4 we use as a server at my workplace (yes, again, it's old - but it's an inexpensive recycling of old equipment for a useful purpose which has enabled our small business to free up cash for other uses).

*Seen a firewire port on anything besides a faulty motherboard I once had

Just so this doesn't appear like a Mac-only rant, my wife's 2 year old PC also has Firewire built into the motherboard. On anything but cheap PC trash it's pretty ubiquitous...

*Seen anyone using a firewire device

Then you don't get out much.

I don't think many people care, at least here in Australia. :\

Well I'm in Australia and I will certainly be keeping clear of the MacBook - but then again, I agree with another post's suggestion that this is part of an Apple strategy to (a) ease the market away from Firewire, and (b) differentiate the MacBook market (student etc. that uses their Mac for nothing more than web/email/productivity apps) from the MacBook Pro which is for users that want all the bells and whistles and are prepared to pay for them.

Re:Outrage! (4, Informative)

kromozone (817261) | about 6 years ago | (#25420295)

Firewire 3 (1394c) provides speeds of up to 3200mbps, over standard ethernet cables no less, and the port can function simultaneously as a 1394c port and an ethernet port. 1394b runs at 800mbps and 1394a at 400mbps. All 3 have different port configurations, although 1394b is backwards compatible with 1394a so long as you have a 1394b port to 1394a port cable. Unfortunately, because it looks like a fantastic standard and has been out for over a year now, 1394c is not available anywhere. I could understand if they had dropped 1394a for 1394b, forcing people to buy compatible cables wouldn't be such a bad thing, but dropping firewire entirely is silly.

Re:Outrage! (-1)

kestasjk (933987) | about 6 years ago | (#25419713)

Due to the increasingly obnoxious "I'm a Mac" ads I just like to see Apple fail these days (not especially proud of it, but it's true), and Apple dropping FireWire after pushing it so hard and battling against USB is a pleasing example of this.

Re:Outrage! (2, Funny)

jcr (53032) | about 6 years ago | (#25419937)

The new Macbook doesn't have an 8" floppy?!?!

It's worse than that. It doesn't even read Hollerith cards.


Re:Outrage! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 years ago | (#25420111)

I know that you are joking; but I strongly suspect that Hollerith card support(unlike firewire) could be added with a simple software update. Hollerith cards are large enough and simple enough that iSight+a rudimentary OCR equivalent should be more than enough.

Heres a few more for the list (1, Insightful)

hax0r_this (1073148) | about 6 years ago | (#25420001)

* The ability to run programs in the background
* Scripting

And basically everything else that would make a mobile internet device useful.

Re:Heres a few more for the list (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | about 6 years ago | (#25420257)

Ah, like wifi or extended battery life, or a web browser right?

I think they made a good choice. For everyone else there is either jailbreak or the G1.

Re:Outrage! (1, Interesting)

gapagos (1264716) | about 6 years ago | (#25420263)

You know, I do think Apple did get rid of floppy drives too early, although obviously nobody needs them anymore.

I'm only 22, and and when I lived with my dad we were in Ivory Coast (West Africa) in 1998 where I was 12 years old.

My dad, who knows very little about computers, had bought an iMac before leaving. (the old and colorful ones)
It was the early times of CDs, and for some reason because of it, Apple "decided" that floppies were obsolete and did not feature a floppy drive on their iMacs anymore.
It was also the early times of CDs, and iMacs did not include any burning (CD-R) capabilities on their CD drives EITHER.
USB flash memory did not exist either at the time.

No CD-R.
No A: drive
No USB drives.

The ONLY option for me to "export" any document from my iMac for stuff like school work, was through the Internet.

Needless to say, Internet service was not easily available in WEST AFRICA in 1998, at least in my neighborhood.

Let me tell you: It really sucked. And my dad was too stubborn to buy any other machine, and I couldn't pay for one myself. (once again: I was 12).

Since then I hated Apple with a passion for the 9 following years.
I stopped because I bought a macbook for university last year and it is surprisingly extremely efficient, durable, it boots very fast, and has a very good battery life.

But I still get annoyed sometimes at Apple for this "know-better-than-you" attitude that they keep showing over & over.

Re:Outrage! (0, Troll)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 6 years ago | (#25420289)

Apple doesn't need to give away 8" things to keep their user base happy. Doing so would just reinforce the `mac users are gay` stereotype. Of course, we all know that mac users would just love to get their hands on any 8" that Apple would give them.

Steve Jobs' lament: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419181)

Mama, just killed a man,
Put my gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger, now hes dead,
Mama, life had just begun,
But now Ive gone and thrown it all away-
Mama, ooo, Didnt mean to make you cry-
If Im not back again this time tomorrow-
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters-

Too late, my time has come,
Sends shivers down my spine-
Bodys aching all the time,
Goodbye everybody-Ive got to go-
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth-
Mama, ooo, dont want to die,
I sometimes wish Id never been born at all-

dumb much? (2, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 6 years ago | (#25419185)

Except when you kill an older technology, you're supposed to replace it with something as good or better that does the same thing. From what I read, they just plain removed it and users are left without an alternative.

Not really (2, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | about 6 years ago | (#25419329)

There is always an alternative. This time, Apple is just asking you to give them 700$ more and buy MBP.

Re:Not really (-1, Flamebait)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | about 6 years ago | (#25419889)

There is always an alternative. This time, Apple is just asking you to give them 700$ more and buy MBP.

Apple is NOT following M$'s screwup.

M$ released Vista, which has no real advantages over XP... people figured this out rather quickly and don't buy it.

Apple comes out with a new gizmo, and leverages their hardware propriety to get people to buy their wares.

Smart. In a way.

Re:dumb much? (2, Insightful)

gardyloo (512791) | about 6 years ago | (#25419545)

Exactly right. It's called technology lock-in, and it often (at least to me) seems pretty arbitrary (the classic examples being modern clocks going clockwise rather than counter-clockwise, and the QWERTY keyboard). "History validating Apple's decisions" of killing technology is rather a weak anthropic principle, rather than any explanatory answer.

Re:dumb much? (2, Interesting)

schwaang (667808) | about 6 years ago | (#25419753)

From what I read, they just plain removed it and users are left without an alternative.

Is there no USB 2.0, which is nearly equal and has the huge advantage of being more mainstream?

The whole article is a troll. I mean "they killed the floppy" that was in the original Mac? Hell they *invented* the scheme that let them store twice as much as PC's did on the same size floppy media. That was great, but now we're all thankful that the floppy is obsolete.

They "killed" nuBus once PCI finally came along and was mainstream. Before that, nuBus, which they invented, kicked @ss over the PC's crappy bus, which was slower and didn't allow for plug-and-play -- you had to move address jumpers on the cards before you installed them.

Back in the day it *was* a pain that Apple hardware was special and more expensive than PC hardware. People complained about lock-in and expense, but it was also often better than the PC hardware of its day. Now it's almost a little sad that Apple isn't the one leading the way on those architectural components, though they still lead on design. (Remember when the G4 came out and it was small and *quiet*? Now you can get a cheap Dell that is small and quiet.)

I have never owned an Apple, but I *am* a fan of their past hardware innovations. Oh, and: Get off my lawn!

Re:dumb much? (3, Informative)

FyreFiend (81607) | about 6 years ago | (#25419901)

Just to pick a nit (I agree with everything else) but Apple didn't invent NuBus, though they were the only ones to actually use it. IIRC, it was invented by TI.

Re:dumb much? (1)

jcr (53032) | about 6 years ago | (#25420011)

TI and NeXT used NuBus as well, although NeXT changed the form factor of the cards and ran the bus at a higher clock rate. TI shipped it in their short-lived "Explorer" workstation, which was their version of a Lisp machine.


Re:dumb much? (1)

schwaang (667808) | about 6 years ago | (#25420145)

Fair enough. Wikipedia [] says MIT developed it and it was first used in a Lisp machine project by an MIT spinoff that TI later bought. But yeah, Apple was the only sizeable commercial deployment, and meanwhile the PC was mired in the backward ISA/extended-ISA/VESA local bus.

Re:dumb much? (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | about 6 years ago | (#25419925)

They should have replaced it with FW3200. I hope that is still coming soon.

audio recording (3, Interesting)

guinsu (198732) | about 6 years ago | (#25419247)

I would love to know what Apple expects basement musicians to use to record multitrack audio. Firewire is way better suited to that and frankly after buying mics, instruments, amps, and mic preamps that group tends not to have an extra $1000 for a computer.

Re:audio recording (5, Insightful)

Silicon Jedi (878120) | about 6 years ago | (#25419307)

They expect them to buy the cheaper computer that still has firewire.

Re:audio recording (4, Insightful)

nlawalker (804108) | about 6 years ago | (#25419325)

Something besides the MacBook that doesn't have the Firewire port?

Re:audio recording (1)

RedK (112790) | about 6 years ago | (#25419327)

A 999$ white Macbook.

I'm sure they have $50... (1, Troll)

Rix (54095) | about 6 years ago | (#25419487)

For a PCI or CardBus ieee1397 card.

For the 99.999% of the rest of us who never had a use for it in the first place, this cumulatively saves a lot more than $50.

Re:I'm sure they have $50... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419851)

"For a PCI or CardBus ieee1397 card."

Yay, more stuff for legacy interfaces.

Re:I'm sure they have $50... (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#25419899)

That's a great idea, except that the machine that they dropped Firewire from is their low-end laptop, which doesn't have any slots for expansion cards.

Re:I'm sure they have $50... (3, Insightful)

hellwig (1325869) | about 6 years ago | (#25419971)

Yeah, except if you read the other thread you would know the MacBook will have neither CardBus nor ExpressCard slots, so you can't really add FireWire even if you wanted to. Apple isn't simply not including it, they are making it impossible to use on their new macbooks, which I believe is what's causing all the complaints.

Not only that, but Apple created FireWire and tried to shove it down everyone's throats. Now they say you don't need it, that's just bullshit. Apple does what they want with hardware, and all the Mac fanbois just bend over and take it. If you don't need it, then no problem. If you do need it, you're S.O.L. unless you want the more expensive MacBook Pro.

Re:I'm sure they have $50... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25420079)

For the 99.999% of the rest of us who never had a use for it in the first place, this cumulatively saves a lot more than $50.

...until your OS goes corrupt and the Mac doesn't boot. When you take it to (or call) a technician, you'll quickly lose that $50 and more due to the extra effort to get into the Mac to rescue your data. Without Target Disk Mode, the HD has to be removed. Easy (but not trivial, certainly requiring specialized tools and extra time) on the MacBooks, nearly impossible on the MacBook Airs.

And all of this because Apple inexplicably didn't create a "USB Target Disk Mode" to replace the Firewire mode it has taken away.

Re:audio recording (1)

feardiagh (608834) | about 6 years ago | (#25419501)

Yeah. I was really excited about the new MacBooks until I saw that they had no firewire. I was planning on getting one for use with Logic. But my 2 audio interfaces are both firewire. So now I'm just SOL.

Re:audio recording (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#25419821)

Yes, there's an example of a market that must keep Apple awake at night.

Re:audio recording (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | about 6 years ago | (#25419989)

They expect them to shell out for a Pro.

Re:audio recording (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | about 6 years ago | (#25420005)

Or the more expensive MBP that has it.

Re:audio recording (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25420191)

I would love to know what Apple expects basement musicians to use to record multitrack audio. Firewire is way better suited to that and frankly after buying mics, instruments, amps, and mic preamps that group tends not to have an extra $1000 for a computer.

One of these?
One firewire, four USB, line audio in, tiny little thing too.

Grab some cheap little LCD and dig a keyboard out of a dumpster and you're still several hundred shy of the MacBook.

Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419265)

But ADB was annoying, ADC was infuriating, the divot that makes the apple USB keyboard extender cord incompatible with non-apple keyboards is incomprehensible, and firewire is still better than USB. Harumph.

Re:Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (2, Informative)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25419343)

It's not incomprehensible, it's good business sense. The Apple model is make average hardware and very shiny software, then bundle them together with technological safeguards and profit off selling the hardware at 2-3x what other manufacturers charge (for upgardes, initial computers are far more reasonable but there's still the "apple tax")

Apple and MS are about as evil, if anything Apple is worse per unit user. The difference is Apple can make software that doesn't suck in the OS division AND elsewhere.

Re:Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (1, Troll)

Goaway (82658) | about 6 years ago | (#25419485)

A quick web search tells me the cheapest Vista upgrade is $100, while the cheapest Leopard version is $129. This is "2-3x" now?

Re:Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25419553)

I meant hardware upgrades, sorry. I have no knowledge of OS upgrade cost (actually I thought it was free)

Re:Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 6 years ago | (#25420307)

Well, point upgrades are free in both cases, of course.

Also, while Apple does charge a lot for stuff like memory upgrades, there is no need to actually buy from them, you can just buy components of the right specs from anywhere.

Re:Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 6 years ago | (#25419757)

Is that $100 for a full copy of Vista that I can install on a bare hard drive?

OS X only comes in 1 form (2 if you count the server version I guess). The only difference is the licencing.

Also, no crippled versions with artificially hobbled media support or networking.

So, when comparing Apples to... Potatos, ensure that you compare feature-comparable stuff.

Re:Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419815)

A quick web search tells me the cheapest Vista upgrade is $100, while the cheapest Leopard version is $129

Indeed. An upgrade for $100, versus a full version for $129...

Re:Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | about 6 years ago | (#25420159)

That's software. It is true that Apple charges ridiculous money for BTO upgrades. If you go with a third-party memory retailer instead of Apple you can easily spend the money Apple wants for a RAM upgrade on the same RAM and a small external hard drive.

Never buy upgrades directly from Apple if avoidable. They do overcharge.

Re:Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (1)

Firehed (942385) | about 6 years ago | (#25419731)

Except that it makes the extender useless with anything except the Apple keyboard (including the Mighty Mouse), not the other way around.

That's just douchiness. Or they've become so full of themselves that only an Apple keyboard could be so worthy as to use that USB extension cord. I'll normally defend Apple when it's reasonable, but this doesn't make a damn bit of sense and claiming otherwise is going out of your way to be foolish.

Luckily it only applies to people who buy an iMac or Mac Pro. Maybe someday I'll find a use for that stupid extender.

Re:Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25419897)

Fair enough, never attribute to malevolence...

Re:Yeah, USB on the iMac was a good choice (1)

jcr (53032) | about 6 years ago | (#25419993)

the divot that makes the apple USB keyboard extender cord incompatible with non-apple keyboards is incomprehensible,

As I recall, that was required because of some peculiarity of getting the USB certification.


People use laptop to do video processing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419293)

My understanding of FireWire is that it's pretty standard for camcorders & audio. Are there that many people who use laptop to do these kind of audio video processing? Aren't these jobs better suited to desktop or beefier machines?

Re:People use laptop to do video processing? (2, Interesting)

jacksonj04 (800021) | about 6 years ago | (#25420021)

If you're doing beefy AV processing yes, you're going to have a MacBook Pro, or a suitable desktop (PC alternatives are available, but this is an Apple thread so I'll stick to Mac).

However, Apple touts iLife as one of the big selling points of Macs, and iMovie 08 is a part of that. MacBooks are more than powerful enough to rip your home movie and chop it about in iMovie to share with family, but without a FireWire port you're going to have an awful time importing video, often having to use an external adapter or some proprietary USB method. FireWire provided a DV standard for getting video off a camcorder, and was part of the 'plug in your camcorder and make a movie' thing which Apple markets to pretty much everybody who buys a Mac.

It's all what you put out (3, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 6 years ago | (#25419313)

If Apple hadn't invested in so many non-mainstream technologies to start with then they wouldn't have had to kill so many - leaving those machines poor orphans in the process.

Am I missing something... (5, Informative)

Desert Raven (52125) | about 6 years ago | (#25419331)

Something missing here. The article claims to be "A Brief History of Features Apple Has Killed" Yet, the article has nothing of the sort, and the linked page is a just an opinion piece on the lack of Firewire in the new MacBooks.

I'm guessing this [] is the link that was intended.

Re:Am I missing something... (1)

FuckTheModerators (883349) | about 6 years ago | (#25419367)

Mod parent up. Fix the link.

Re:Am I missing something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419507)

You must be new here...

Correct link (4, Informative)

wumpus188 (657540) | about 6 years ago | (#25419353)

Why not link directly to the list [] instead of the pointless poll?

Re:Correct link (1)

bonch (38532) | about 6 years ago | (#25419503)

More page hits this way.

tried once before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419425)

Apple tried this once before when they came out with the Intel macbook pro it had no firewire 800. A lot of people complained and it was on next years model (I don't know if the two are correlated). I think Apple probably thinks that firewire hasn't taken the market like they wanted it to and is trying to phase it out to simplify their machines. I personally like it, firewire 800 is blazingly fast and works great for large file transfers.

Yay for logic (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419443)

If you look at back and conclude that apple killing features was right because they killed features, that says more about your grasp of logic than whether it was right or merely pushing an agenda.

In this case I can see where they come from, what with eSATA possibly taking over the tasks that USB2/3/... cannot gracefully deal with. That doesn't mean that firewire was inferior technology, far from it. Just that it wasn't loved enough. Which is easy to see when you realise its faults lie in failure to have spawned a large market of dancing gadgets and coffee cup warmers powered by it.

In that respect I am happy to see the outcry. Some people do see its value.

Converter (1)

shmlco (594907) | about 6 years ago | (#25420069)

Apple should at least offer an official FW/USB converter/cable or mini-hub, much as they do with the various DisplayPort converters.

HUNDREDS of angry users!!!! (5, Informative)

mschuyler (197441) | about 6 years ago | (#25419463)

says the article. That's right: 'Hundreds,' not 'tens of thousands.' Get it? The average consumer doesn't give a rip.

Re:HUNDREDS of angry users!!!! (1)

tgd (2822) | about 6 years ago | (#25419775)

The average consumer will when they realize they can no longer get video off their Mini-DV camera into iMovie.

Its likely more like hundreds of thousands -- a huge swath of the people who switched to Mac did so for the media capabilities.

For good or bad, the vast majority of Mini-DV SD and HD cameras do not support pulling video off the tape via USB.

I've got the option, thankfully, of buying a non-Apple laptop that still has it and running OSX on it, but for the average user who may have made the switch back in the iBook days or early Macbook days and may be looking for an upgrade *and* isn't ready to replace their video camera? Its not an option.

Re:HUNDREDS of angry users!!!! (1)

mschuyler (197441) | about 6 years ago | (#25419909)

I maintain you haven't described the 'average user,' though I concede that is a nebulous concept at best. In any case, we do not have any evidence whatsoever that 'hundreds of thousands of users' will be both affected and 'upset.' The evidence so far, as stated in the article, is 'hundrreds of users.' If a groundswell of unhappiness from 'hundreds of thousands of users' actually transpires, I will be glad to change my statement. But so far that is simply speculation. there is no evidence for that happening. You gotta start with the evidence you have rather than make it up.

Re:HUNDREDS of angry users!!!! (1)

bastion_xx (233612) | about 6 years ago | (#25419969)

Well, if they aren't ready to replace their video camera, maybe they aren't ready to replace their iBook or "early 2008" MacBook?

Apple is targeting the largest audience using the feature set most important to them. If you really need FW, go or a MBP. Heck, I bet we see enough refurbs coming up soon enough.

Re:HUNDREDS of angry users!!!! (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 6 years ago | (#25420045)

"The average consumer doesn't give a rip."

That's because the average consumer has never touched a Mac.

Firewire isn't "past its prime" (5, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | about 6 years ago | (#25419475)

Firewire isn't past its prime. Apple wanted to further differentiate the consumer and pro versions of their laptops, and Steve Jobs' comment about recent consumer camcorders using USB is a reflection f that. Firewire is still used in the professional space for audio and other high-bandwidth data transfer situations where you don't want the CPU bogged down.

The article is trollnews. 1394 HID is suppressed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419599)

Notice how all the security problems of cryptography over USB-input are preserved, while the alternative in 1394 Firewire interconnect is shunned? There are so many kinds of out-of-line USB adapters for eavesdropping upon in-transit data over USB that they would rather just kill 1394 Firewire for all but the niche market that would pay through the nose for it just like how they pay for RME "real time" sound dsp hardware. Who will notice, but the savvy professional Mac user? Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are business partners; he milks Mac hardware more than PC hardware, and look at how extendable and expandable that has brought the PowerPC platform into. Meanwhile, DEC's Alpha gets killed every year when it is still a viable replacement from HP over the cludged Intel and AMD x86 crack. We just want our computers made by Apple for our purposes, not Apple making it for their and CIA/FBI/NSA/IRS/PD/SD/DHS/FTC/FED/BATFEces/*blah blah blah and on and on...

When will the Americans expel those Jesuit US'ians from their country, like countless other countries had already done?

Re:Firewire isn't "past its prime" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25420055)

So 7 or 8 years ago, I always heard the argument that Firewire is better than USB because it doesn't bog down the CPU. That was probably true in the days of Pentium 233Mhz. Does USB still "bog down" our quad core processors? When I initiate a 1TB backup to an external USB drive, I barely see the processor make a blip at all. Performance wise, FW400 is still a little faster than USB2.0, but hardly noticeable. If you start chaining a whole bunch of devices together, that might be a different story, but most people don't do that.

I still use Firewire a lot, and it sucks that they took it out of the MacBook. However, with the GPU upgrade, it's totally understandable because otherwise, MBP sales would've been totally cannabalized.

Step out of the reality distortion bubble (-1)

Rix (54095) | about 6 years ago | (#25419511)

Everyone else either abandoned firewire a long, long time ago or wisely never adopted it in the first place.

Re:Step out of the reality distortion bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419623)

I've got two external firewire HDDs, you insensitive clod!

Re:Step out of the reality distortion bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419739)

Umm... no... I have two laptops. One bought for $1300 and the other for $550. Both run vista. Both have firewire. It's most certainly NOT been abandoned.

Re:Step out of the reality distortion bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419915)

What do you mean "wisely never adopted it in the first place"?

I don't see how you can choose not to adopt it if the equipment you need to use only supports firewire (and for good reason). What would you suggest to Mini-DV camera owners to import video?

Clones. (1)

Trespass (225077) | about 6 years ago | (#25419527)

The ability to legally run their operating system on something other than their own machines was once an option. Now it is not, for all practical purposes.

Re:Clones. (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 6 years ago | (#25419781)

"The ability to legally run their operating system on something other than their own machines was once an option. Now it is not, for all practical purposes."

Too bad there are no OS X equivalents to the Knoppix DVD.
They wouldn't be legal, but they would be useful.

RS232 is dead? (1)

omglolbah (731566) | about 6 years ago | (#25419537)

Um... rs232 is not nearly dead.

It might not be used much in the world of personal computing but in industry applications it is still king. Along with 422 and 485.

If it is so dead, why do most if not all servers come with it? :-p

Re:RS232 is dead? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419663)

If it is so dead, why do most if not all servers come with it? :-p

I've never noticed! My wife and I are going out to eat tonight. I'll check my server and see if there's a RS232 port on him.

Re:RS232 is dead? (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 years ago | (#25419793)

It's written by an Apple fan.

If you make them think, their heads might explode from cognitive dissonance.

One button mice are fine! It's simpler, and you still have all the functionality if you just hold down the option key!

The next day...

OMG! Did you hear? TWO-BUTTON MICE!

Re:RS232 is dead? (2, Informative)

Glendale2x (210533) | about 6 years ago | (#25420133)

An Apple fan who is obviously not an Apple fan - the Xserve has an RS-232 port on it.

Re:RS232 is dead? (1)

limaxray (1292094) | about 6 years ago | (#25420059)

Yeah I thought the same thing as I sit here looking at the JTAG sitting in front of me...

I'm a computer engineer and use RS-232 ALL the time for programming and debugging embedded devices. RS-232 is a staple to many of us; it's only a legacy device to the laymen.

firewire not past prime (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 6 years ago | (#25419557)

It is just not in the mainstream, so there is little reason to include it on a machine that is primarily made to meed a price point. Most people who want a computer for $1000 probably have similar price requirements for other devices, which means they are unlikely to pay a 20% premium on a lacie hard disk with firewire. This is not a case of a cheap technology like a floppy disk being removed because no one uses it. It is a matter or an expensive technology being removed because most people do not wish to pay for it. This was certainly the case with iPod. I was able to charge an ipod by plugging it into my external hard disk, which was nice. But the iPod being a consumer product, had to be sold for consumer product, and the average consumer is not willing to pay for the premium Apple hardware and service, so the iPod, and unfortunately the iPhone, uses the lame and inferior USB protocol.It is not a big deal, but I had to buy a USB hub.

There is also a matter of not putting gratuitous features on the machine just to meet the buzz word compliance features. For example, many people complain that the Airport has no firewire port, and I am one of those because some of my kit is firewire only. But given the wireless transfer speeds, 54 Mbits/second, why put a 400 Mbit/sec on it. Sure, if one is using GHz ethernet, it would be nice a FW800 interface, but how many of us do this. And this is the case, perhaps an network aware hard drive is a better solution, which I see are not very expensive.

What is true is that Apple does not waste resources support tech that no longer serves a broad purpose. This means that many of us have closets full of old tech. What this also means is that we don't have to worry about installing drivers every time we put in a USB drive, most cameras work with the standard picture protocol, and if we are willing to pay for the machine, we have external hardware that communicates at fast speeds, built in.

Re:firewire not past prime (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#25420049)

It is just not in the mainstream, so there is little reason to include it on a machine that is primarily made to meet a price point.

And I think the market segmentation makes a certain amount of sense. The most stripped-down model (Air) has 1 usb port, audio out, and a display port. The next heftier model adds another USB port, ethernet port, DVD writer, and audio-in. And then they have the Pro model with an expansion card, bigger/better screen, firewire, and a better graphics card.

So while the Air is stripped down to the bare essentials for someone who's willing to sacrifice a lot for the sake of mobility, the Pro model adds some higher-end features that most people can do without.

So if you really need those "Pro" features, then you buy the Pro laptop. Meanwhile everyone else will save money by not paying for hardware they don't need. I'll be among those who will miss having firewire on the Macbooks, but I recognize that there are trade-offs. More hardware generally means a bigger, more expensive package.

Maybe Apple should kill the 1-button mouse (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419665)

Seriously ... it's time for it go!

Did anyone else misread this as... (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 6 years ago | (#25419689)

"A Brief History of People Apple Has Killed"?

I thought this was going to be a warning... a warning to us all....

Re:Did anyone else misread this as... (1)

Vexorian (959249) | about 6 years ago | (#25420137)

"A Brief History of People Apples Have Killed"

Nothing better than Firewire (4, Insightful)

barfy (256323) | about 6 years ago | (#25419699)

Even USB was faster than parallel ports, and RS232, and DVI was better than RGB.

But FireWire was better than SCSI, and nothing touches it yet. The reason that it is a problem that it was gone, is that there is a significant portion of the MacBook population that used FireWire. It will still be used by the higher end macs, but paying 800-1000 for a port is insane. So the choice is to keep using outdated macs, pay TOO much for a port, or go windows.

This is not just an outdated, or soon to be outdated port. This is used, and it is replaced by nothing, and what remains is worse.

This is just a bad idea.

Cheap and 'good enough' beats expensive and better (4, Insightful)

Sarusa (104047) | about 6 years ago | (#25419729)

Sorry guys, I know FireWire is faster and cooler than USB 2 (no sarcasm there) and has neat features like the easy peer to peer connection, but USB won the market. Cheap and 'pretty good enough' beats out better and more expensive almost every time. Given that Apple has to put USB on any laptop (leaving that off would really be a disaster), adding FireWire as well just adds to their expense and complexity.

We had this discussion, what, 5 years ago about SCSI? Yeah, IDE/SATA won that one too.

You could argue that the Mac's growing market share itself argues against this, but to me that's just due to sufficient numbers of people thinking Vista isn't 'pretty good enough'. I know some of you love it dearly, but to most people FireWire just doesn't matter. Apple's eventually gonna ditch it, so they've started weaning you off it now.

You know its true.. (1)

EncryptedSoldier (1278816) | about 6 years ago | (#25419769)

I'm sure some people are tired of me hating on macs but you know damn well that FireWire was not ready to be dumped. Especially with all that Apple junk that uses FireWire, if I was an Apple fan and had invested money into their gear, I would be uber pissed. Not to mention, as much as I hate to admit it, other that being extremely universal, FireWire is superior to USB in terms of transfer speeds. I just think they should have left it in for a few more generations, or at least until some technology comes around to replace it. Sorry to all you iLovers who can't get enough Apple stuff, I don't hate you, I just find many things about Apple irritating. Nothing personal.

It will hurt the Windows driver devs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419771)

kd and Windbg, the Windows kernel/full-strength debuggers, rely on either serial (yes, RS-232) or Firewire to work. In theory, Vista and above support debugging via USB 2.0, but support seems to be spotty in practice.

I'm sure Apple's primary market isn't people developing drivers for windows, but it is going to make it just a bit harder to debug your stuff on a MacBook if you need to. After all, somebody is going to put boot camp on there and expect things to work. It's going to be a real treat for the dev who has to fix the things that don't.

Consumer versus Commercial (1)

tyrione (134248) | about 6 years ago | (#25419795)

Apple may be ready to downplay the merits of FireWire, but the Auto Industry, Aerospace, DoD, and much more dealing with high bandwidth control systems and much more are just beginning to implement FW800 with FW3200 next up.

self fulfilling (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | about 6 years ago | (#25419843)

" But Apple wouldn't be Apple if it didn't move faster than any other computer company to kill technologies that may be past their prime. And history usually validates its decisions."

No shit, once a large OEM starts refusing to put something on their machines, it tends to have a negative effect on that things continued use in the computer world.

Thats what HE said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25419941)

Well... just an FYI. Steve in his OCTOBER 08 conference cleary and briefly stated that you can get FireWire400 with an adapter for the FireWire800.

Atleast thats what HE said...

Firewire fails (2, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 6 years ago | (#25419983)

I had to check what a Firewire cable and port look like. Why? Because it's rare. Sure, there are a lot of cameras with a firewire port but USB is just that more prevalent. There isn't a modern computer in the world without a USB port. Seriously, I took this from wikipedia:

"Full support for IEEE 1394a and 1394b is available for Microsoft Windows XP, FreeBSD, Linux[6], Apple Mac OS 8.6 through to Mac OS 9[7], and Mac OS X as well as NetBSD and Haiku. Historically, performance of 1394 devices may have decreased after installing Windows XP Service Pack 2, but were resolved in Hotfix 885222[8] and in SP3. Some FireWire hardware manufacturers also provide custom device drivers which replace the Microsoft OHCI host adapter driver stack, enabling S800-capable devices to run at full 800 Mbit/s transfer rates on older versions of Windows (XP SP2 w/o Hotfix 885222) and Windows Vista. At the time of its release, Microsoft Windows Vista supported only 1394a, with assurances that 1394b support would come in the next service pack.[9] Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Windows Vista has since been released, however the addition of 1394b support is not mentioned anywhere in the release documentation.[10][11][12]"

See? They don't care. Nobody cares. Try that with a USB protocol. There would be total outrage at the fact that there would be no proper USB protocol support.

Now let's look at the back of my computers. Count the number of Firewire ports you see and compare them to USB ports. My computers have 0 or 1 fw ports but they all have 3-5 usb ports on the back alone(not including my usb hub for my golden oldie). Then add some usb in front and you know that it is a widespread standard. And you also must not forget usb sticks and usb external hard drives. The whole world runs on usb(including a usb vacuum cleaner ;) ).

Sure, firewire might be better but it does not matter. Cut the cord and let it die. This year will not be the year of firewire in the desktop.

Network admin - serial ports and dial-ups (1)

AgentPhunk (571249) | about 6 years ago | (#25420033)

I use my serial port all the time to connect to the console port on network devices (cisco routers, switches, and whatnot) for initial device config, and an analog modem to connect to said routers/switches once they're out in the field and their primary connection (T1 or E1) fails.

Yes, USB-to-Serial converters are commonplace, so I could do away with the serial port, but when a circuit goes down and you need to prove to the ISP that its -not- your equipment at fault, there's literally no substitute for an analog, out-of-band connection.

That's the problem with killing off a technology, there's also a certain fraction of a percentage of users that absolutely must have it. Except for ZIP drives, of course. May they eternally burn in hell, amen..

Need a superior replacement before losing Firewire (1)

Logic Bomb (122875) | about 6 years ago | (#25420067)

Most of the time, when Apple deprecates a technology it's because there are legitimate arguments that a superior replacement is available. (And of course, they implement the replacement.) That simply hasn't happened here. USB has its advantages for some scenarios, but there are many more where Firewire is better.

Since this is Apple, there's been no statement about long-term plans anyway. There are a variety of reasons Apple may have left it off this model, even if they don't intend to stop using Firewire in general. Maybe they had trouble making another port fit on the side of the case. Maybe the chipset they got from Nvidia for the MacBooks doesn't include an option for Firewire and they didn't want to do the work to add it on their own. Maybe they're just trying to force some customers to buy MacBook Pros.

Look to the next round of new "consumer"-line Macs for guidance: if new iMacs or minis are released without Firewire, that'll be a very strong signal.

Re:Need a superior replacement before losing Firew (1)

log0n (18224) | about 6 years ago | (#25420305)

Firewire will most definitely be staying with the pro products. Too many cameras, audio interfaces, disk arrays, etc etc depend on firewire, not to mention .

This is primarily Apple removing a feature that is next to useless on a product for a given audience.

MacBook FireWire slower than USB 2.0 (1)

daybot (911557) | about 6 years ago | (#25420151)

From TFA:

...may not pacify folks with camcorders that are FireWire only. Or who like FireWire's speed for external hard drives.

The only thing we've lost is a FireWire 400 port, so against USB 2.0 we haven't lost speed. Both the MacBook Pro and MacBook have lost FireWire 400, but the Pro still has FireWire 800, which the MacBook never had to my knowledge.

I still sympathise with MacBook FireWire users: they don't even have a card slot to fix this omission. The FireWire 800 port on my Pro is heavily used - losing that would be a deal breaker for me.

The missing list (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 6 years ago | (#25420239)

head less desktops under $2200 the mac pro stars at $2300 vs $1200+ and up in the g4 and g5 days.

Laptops with video cards that have there own ram under $2000

A real video card in the mini and no putting the 8400m that uses system at $800 will not cut it.

matte displays




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