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MacBook is Speedy, but no FireWire 800, Modem Ports

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the change-in-it dept.

Technology (Apple) 199

Lam1969 writes "Yuval Kossovsky has a hands-on review of the new 15" MacBook Pro. Besides the speed improvement with the dual-core 1.83-GHz Intel processor, he likes the built-in iSight camera, "MagSafe" power connector, and better WiFi antenna placement, among other features. But he laments the loss of the modem port and FireWire 800 connectors: '[Apple] has taken away by getting rid of the FireWire 800 connector slot and the modem. FireWire 800 was left off the motherboard of the new laptop largely because it has not achieved much a following among users. ... The loss of the modem jack may be a sign of things to come. I was told that Apple had found that 90% of PowerBook owners used the 802.11g AirPort wireless card, gigabit ethernet or a Bluetooth connection to a cell modem to get network access. So for cost and package size reasons, the modem was left out.'" Update: 01/26 17:25 GMT by P : Story and headline updated to clarify that only FireWire 800 was not included on the machine; FireWire 400 is present.

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Will the PC card slot go too? (2, Insightful)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567387)

For that matter, I've also never used the slot for PC cards in my PowerBook. Is the use of these slots common with other owners?

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (3, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567491)

For that matter, I've also never used the slot for PC cards in my PowerBook. Is the use of these slots common with other owners?

No - and that's why its gone too, replaced with an ExpressCard/34 slot that can theoretically take in a wider variety of expansion opportunities, as they get developed.

The main use for an addon card in this or the previous generation of laptops would have been for one of the permanent mobile phone network cards. I'm sure that ExpressCard versions will be forthcoming, as will ExpressCard FireWire 800 ports for those few people who need them.

Moving the modem external to the main system, and making it optional, just makes sense. Most people I know who travel with their laptops never use them, preferring to drive to a Starbucks (or local equiv.) rather than try to send massive emails over a dialup network.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567509)

If it answers your question, the iBooks don't have a PCMCIA slot. I haven't missed it a bit. In fact, I'm amazingly happy at not having to worry about damaging whatever dongle is always hanging out of the stupid ports. (I lost an ungodly number of Xircom cards to bent pins. Of course, they weren't very well designed to begin with, but...) If it's important enough, it can connect via USB.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567517)

I have an iBook without a PC card slot. I wish I had one primarily so I can stick a multi memory card reader in it like I did on my Vaio.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567599)

What's wrong with hooking up a reader via USB?

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567756)

It wouldn't be as aerodynamic with a USB reader.

Or maybe not.
I don't like carrying a cable and it's easier to show of photos by sticking a CF card into a small laptop and then giving the laptop to your friends to look at rather than using a cable to the camera or a cable to the usb connector. It's just a personal preference. I am quite good at losing cables and destroying them.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568148)

That's kind of funny. I always have the exact opposite problem. i.e. I always manage to shear off whatever is hanging out of the PC Card port. At least with a USB device, the cable yanks cleanly out if it gets caught on something. :-)

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568254)

I never had a problem with the CF reader I have, it actually remains flush against the slot. The Cardbus Wifi card on the other hand. It wasn't so pretty. Good things those things became so cheap so fast.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568302)

So get one without cables. My card reader is slightly larger than a usb thumb drive. I can slide a card in plug it use show stuff around and eject easily. Plus I get the added bonus that I can travel with my camera and reader.

I used the above when i went on a two week vacation. my sister and I each took hundreds of photos. When it was over but before we went our seperate ways I took all the memory cards and went to an internet cafe. I copied all the files to the computer and burned a couple of CD's of all theimages. It was expensive(a couple of US dollars a pop) but we had three back up copies of our trip that went three different directions.

I didn't have to carry my laptop with me.

USB however small still sticks out of the laptop (1)

blorg (726186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568786)

...while a PCMCIA card reader will be completely flush. Makes a big difference, you can just leave the card stuck in there permenantly and you don't notice it at all.

Everything better on USB (1)

addie macgruer (705252) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568454)

There's nothing wrong with connecting a dial-up modem over USB, either. My (rev A) iMac modem died when the telephone lines outside got hit by lightning. £100 in the apple shop to get it fixed. An extra £20 on an external modem to take the shock in the first place would have been a fantastic investment.

Use the PC card slot to add a FireWire 800 port (2, Informative)

dmoen (88623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567539)

One potential use for the MacBook's PC card slot is to add a FireWire 800 port, or a modem port. I've personally never had the use for either on my laptop. The MacBook does have a FireWire 400 port, contrary to the title of the Slashdot article.

Doug Moen

Re:Use the PC card slot to add a FireWire 800 port (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567849)

Apple makes a USB modem dongle. Which is probably a better idea than a pc card as you are likely to also have to carry a phone cord as well as. For people that like to work on their video or audio on the road, I can see them using them to attach to high speed raid for video work, or installing a high end sound card.

Re:Use the PC card slot to add a FireWire 800 port (1)

feijai (898706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567945)

One potential use for the MacBook's PC card slot is to add a FireWire 800 port
I believe, but am not certain, that this is incorrect. Firewire provides power as well as data. At least on cardbus and pcmcia, there's not enough juice given for a card to provide this power. If your firewire device gets its power off the bus -- as is the case for many hard drives and high-quality video cameras -- then you're out of luck. You have to plug something in, either the device or possibly a port on the card.

Re:Use the PC card slot to add a FireWire 800 port (1)

iotashan (761097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568190)

True, but slightly misinformed. Most high-speed hard drives (which, of course, would be the point of a FW800 drive vs. a FW 400) consume too much power to be powered off the Firewire bus. I would assume the same is true of video cameras... they would need a full wall-outlet.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (2)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567549)

Risking my karma, whoever modded what happened to be the first post redundant needs to be shot. So I'll rephrase the post.

Because (especially at the time integrated Airport came out) most everything that I could've thought of is built into the MacBook/PowerBook, including wireless internet, firewire ports, and 2-3 USB ports, what do people use PC Cards for on Macs?

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

weave (48069) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568113)

what do people use PC Cards for on Macs
My 12" G4 lacks one and I've missed it because Verizon won't sell their broadband wireless net access except by using a PC Card.

What pisses me off was, through a hack, I got my e815 bluetooth Verizon phone to connect in to their broadband network just fine, but they apparently can't add the $60 unlimited package price to my account because accessing their broadband EV-DO network through my phone like that is unsupported and I hence have to buy the card and have the ESN of it authorized for it.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

chris234 (59958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568125)

I use the Cardbus slot on my Powerbook for an EVDO card (Kyocera KPC650). Now looking for alternatives......

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568560)

If you're one of the small handful of people who actually used a FireWire 800 drive, you might want a card for the MacBook with a FW800 port. Or, if you're more forward-looking, you might want a card that implements the 4x faster eSATA interface. The new slot is extremely fast, and is virtually the equivalent of putting another chip on the motherboard bus anyway.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

mindbooger (650932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568571)

I use mine for 3 things (and it's one of the reasons I _don't_ have buyer's remorse for just having bought the 1440x960 G4 Powerbook last month):
- CF adapter to pull the pictures off my camera (it's so much faster than USB)
- Orinoco radio for doing wireless capture with Kismac (Broadcom support isn't as good -- you can capture data, but you don't get management packets and 802.11 acks)
- every once in a while, for a SCSI card to pull stuff off of my ancient Zip or Jazz disks

How did this get modded Redundant? (0, Redundant)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567674)

How did this guy's post get modded redundant? It's one of the very first posts to the story. Sometimes I don't know about the people that get mod points...

Re:How did this get modded Redundant? (0, Offtopic)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567794)

I think there is some guy out there with mod points that is marking everything redundant. This post will be marked redundant.

Re:How did this get modded Redundant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14567865)

Mod parent -1, redundant. There's enough whining on Slashdot as it is...

Re:How did this get modded Redundant? (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567886)

My Karma will take a hit, oh well. Mod parent insightful.

Re:How did this get modded Redundant? (1)

timster (32400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567838)

What do you think "redundant" means? The mod is not "already posted on this story".

The mod may be wrong, but "redundant" makes plenty of sense for some early posts at least.

Data from Digital Camera cards (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567675)

A PC slot (with appropriate adaptor) is a fast way to download data off memory cards from digital cameras. Such a system is both faster and more convenient for people that take large numbers of photos (photos on multiple cards) or who want to give the memory card to a coworker for processing (one person takes the photos while a second person uploads/processes them for the public).

I know I'll miss the PC card slot until card makers will come up with adapter cards for the new ExpressCard/34 slot.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568134)

Absolutely. Use it for EVDO cards here in the states and UMTS when abroad. No one makes these devices for the new ExpressCard slot. Will have to pass on the MacBook until some solution comes around.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

assantisz (881107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568323)

I use it for a Cisco Aeronet wireless network card. We have a Cisco infrastructure here and I need the Aeronet card to use the Cisco specific security features. It works like a charm.

Re:Will the PC card slot go too? (1)

dborod (26190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568330)

I've had my powerbook for 3 years and have never used the PC card slot even once.

Still could be a "prototype" (2, Insightful)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567389)

A couple of days back we were speculating that maybe the MacBook at Jobs's keynote was more of a prototype, a little more rough around the edges than it should have been. No battery life numbers, and so on.

Now we get this "hands-on" review, but I'm not convinced anything has changed. He subjectively says the performance "cooks" -- but that's likely just the intel-happy finder. All he has is Apple's oddly vague words to go on about battery performance. The rest of it could have come from the press release about the keynote announcement.

Book's still out?

No modem! What about no floppy drive? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14567397)

Where't the 5.25" floppy drive?

Re:No modem! What about no floppy drive? (3, Funny)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567512)

Yeah, damnit, how am I meant to read my core memory now???!? Also, I demand an audio cassette drive! And an LP deck. How dare they remove my perfectly good ancient tech?!

Re:No modem! What about no floppy drive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568144)

Floppies come in 5.25 now? Cool these 8.5's take up way too much space!

Missing Tidbit (5, Informative)

creepynut (933825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567446)

What the article summary fails to mention is that there is still a Firewire 400 port on the Macbook. They just removed what they feel people aren't using, and that has been Apple's way for as long as I can remember.

The modem can be taken care of by an optional dongle for the system, and Firewire 800 can be added with an Express Card. If anyone needs either, they're still available.

Re:Missing Tidbit (1)

sharpestmarble (875443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567506)

> What the article summary fails to mention is that there is still a Firewire 400 port on the Macbook

Except that it's visible, and even pointed out, on the pic that accompanies the article. It looks like a pic that came off of Apple's website showing the ports available

Indeed (4, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568258)

And FireWire is going to be around for quite some time [appleintelfaq.com] .

As long as all DV and HDV cameras and decks use FireWire for DV transport, FireWire isn't going anywhere on Macs, including "consumer" Macs, since half of iLife (iMovie, iDVD), and the continuing major selling point for the SuperDrive, rest on the ability to get DV into the machine.

And no, USB isn't a substitute on DV cameras. USB is only included to transfer things from the internal memory card, usually still images and crappy digital-still-camera-like video. To transfer DV, you must use FireWire. (Now, could the industry eventually agree upon a collective standard mechanism for DV video transfer via USB? Will something eventually replace FireWire? Sure. But that's not going to happen for a long time.)

And indeed, ExpressCard/34 FireWire 800 cards are on the way [macfixit.com] , for people who really need FireWire 800:

MacBook Pro #4: FireWire 800 cards for ExpressCard/34 slot on the way

We previously reported that Apple has opted to omit the FireWire 800 port from its new MacBook Pro line. We also noted that various firms already offer ExpressCard FireWire 800 adapters, but there's a catch -- so far the cards are only available in the 54 mm ExpressCard standard, not the 34 mm standard Apple uses.

We've now received anonymous word from a major peripheral manufacturer indicating that FireWire 800 cards for the ExpressCard/34 slot are on the way.

The firm told MacFixIt:

"We do not have an estimated release date, but we are currently working on a couple of ExpressCard solutions (1394b being one of them). We, like other companies have an ExpressCard/54 cards and all we need to do is down-size them into the ExpressCard/34 form factor

"We expect to begin testing our cards within the next 2-3 weeks, and if all goes well, we could see production not long afterwards."

Re:Missing Tidbit (1)

tji (74570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568507)

I have never actually used the FW800 port on my PowerBook. Mostly because disk enclosures with FW800 are not as common as FW400 enclosures.

So, I have mixed feelings on the lack of FW800. It was something I had planned to use, when I found supporting devices. But, it's something I can live without pretty easily.

I think the omission on the "MacBook" had more to do with the Intel chipsets available, and its capabilities, rather than a choice to eliminate them.

The modem is a similar situation.. 95% of the time I use wired ot 802.11 networking. But, in a pinch I have had to use dialup. It would be nice to have in there. Their tiny USB modem is a good compromise, but it's yet another gadget to carry in my bag.

Not such a big deal (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567449)

The loss of the modem jack may be a sign of things to come. I was told that Apple had found that 90% of PowerBook owners used the 802.11g Airport wireless card, Gigabit Ethernet or a Bluetooth connection to a cell modem to get network access. So for cost and package size reasons, the modem was left out.

The loss of the modem isn't such a big deal. I've only ever used mine once (when I was moving) and it wasn't a pleasant experience. If I'd had a Wifi card, I probably would have gone to a local hotspot instead of bothering with the modem.

The nice part about the modem being left out, however, is that the Wifi card is included in the base system rather than as an add-on card. IMHO, that's a fair trade. If you really want a modem, Apple has a USB modem as an available option when you order your unit. So I'd say it's a win/win for all involved.

Unfortunately, I can't speak to the Firewire as I've never used it. Of course, that may be saying more than enough...

Re:Not such a big deal (1)

pentalive (449155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567610)

I use my modem all the time, I am using it right now. But a USB modem would be ok.

Instant Poll
Subject: Your main connection to the Internet
( ) DSL
( ) Cable Modem
( ) OC3
( ) Local Hotspot
( ) Open Wifi
( ) Dial Up
( ) Smoke Signals or Carrier Pigeon

Re:Not such a big deal (2, Interesting)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567665)

>I use my modem all the time, I am using it right now. But a USB modem would be ok.

exactly, if you're using a modem then you're wired down anyway. so what's the big inconvenience between
phone->laptop , and
phone->USB->laptop
?

apart from a few dollars and taking up a bit more space in your laptop bag, it's a total non-event.

Re:Not such a big deal (4, Funny)

MountainMan101 (714389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567708)

( ) Cowboy Neal personally relays my packets.
( ) I don't have the internet you insensitive clod (will obviously get zero votes - within error)

Re:Not such a big deal (1)

pentalive (449155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568061)

Mod UP! for posting via ESP!

Re:Not such a big deal (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567721)

We had both WiFi and a modem included for about six-odd months. I think if you consider what must be a very low incremental cost to keep the modem in, it seems like it really should still be included. Some people still go to places where WiFi is not yet present, and the external USB modem would be horribly easy to lose.

On the other hand, it sure would be sweet to have the dual core processor. I could even accept a slowdown to get it, since it means that when my computer's doing heavy processing, I can still use it through the other processor. I very rarely have irritating interactive slowdowns on my G5/dual 2ghz system, but I do have them on my PowerBook G4/1.67.

For this reason, I think the benchmarks, which I'm sure are accurate, enormously understate the appeal of the dual core processor in real-world use. If I can read my email without wincing, instead of having my photo processing application take over the whole computer, I'll be very happy indeed.

I'm holding off for a 17" display, though.

D

Re:Not such a big deal (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568167)

We had both WiFi and a modem included for about six-odd months. I think if you consider what must be a very low incremental cost to keep the modem in, it seems like it really should still be included. Some people still go to places where WiFi is not yet present, and the external USB modem would be horribly easy to lose.

The incremental financial cost is miniscule. The design and space costs are considerably greater. Besides, you could make the same argument for a whole stack of ports (VGA, S-VHS, FW800, etc) - where do you draw the line? Especially with modems, since USB modems are readily available at pretty much every computer and office supply store (at least in the US, probably most other countries as well) for a nominal replacement fee. For that matter, this move also makes the hardware more international in that you have one less part that changes based on the local environment.

Re:Not such a big deal (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568263)

> The loss of the modem isn't such a big deal. I've only ever used mine once (when I was moving) and it wasn't a pleasant experience. If I'd had a Wifi card, I probably would have gone to a local hotspot instead of bothering with the modem.

But still, the modem can be the only way to go online in some places. So the 10% or so users are going to have to buy one. Which wouldn't be so bad in itself, but Apple charges 49 bucks (!) for a simple 56k modem. This is the classical Apple way to hitting a price point: take things out of the package, and sell it separately for a lot of money.

I always wondered whether that works. How may people are going to shell out 49 bucks for the modem? Yes, you can probably get a cheaper one somewhere else, but will it work with your Mac?

Re:Not such a big deal (2, Interesting)

aduzik (705453) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568480)

Here's a thought: do you suppose that Apple might be leaving the modem out because they intend an upcoming Apple mobile phone to make the perfect wireless connection accessory? With all the rumor and speculation surrounding Apple launching some kind of wireless communications service in the future, I wouldn't be at all surprised if that's exactly what they're planning. If they make it easy to use, there would be tons of people using a bluetooth modem and not even knowing it.

Re:Not such a big deal (1)

pintomp3 (882811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568300)

i think modem and wireless should be base. if you only go as far as local coffee shops, it won't matter to you. but a lot of travelers end up in places where modem is the only option. being a laptop, it should be designed for travelers. having to add it on is a hassle (wifi dongle anyone?) especially when it doesn't cost much to build it in. i would even go so far as to say more people use the modem than bluetooth (most still don't know what bt is). then again, some say it's a prototype so it might end up with a built-in modem. who knows.

Re:Not such a big deal (1)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568366)

The loss of the modem isn't such a big deal.

well, the finder has native fax sending/receiving, and for someone on the go, that can be a real loss.

Although faxing is kinda a thing of the past, it's still the only option for sending hardcopies of contracts/ getting them back signed, and similar.

and about the firewire800... It wasn't adopted as quickly as the fw400, but it still had pretty wide usage. Many harddrives were shipping as either usb2/fw400 or fw400/fw800, and some even had an 800 only option. I was toying with the idea of getting a new enclosure that was 800 only (since I was going to attach it to my G5), but if apple is going to phase it out, I may just go with the usb2/fw400 version and spare myself from getting stuck with hardware I can't use (like what happened with all my external LaCie SCSI drives).

Re:Not such a big deal (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568530)

Although faxing is kinda a thing of the past, it's still the only option for sending hardcopies of contracts/ getting them back signed, and similar.

If you want to send a hardcopy of a document, then you need a scanner. Not too many people carry around flat-beds, methinks. :)

Kinkos is still best if you need to send a fax. EFax can handle the recieving end much better. (Especially since you don't have to ensure that your laptop is hooked up to the phone line.)

Re:Not such a big deal (1)

KFW (3689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568531)

I was toying with the idea of getting a new enclosure that was 800 only (since I was going to attach it to my G5), but if apple is going to phase it out, I may just go with the usb2/fw400 version and spare myself from getting stuck with hardware I can't use (like what happened with all my external LaCie SCSI drives).

It's not like FireWire 800 drive is suddenly going to stop working. Unless you're planning on trading in your G5 soon, get the 800 enclosure. Enjoy the extra speed. You can always slap the drive in a new enclosure later.

I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone lament the lack of a floppy drive on the new Macs as well. At least Apple moves forward with their designs instead of trying to accomodate every legacy POS that ever existed so as not to piss-off the one guy in Borneo who still has a serial mouse and 100 baud modem.

/K

Re:Not such a big deal (1)

nbvb (32836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568752)

Even still, with an FW800 to FW400 cable, that FW800 enclosure will work just fine with the MacBook Pro.

Please, this is a complete non-issue. Very few devices have FW800 ports anyway; it's pretty pointless.

MacBook pro review (4, Interesting)

weg (196564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567460)

Everyone - including those people who didn't get hold of a MacBook so far - could have written such a review :( He really doesn't come up with anything the informed Mac fan doesn't know already. And I really wonder what it means that the new MacBook is "exponentially faster" than the last G4 version.. having only two measurements, how did this guy manage to interpolate a non-linear function??

Re:MacBook pro review (1)

Raleel (30913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567501)

While a touch nitpicky about the exponential business, I agree with you whole heartedly that this is a pretty worthless review. I could have wrote that.

Re:MacBook pro review (1, Redundant)

pboulang (16954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567808)

Thank god you didn't though.. "could have wrote that" indeed. :)

Re:MacBook pro review (2, Insightful)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568394)

Obviously he is using "exponentially" to mean "vastly." Yes, you're very smart for knowing the mathematical definition, but you lose some points for feeling the need to prove it.

FW + Modem not such a big deal...to me (2, Interesting)

richdun (672214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567477)

I've never actually used FW 800, but then again, my camera syncs via USB, and I'm not a pro photo or video guy, so the only time I even used FW 400 was for my 3G iPod. As for a modem, I haven't used one of these in like 5 or 6 years - for most people it'll be okay, though those few travelers who go into areas without broadband wired or wireless (there are still places like this, somewhere, I think), they could find a USB modem, or maybe someone will come up with an Express Card modem, though that seems unlikely.

why didn't they try to install windows? (0, Offtopic)

mu22le (766735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567487)

AFAIK no reviewer that had a macbook in his hands has tried to get windows running on it, yet.

What's up? Do they have some kind of deal with apple to hide us the fact that we can't run xp (and xp games) before we all buy it and it's too late?

Re:why didn't they try to install windows? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14567780)

This is getting tiresome. Apple never advertised these machines as capable of booting Windows. They are not being sold as XP gaming boxes. These are Macs, intended to run Mac software. There is no dark conspiracy to prevent you from running XP games on a Mac. It's simply not the intended use. Period. Apple doesn't support it and has no desire to support it.

That said, an XP (or x86 Linux, or any x86 OS) VM would be an incredibly useful thing, and I'm sure one will be available before long. But this obsession with booting Windows is a white whale for geeks, not a missing checkpoint on the Mac features list.

Re:why didn't they try to install windows? (2, Informative)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568398)

I'd have to disagree here. There are probably a HUGE amount of people out there who would switch from PC to Mac only if there was a simple way to maintain backward-compatibility with all their Windows games and programs. Right now, when you buy a Mac as your sole computer, you're basically giving up PC gaming completely (except for World of Warcraft, that is). Not to mention all the proprietary VB stuff that many companies use.

A VM sounds nice, but I can't see how it would be any easier to make a VM for OSX than it is for x86-Linux, and the existing x86-Linux emulators (or translation layers or whatever) are far from perfect. I don't want WINE for Mac, I want Windows!

It may have little to do with Apple's "plans" for the system, but dual-booting to Windows would be a HUGE selling point among the gamer and geek crowds. If this is a white whale, it's got some darn valuable blubber.

Re:why didn't they try to install windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568621)

Mostly, I agree.

I have no desire to run Windows anything on my Macs. It represents another opportunity to deal with a crappy user experience which I get every day on other systems.

I can understand that some people want to be able to boot Windows for that stupid proprietary app (or something similar) for work. Other than that, what's the point? With the architecture switch, I don't even see the point of installing Linux. I could understand wanting to run Linux on a PPC, but this is just another Intel based laptop.

iMac = MacBook Pro with external keyboard & mo (1)

httpamphibio.us (579491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568226)

Why bother? The iMac and MacBook Pro are essentially the exact same system. If people are turning their iMacs into bricks why risk it with a MacBook Pro unless you're some almighty hacker that can create a wrapper to get EFI to work with a BIOS based OS?

"I tried to install XP on my MacBook Pro and it didn't work," is no more impressive than "I tried to install my XP on my iMac and it didn't work."

No Firewire *800*, not "No Firewire" (3, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567488)

The headline is wrong. The MacBook Pro has Firewire, it just doesn't have FW800.

It's clear Apple is downplaying Firewire, quite possibly planning to drop it as a standard feature some time in the next few years, but they haven't gone the whole way yet.

Re:No Firewire *800*, not "No Firewire" (1)

CapnGib (31274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567598)

It's clear Apple is downplaying Firewire, quite possibly planning to drop it as a standard feature some time in the next few years, but they haven't gone the whole way yet.

I don't think FW400 is going away any time soon, at least as long as FW400 is THE interface for DV cameras.

Re:No Firewire *800*, not "No Firewire" (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567776)

I don't think SCSI is going away any time soon either, as long as SCSI is THE interface for scanners. ;-)

DV cameras are migrating to USB. Firewire support can always be provided in terms of a plug-in card for the minority that (a) use DV, (b) want to import it into their computers, and (c) use non-USB version. That minority is relatively large right now but it's going to get smaller. Firewire's other applications are relatively obsolete too. Sure, it's a better way of doing much of this stuff, but it's redundant against good-enough technologies that have to be included anyway. USB2 is on all Windows PCs because it's good-enough, Firewire is usually optional because it's a little bit better.

With Apple no longer including Firewire cables with iPods, with the nano and shuffle being USB only, with Apple actually going backwards in terms of support (800 replaced with the older USB2-speed 400), it's relatively clear they're not seeing this as a technology they're fully behind any more. I would be unsurprised if their consumer Macs drop Firewire support completely (but available via a plug-in card) next year.

Re:No Firewire *800*, not "No Firewire" (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567975)

Firewire is mandated by the FCC. It's going to stick around for a while.

Re:No Firewire *800*, not "No Firewire" (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568498)

Apple has to include Firewire in their low-end machines because of the FCC?

Or do you just mean that high-end equipment needs to support Firewire? That's important in terms of what goes into consumer Macs as it is in the same way that my DV camera needs to support Beta tapes (ie it doesn't.)

Don't get me wrong, I love Firewire. But I've played this game too many times in the past. I was on the side of SCSI when IDE replaced it too. I looked at IDE's inferior performance, SCSI's greater standardization (when Apple phased out SCSI, you could still get "IDE" CDROMs that required special non-standard drivers to use), and SCSI's ability to support more than just storage devices. I can see when the writing is on the wall for a perfectly good technology. When its most enthusiastic sponsor is downgrading support (and blaming Intel for FW800 being gone isn't going to cut it - it doesn't explain what's happening with iPod, and it's something Apple could fix anyway by including a FW800 card), it's obvious Apple isn't interested in pushing it.

Look also at where the industry is heading. When Firewire was first announced, people were talking about networking all audio-visual equipment with it, consumer and pro. SPDIF is where the audio is. Video "networking" looks set to be HDMI based in the near future. Hard to see where Firewire will fit in the picture for consumer AV.

I really, seriously, believe people are deluding themselves when they posit arguments in favour of consumer Firewire continuing to attract the support of major manufacturers like Apple. Apple is taking steps to downgrade it in the non-pro sphere. That's demonstrable fact. It's not because of Intel, it's something they were already doing well before the MacBook Pro.

Re:No Firewire *800*, not "No Firewire" (1)

CapnGib (31274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568205)

DV cameras are migrating to USB.

Thats funny you mention that, because my brother just got one of those FW/USB2 DV cams and guess what: we couldn't successfully transfer video at full resolution under USB2. He bought a FW card for $20 and it works great.

The FW exclusion from iPods is a different matter in that Apple is trying to appeal to the masses, who happen to be windows users and don't have FW.

FW800 is not compatible with FW400 and simply never really caught on. FW400 is however quite popular, although not as popular as USB(1 or 2). So the exclusion of FW800 in a notebook, where space is at such a premium, is not really a surprise. I wouldn't expect USB2 to take a hold in DV camera space, especially as we migrate to HD resolutions. FW400 might get pushed out in favor of HDMI or another high bandwidth standard, but not in 2006.

Re:No Firewire *800*, not "No Firewire" (1)

crawdad62 (308893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567829)

And when that day comes. You know the day everything that was FW migrates to USB2 will be a sad day indeed. The reason like the op state "FW400 is THE interface for DV cameras" is because it should be. USB2 just doesn't cut it. Cut outs maybe.

Re:No Firewire *800*, not "No Firewire" (1)

pboulang (16954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567855)

Well, additionally as it is hugely important in infrastructure uses... booting a laptop in firewire target mode is a HUGE win in getting snapshots. Conversely, booting to external firewire drive for putting back images is not a capability of USB yet (at least on Apple hardware).

Re:No Firewire *800*, not "No Firewire" (3, Interesting)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568178)

I doubt apple is planning on dropping Firewire. 99% of video cameras use Firewire and Firewire only. Very few devices have adopted Firewire 800 though, so very few people use it. Not only that, but Firewire trumps USB 2.0 in every single benchmark that I've ever seen.

I'm still disappointed that they dropped it though.

Re:No Firewire *800*, not "No Firewire" (1)

Warlock7 (531656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568753)

It's early. Wait for the full resolution HD video data transfers to come along. When people need to start transferring 10+ GB files, they'll come around.

Deceptive headline (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14567541)

The Firewire 800 port has gone missing, but there's a firewire 400 port. I think your headline should be edited to reflect this. You make it sound as if there's no firewire at all. Fix it!

No modem port...but there are still options (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567661)

So for the single digit percentage of folks that need support for a modem they could go with an external USB modem [google.com] , like Firewire 800 there's just not the demand for either of these, so it makes sense to drop them. In this vein the reviewer could bemoan the lack of a 100Meg Zip drive, a BNC connector or an AT keyboard plug ;)

Ok, sorry, just kidding. Really though, I'd like to have a laptop where even the cdrom is option; so there would not be a cdrom slot on the system, you'd have to install via a external USB/firewire cdrom, and then not have to worry about the xtra weight that *I* never use. Again, there's a big market of folks that want a Souper-drive on their Mac's, so they're not going anywhere but for me it's just wasted weight.

Re:No modem port...but there are still options (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567759)

Really though, I'd like to have a laptop where even the cdrom is option; so there would not be a cdrom slot on the system, you'd have to install via a external USB/firewire cdrom, and then not have to worry about the xtra weight that *I* never use.

The CDRom adds only a few ounces. Given how many programs, movies, games, and music albums still come on CD/DVD, I have a hard time believing that it's something you'd "never use". (I use mine all the time.) More likely, if you got your wish you'd find yourself without the drive in a situation when you needed it most.

Re:No modem port...but there are still options (3, Funny)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568196)

I had a Sony Vaio SRX without floppy nor a built in DVD drive. It was 2.6 pounds. The newest Sony with a built in Dvd drive weighs in at 3.1 pounds. The lightest Sony full function laptop ever made was 1.8 pounds. So the built drive does make quite a big difference percentage wise in the weight of the laptop. Most computers nowadays come with an image of the software on the hard drive rather than on a disk, so for most people who never buy any software other than ones installed for them, like people who buy iBooks, I can see one day where optical drives would be optional, and you would use a dock connected to a laptop to access this optical drive. Since this would be a dual use, I propose a new name for this Apple laptop without any drives. I propose the name, MacBook Duo.

Re:No modem port...but there are still options (1)

pboulang (16954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567965)

It's the same motivation that dropped floppy drives... I'd be pretty pissed if space was wasted with one.

I'd agree with your comment regarding cd-rom/DVD drive being optional except that they have it down to such a low weight that is bears no resemblence to the heavy drives of yesteryear. Plus, by having it built-in, it "just works" as it is 100% supported.

FireWire 800 is missing because... (5, Interesting)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567677)

... Intel's standard chip set doesn't support it.

It's that simple, Apple had no part to play in that decision.

They had a part to play... (2, Insightful)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567830)

They could've added their own chip, driving up costs, weight and heat, while decreasing battery lifetime.

It probably would have also increased the time to market.

So, they had a part to play, and in this case, they might've made the right decision -- the older laptops w/ FW800 are still on the market, and I would assume that Apple's going to push for support in the future.

Personally, I don't like FW800, as it uses a completely different connection and cable than FW400, unlike the various USB specs, and the various ethernet specs using RJ45 plugs ... and with a laptop, I don't want to go carrying around even more cables. I would like to see FW800 on the iMac mini, though, so I can get better disk performance than the internal.

Re:They had a part to play... (1)

cygnus (17101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568097)

They could've added their own chip, driving up costs, weight and heat, while decreasing battery lifetime.
not sure they could... that's an Intel motherboard. Apple's not making them anymore. what they could do is exert pressure on Intel to include support for fw800 in the future.

Perfectly reasonable compromises (2, Interesting)

CharAznable (702598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567693)

I haven't used dialup in more than 4 years, and I'm yet to see a Firewire 800 device in the wild. Fw800 is for all intents and purposes, dead as fried chicken. Starting with the retarded, backwards-incompatible connector.

Hemos needs to double check the headlines... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14567716)

WTF!!! How lazy is the /. approval team getting? Firewire is on these notebooks. Correct these errors when they come to you before you post them /.ers!!!

AC needs to learn how to read! (1)

losman (840619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568294)

The article is right; there is no FW800 port. There IS a FW400 port but no FW800.

losman needs to learn how to read! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568622)

The comment was made about the headline you fucking halfwit retard. RTFH!!!! Fucking twits.

Quit giving a pass to lack of modem. (4, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567875)

First the modem should be there as it adds very little to the cost and is present in many chipsets. Laptops are about NOT having to carry accessories. While FW800 may be excused as FW400 is there I can't give them a pass on the modem.

Many times I find the following situation, no wireless and no lan. This means modems. Yeah some hotels have internet I can connect to via lan but that still isn't widespread, or should I say widespread in hotels some business will pay for. Same goes for wireless.

If I am taking a laptop on business all I should need is the laptop, the power cord, and the case to carry it. I don't want to have a section for "exceptions". If I have one of those then I bought the wrong laptop.

This is a "PRO" model, by name it implies it will provide me everything I could use that is reasonable. That modem is far more valuable than a gimmick of a camera. Hell I already carry a digital camera around and I am sure I can use it in place of iSight (which seems more suitable to teens playing with IM and IV)

Re:Quit giving a pass to lack of modem. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568034)

I have two external hard drives which are both FireWire 800. I used the modem once, but I get more speed using Bluetooth via my mobile 'phone than I do with the modem.

My point, assuming I have one, is that the modem has been superseded by 802.11 and Bluetooth + mobile 'phone, while they include nothing that is an adequate replacement for FireWire 800.

Re:Quit giving a pass to lack of modem. (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568219)

If I am taking a laptop on business all I should need is the laptop, the power cord, and the case to carry it. I don't want to have a section for "exceptions". If I have one of those then I bought the wrong laptop.

Do you carry a phone cord with you? Because, as I'm sure you know, not all hotels provide nicely detachable cables with their phones. If you don't, well, I'm surprised. If you do, simply superglue an RJ11USB adapter onto the end of it. Problem solved.

Re:Quit giving a pass to lack of modem. (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568247)

That was supposed to be:

    RJ11 <--> USB

Le sigh. Then again, that's what I get for not previewing.

Re:Quit giving a pass to lack of modem. (1)

chrism238 (657741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568395)

Hear, hear! I'm confident that adding (retaining) the modem chips on the CPU board adds almost nothing ($5?) to the price, weight, and complexity, while the presence of a modem adds greatly to the utility of a laptop, both on the road and when my home ADSL connection fails. I, too, don't wish to carry another device in my laptop bag, have to pay US$50++ for a modem(!), or consume a USB slot to run it. Bad decision Apple!

Re:Quit giving a pass to lack of modem. (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568435)

This is a "PRO" model, by name it implies it will provide me everything I could use that is reasonable.

Well, PRO is debatable. A big market for PowerBooks has always been those stereotypical beret-wearing coffeshop Mac guys, especially among the early adopters that would be willing to purchase an early Intel model. I suspect Apple knows their customer base very well, and they're sure that doodad features like a webcam and a remote will be more popular than FW800 and a modem.

Tiny USB modem (2, Insightful)

kherr (602366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568639)

Apple's USB modem [apple.com] is tiny, smaller than an iPod shuffle. I'm sure you'll also be able to get an ExpressCard modem (so it can be "in" the machine and not an extra part to carry). Sure people still need modems, but the number of those using them is shrinking. And since there's a reasonable external solution why continue to build it into the machine?

While many modem users may be shocked by the lack of a built-in modem, this move is probably less radical than it seems, just like ditching the floppy drive. Everyone couldn't imagine a machine without a floppy, but it didn't hurt Apple at all. I think replacing the PC Card slot with an ExpressCard slot is much more extreme, since that obsoletes hardware people have.

think it's been said (1)

wornst (317182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567928)

"This afternoon, Apple invited some journalists at a presentation of its new products at EBC in Paris. If we weren't invited, we had some "unofficial"correspondants attending.
And they did ask Apple about the new notebooks' battery life.
Their answer is quite interesting: the machines that were demoed are only prototypes and the final versions are still under development. They thus don't have any hard numbers on the battery life of the final products.
The disappearance of FW800 has also been discussed: Apple said it would have required them toi build a specific FW800 card (Intel does not support it), and that they had no plans for it [moose: well, down the drain goes Apple's autonomy to innovate.]
Let's hope they hurry up and finalize (but not rush out) their machines before the official release date (within a month.)"
from www.hardmac.com

Personally, I think apple should have made a ipod pro that used firewire 800, had a bigger screen (landscape maybe) and a larger hard drive. This whole intel switch is a mess. We better get a 64 bit processor when they release the pro machines or else I'll never beleive anything Jobs says ever again. Now we have a 64 bit OS with a 32 bit processor. Explain the logic behind that?

Mouse (0, Troll)

andywhitt (865094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567973)

Do we know if its a two button mouse on them?

Apple's customers (-1, Flamebait)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568067)

Apple continues to narrow the segment of customers that they're catering to. Now, apparently, they're only catering to customers that live in modern, urban or massively suburban areas that have wireless everywhere. I know that I would never consider a laptop (especially a grossly overpriced laptop) that doesn't have a built in modem. It's not because of snobbery, but because I often have to use a modem to connect to the Net.

But really, this is nothing new... Apple has really always been bleeding edge, and has always catered to the very wealthy.

Re:Apple's customers (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568349)

I know that I would never consider a laptop (especially a grossly overpriced laptop) that doesn't have a built in modem. It's not because of snobbery, but because I often have to use a modem to connect to the Net.

Yeah, and when you're hardwired into a phone line, a very small swelling at one end of the wire is such a huge price to pay for connectivity. I mean, c'mon. You already have to supply the wire itself, what's the big deal about chipping in another $10-20 for a USB modem?

Integrating wireless devices into the laptop makes sense. The whole point of being wireless is to be unencumbered by "clutter." Integrating a wired adapter, especially one that few people use, doesn't really add any benefit. I'd say that they could do the same with the Ethernet jack if it wasn't for the fact that USB ethernet adapters are considerably more expensive and less standardized - oh, and the fact that a much larger percentage of the population uses them.

If you connect to the 'net over a modem at home, have you tried the Airport base station with the built in modem? We set this up for some friends of ours and it worked really well, giving them mobility and convenience without requiring broadband.

Re:Apple's customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568440)

Not overpriced by any stretch of the imagination. The same features from Gateway will cost you the same amount of money, if not a little bit more. Compare before you blather on endlessly about things you clearly know nothing about.

A bad choice of words for Apple's PR (1)

chrism238 (657741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568159)

I'me very unconvinced that an article subtitled "This baby cooks" is good for Apple's PR! After all, the temperature from the much touted G5 Powerbook was one major reason for the shift to Intel in the first place.

FireWire 400 (1)

spleck (312109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568272)

Oh Geez! No FireWire 800!!? What am I going to do... I'll have to use the insufferable FireWire 400 at ONLY 50 MB/sec.

I can't believe there's no PCI Express x16 slot either! How am I going to install my GeForce 7800GT?

Please fix the headline (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568280)

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. No FW800, but it has FW400, so it *has* FW no?

FireWire 800 (1)

aduzik (705453) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568348)

It is my understanding that the reason the FireWire 800 port is absent on the new MacBook Pro is that the Intel chipset they're using doesn't support it. To have FireWire 800 support, Apple would have to provide a custom chipset capable of supporting it. Since Apple doesn't exactly have fab capabilities, it's not on the MacBook. Also, it's been suggested by others -- and quite rightly, I think -- that most customers weren't using the FireWire 800 port on the PowerBook. For the benefit it would provide, building FireWire 800 into the MacBook seems prohibitively expensive. Now the Power Mac may be an entirely different story.

Re:FireWire 800 (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568627)

To have FireWire 800 support, Apple would have to provide a custom chipset capable of supporting it. Since Apple doesn't exactly have fab capabilities, it's not on the MacBook.

Of course, Apple could've always just contracted out the fabrication like they have for the chipsets on every previous Mac since the first. Seriously, did you think that the PowerMac G5 used an off-the-shelf chipset? Apple has long been in the business of custom-designing chips for their motherboards, not the least of which would be the famous Mac ROM.
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