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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Firewire Gone?

Firewire Gone?
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Dec 9, 2005, 09:19 AM
 
Some are saying that Firewire will be gone when Apple moves to Intel. I personally hope not. The following link will let you look at what some rumors are saying. What does everybody else think.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=57
     
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Dec 9, 2005, 09:23 AM
 
Actually, they say its going away on low end systems..
     
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Dec 9, 2005, 09:27 AM
 
That would only be the beginning of the end in my opinion.
     
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Dec 9, 2005, 01:02 PM
 
well no more fw400 on any machine...but they are keeping fw800 on the power machines. apple does realize that lots of mini dv cameras use fw400, not to mention their very own iSight, right?
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Dec 9, 2005, 01:43 PM
 
that wouldn't be a problem. you can connect a firewire 400 device to a firewire 800 port with an adaptor.

-r.
     
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Dec 9, 2005, 01:51 PM
 
I doubt this rumor is true. Even cheap pc usually have one firewire (1394) port. How would they continue pushing imovie when almost every DV camera out there uses firewire?
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Dec 9, 2005, 01:52 PM
 
I doubt this rumor is true. Even cheap pc usually have one firewire (1394) port. How would they continue pushing imovie when almost every DV camera out there uses firewire?
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Dec 9, 2005, 01:53 PM
 
I find it hard to believe that Apple would eliminate the firewire port if hardware, the likes of iSight, are to remain firewire connected. After all iSight is touted to be portable. And what better could it b to use USB over Firewire. I believe the rumors are wrong on this one.
     
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Dec 9, 2005, 01:55 PM
 
O'Grady is a font of useless, wrong, and misleading information. Many years ago he had good info about PBs, but that hasn't been the case in a long time.
     
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Dec 9, 2005, 02:08 PM
 
O'Grady is an idiot, often wrong, uses conjecture as fact, relies on hyperbole to gain attention, and is high on my list of cretins who will be ignored. He's somewhere between Paul Thurott and Rob Enderle.

1. If Apple removes IEEE 1394 then they will need to make some significant changes to their current software lineup, including iMovie, Migration Assistant, iChat (w/ iSight), etc..

2. Apple will need to explain how those customers that purchase a "new" iBook without the Firewire port will be able to transfer video from their DV Camcorder, because the majority of existing Camcorder's on the market use Firewire for video transfer.

3. Apple will need to announce that the current implementation of Firewire 800 on G5 Macs is now fully functional and operational, and no longer crippled as it is currently.

Apple removing Firewire...I don't think so!
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Dec 9, 2005, 03:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by iREZ
well no more fw400 on any machine...but they are keeping fw800 on the power machines. apple does realize that lots of mini dv cameras use fw400, not to mention their very own iSight, right?
I've heard the iSight that is built into the iMacs is USB internally instead of FW, so perhaps we'll see a new iSight revision soon.
     
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Dec 9, 2005, 04:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
I've heard the iSight that is built into the iMacs is USB internally instead of FW, so perhaps we'll see a new iSight revision soon.
a USB iSight would be inferior.
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Dec 9, 2005, 05:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by jcadam
a USB iSight would be inferior.
Well, that's certainly an authoritative statement.

I've read the same things as mduell has read, saying that the iSight on the new iMacs is hooked up via USB. There's no reason to believe that it's in an way inferior. If you're going to make a statement like that, you should back it up with something substantial.
     
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Dec 10, 2005, 02:21 AM
 
We don't know!
     
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Dec 16, 2005, 05:03 PM
 
Unfortunately, MacNN have weighed in on this with their PodCast - speculating FireWire will go.

http://macnn.com/rd.php?id=37678

FireWire has some real advantages for audio and video - it would be a real shame if it does go. I don't think they're right on this.

Yes, USB2 provides a similar user experience for consumer app's, but FireWire offers far better guaranteed throughput, which is very important in pro app's.
     
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Dec 16, 2005, 07:29 PM
 
Who puts faith in the opinion of the MacNN news team? They get the details wrong as often as not. If it doesn't come from a press release, they're in trouble.

It's unfortunate that they've chosen to give attention to such a poorly founded rumor.
     
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Dec 16, 2005, 08:05 PM
 
I think that the iSight will move to USB 2. I think that (and I'm making this up altogether) iMacs will have 4 pin, PowerBooks and PowerMacs will have a FW800 port.
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Dec 16, 2005, 09:07 PM
 
Considering you can't use USB to transfer data from an old mac to a new mac- and that you can't boot from a USB drive- I'd say that they would cause a ton of problems for people with older machines who would want to move to newer machines. If you had an old machine with FW 400 and USB 1- how would you transfer your data to the new machine as easily?
Then of course there is every firewire camera that works with iMovie.
And- in the grand scheme of things- how much does a firewire port on a machine really cost?
I'd say it will be a while before it goes away.
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Dec 16, 2005, 09:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by new newton
Well, that's certainly an authoritative statement.

I've read the same things as mduell has read, saying that the iSight on the new iMacs is hooked up via USB. There's no reason to believe that it's in an way inferior. If you're going to make a statement like that, you should back it up with something substantial.
Actually, there is. USB is inherently inferior, to FireWire, because it moves too much of the actual processing into software. This is why USB2 has never been able to obtain its so-called 480Mbps rate in any sustained manner, nor will it ever: it consumes too many resources.

But that's what it is with Apple nowadays: what's cheap triumphs over what's good. This only makes me more convinced that I'm right to make my current set of Macs my last. At least I'll get my money's worth from a Linux box, instead of an expensive PC with no significant advantages to justify the Apple tax.
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Dec 16, 2005, 11:02 PM
 
Theory is all well and good, but practice is where it counts. Show me the downside of the iSight in the new iMac in quantifiable terms. Dollars to doughnuts, you can't.

As for hardware... you generally get what you pay for. If you don't feel that's the case, spend your money elsewhere. It's not as though your personal choice matters to me.
     
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Dec 16, 2005, 11:41 PM
 
I suspect this may be yet another example of how Mac rumours often get only part of the story and end up triggering feverish speculation that turns out to be mostly misdirected when the covers eventually come off.

Another rumor doing the rounds is that in Apple will soon (Jan Macworld) anounce new Intel iBooks, and that there will be two models of them - one similar to today's 12" & 14" models in general formfactor but perhaps with a 13.3" widescreen, and another model in a very different "super-small, super-light" formfactor, i.e. a sub-notebook iBook (maybe with a 10" or 12" screen). It may well be that's it's this new small sub-notebook model that has no Firewire (no video pro is going to use it, nor most of the people who need FW, it's for "road warriors", "mobile professionals", etc.) and the larger regular iBook will continue to have at least FW 400, if not 800.
     
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Dec 16, 2005, 11:47 PM
 
Anyone who knows any of the history knows Firewire was pushed by Apple and USB by Intel and the two technologies have constantly played out a 'High Noon' scenario for consumers and manufacturers--each vying to be on top. The advantage of Firewire is that it off-loads the CPU and is therefore more efficient and less of a load on your system. Its throughput is higher in mulitasking system because it doesn't bog down the CPU for the mundane work of data transfer. But that is a detriment to Intel who makes CPUs and who has a vested interest in getting you to use more and more CPU so you have to keep upgrading. So Fireware was elegant and precious (the chips seeing lower demand in numbers never reached the economy of scale USB chips did) and USB was common--both in design and in numbers. And the advantage of USB is that it has Intel behind it much as the advantage of Internet Explorer was that it had Microsoft behind it. I have no doubt, given that Intel is as rapacious a monopolist as Microsoft, that they will play every trick they can and that they extracted a concession from Apple to down play and slowly abandon Firewire except in the very high end where Apple's professional customers won't stand for Apple and Intel's planned obsolescence. But for consumers and amateurs, Steve Jobs doesn't care if you and I have to buy a Fireware card to hook up our video camera in the future or cannot even get FIreware for our laptops. At the keynote, Jobs plugs the Sony HD FX1 video camera saying, "you've just gotta go get one of these." He thinks we'll all go out and buy $3,000 (at the time) SONY FX1? Talk about out of touch--or may be that's just not giving a rat's tail about consumers after all. Apple has gone to the dark side with the move to Intel even if it was justified and inescapable. Adam's bite of the apple was inescapable also--but that didn't mean it was a good thing now did it? Jobs as Dr. Faust. Hmmmm...raise the curtain on Act III and we'll see.
     
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Dec 16, 2005, 11:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by new newton
Well, that's certainly an authoritative statement.

I've read the same things as mduell has read, saying that the iSight on the new iMacs is hooked up via USB. There's no reason to believe that it's in an way inferior. If you're going to make a statement like that, you should back it up with something substantial.
Um, well obviously it would be way inferior because you would have to plug it into an AC adapter as well as the USB 2.0 port. This is especially a problem for people with portables, as often plugging into a power outlet is not an option. The fact that FW has enough bus power to power drives and things like iSights has always been a great feature. I guess jcadam assumed that the users here were pretty good with computers and new about these sorts of differences.
     
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Dec 16, 2005, 11:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by rjenkinson
that wouldn't be a problem. you can connect a firewire 400 device to a firewire 800 port with an adaptor.

-r.

If you have a portable then that's a huge problem. Nobody wants to carry an adaptor with them everywhere they take their laptop. That's one of the nice features of USB 2.0 (that it uses the same style port as 1.1)
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 12:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by jeebus
Um, well obviously it would be way inferior because you would have to plug it into an AC adapter as well as the USB 2.0 port.
And in the context of the discussion about it being integrated with the iMac, that matters how? It's cool to be snotty, but if you're going to be snotty at least have a leg to stand on.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 12:31 AM
 
FWis
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 12:32 AM
 
FW is not going away on Macs. Apple has too much invested in it. This is just a silly rumor gone amok.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 12:45 AM
 
But is there a way to use Firewire with the new iPods? Or am I stuck with my G4 Cube with USB 1.1 and a fully functional Firewire and my 4G iPod?

Apple created Firewire true enough, killing it would be their decision. But for the amount of machines that are still running and still have only USB 1.1 and Firewire... they've just sorta stomped on the toes of the people that might have upgraded to the new iPod.

Well, at least they did that to me.
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Dec 17, 2005, 02:33 AM
 
you can use your 4G iPod on a USB1.1 port but it will be slow. The initial sync of an iPod will take quite a while because you may be transferring massive amounts of music and photos.

But if you are like most users, subsequent syncs will be smaller because you will most likely be tweaking playlists and photo libraries so you won't be transferring as much.

Unless, of course, you are one of those fellas who completely wipes out their iPod with a new playlist everytime they sync.




If we were to buy a FW400 to FW800 adapter, would that throttle the whole FW800 chain down to FW400 speeds?
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 02:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by booboo
Yes, USB2 provides a similar user experience for consumer app's, but FireWire offers far better guaranteed throughput, which is very important in pro app's.
What is the guaranteed isochronous throughput of IEEE1394? I've never been able to nail this figure down. For USB it's 190something Mbps.

Originally Posted by Millennium
Actually, there is. USB is inherently inferior, to FireWire, because it moves too much of the actual processing into software. This is why USB2 has never been able to obtain its so-called 480Mbps rate in any sustained manner, nor will it ever: it consumes too many resources.
On a modern machine, USB2 uses at most what, 5-10% of the CPU? The only way you could get 480Mbps is with a bulk transfer.

Originally Posted by dshan
Another rumor doing the rounds is that in Apple will soon (Jan Macworld) anounce new Intel iBooks, and that there will be two models of them - one similar to today's 12" & 14" models in general formfactor but perhaps with a 13.3" widescreen, and another model in a very different "super-small, super-light" formfactor, i.e. a sub-notebook iBook (maybe with a 10" or 12" screen). It may well be that's it's this new small sub-notebook model that has no Firewire (no video pro is going to use it, nor most of the people who need FW, it's for "road warriors", "mobile professionals", etc.) and the larger regular iBook will continue to have at least FW 400, if not 800.
I think you may be right; there's a huge gap between the video iPod and the 12" iBook. Most other companies have a PDA or ultralight laptop in that gap (or the OQO).

Originally Posted by jeebus
Um, well obviously it would be way inferior because you would have to plug it into an AC adapter as well as the USB 2.0 port. This is especially a problem for people with portables, as often plugging into a power outlet is not an option. The fact that FW has enough bus power to power drives and things like iSights has always been a great feature. I guess jcadam assumed that the users here were pretty good with computers and new about these sorts of differences.
The power connection built in and pre-wired for you on the new iMac's USB iSight. If they made a modular version they could design it to use less power (newer low power chips that fit under USB's 2.5W limit) or use two USB ports (one for data and power, one for extra power). Before you scream "but I only have 2 USB ports," it's common on x86 laptops to have 4 or more (Intel's latest mobile ICH supports 8).

Originally Posted by gerbick
But is there a way to use Firewire with the new iPods? Or am I stuck with my G4 Cube with USB 1.1 and a fully functional Firewire and my 4G iPod?
No. You can use Firewire to charge the 5G iPods (Video and nano), but data can only be transfered via USB.
In the time a quick charge takes (~2 hours), you can sync more data than the nano can hold. If you have a Video and you need to sync more then you should probably leave it overnight the first time.

Originally Posted by wilsonng
If we were to buy a FW400 to FW800 adapter, would that throttle the whole FW800 chain down to FW400 speeds?
Yes, if it's the first device in the chain.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 03:12 AM
 
FW clearly is the superior bus technology and anybody trying to tell you USB2 is just as good is a zealot.

But it's Apple's own fault that FW doesn't stand a chance against USB2. Somewhere down the line FW will be an add-on for professionals doing video and everybody else will be using USB2 or (hopefully) external SATA. There's nobody else to blame than Apple, since they did everything they could to make it easier for companies to adopt USB2 over FW. Apple should have replaced FW400 with 800 the minute it came out across the board (there are dongles to attach 400 devices to 800 ports) and they should have suppressed that ugly Apple gut feeling to try to cash in license fees for products that have to yet to be adopted by others in the market. They didn't and that's why we are where we are now, in a USB2 world.

By doing this they not only let their on technology (once again as so often in the past) become a pure niche product, they also made sure users got stuck with an inferior bus. Thanks a bunch, Apple.

James Wiebe of WiebeTech, a company that makes many FW peripherals, wrote a very interesting white paper on the topic. You can read it here.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 06:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by new newton
And in the context of the discussion about it being integrated with the iMac, that matters how? It's cool to be snotty, but if you're going to be snotty at least have a leg to stand on.
Actually if you read the thread you will realize that it's really about firewire not being a feature on the new intel Macs. Just because you decided to focus on the iMac doesn't mean that other people can't respond to the original topic of the thread.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 06:51 AM
 
I found that White Paper very interesting.

This also:

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/firewire

It seems clear that Apple should promote FireWire800 as a consumer technology and cut its license fees to promote its uptake.

In the pro-audio field FireWire is the no. 1 technology for external connectivity of hardware to computer - and that includes PC's. I think there is only one USB2 device on the market, just introduced by MOTU, and there are hundreds of FireWire 400 devices. Not to mention all the DV cameras out there.

My Yamaha digital mixer uses a ground-breaking network technology for extremely reliably multi-device, multi-channel, high-performance interfacing, Apple being one of the chief architects. It's called mLAN and it runs over FireWire 400. To date, 140 companies have licensed this technology: USB2 would just not be able to carry this isynchronous high-bandwidth technology.

So does anyone seriously think that all those 100's of pro-audio FireWire devices - a key market for Apple, and all those FireWire DV cameras are not going to be able to be accessed by the next generation of MacIntel's?

Without FireWire support iMove and FCP would be fairly useless, Logic Express and Pro would lose their viability on iBooks, PowerBooks, iMac's and PCIe G5's, 1st gen iPod owners would lose an incentive to upgrade their Mac's . . . the more I think about it the less likely it seems . . . .
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 09:33 AM
 
God, I wish this whole "FireWire is dead" thing would just die.

Let's clear a couple of things up:

- FireWire use across the industry is increasing, not decreasing; see http://www.1394ta.org/ for a sampling

- ALL DV and HDV cameras, camcorders, video decks, and so on, use FireWire as the sole means of transport

- Even FireWire 400 is considerably faster than USB2 in practice

- FireWire 800 more than doubles the throughput of USB2

- While it certainly does NOT mean anything, it's still worth mentioning that even the Developer Transition Platform has functioning FireWire

While you can argue that things like the iSight may be integrated into future Apple products, thus making the iSight no longer "require" FireWire, what about all of the other needs for FireWire?

- Half of the iLife suite, which is targeted at the consumer and low end market (i.e., iMacs and iBooks) depends upon FireWire

- iMovie requires FireWire to import video from any and all DV and HDV cameras and decks

- iDVD is dependent on the video somehow getting into the machine via iMovie

- the SuperDrive, in turn, is marketed as a way to create your own DVDs

- iChat AV depends upon DV input (now, granted, you could argue that an iSight could be integrated, like on the iMac - even if it is, that still leaves all of the other reasons above)

All of these software and hardware features DEPEND on FireWire. Further:

- FireWire is not a host-based protocol. It is peer-based. While USB connectivity REQUIRES a host (usually a computer; ever wonder why USB connectors are different?), FireWire requires no such thing. Multiple hosts - or no hosts at all - can be connected via FireWire. This is NOT POSSIBLE with USB.

So consider what else dies if FireWire is not present:

- All target disk mode support - both ways - which many administrators and enterprise organizations are heavily dependent on

- Support for System Migration (the mechanism that allows people to copy data from their old computer to a new computer, introduced with Mac OS X 10.3.5 and which continues in Tiger) - how would people transfer data to a new machine?

Apple's not looking to take huge steps backward, here, with the Intel transition. This whole thing has been blown out of proportion because the iPod nano and 5G iPod don't have FireWire. Well, guess what? The iPods don't NEED FireWire any longer. It's not a requirement nor a necessity. Yes, some owners of machines with FireWire that don't yet have USB2 may feel "left out in the cold", but as Apple makes engineering decisions for the iPod, and especially considering that far more PC users buy iPods than Mac users, guess which protocol is ubiquitous, everywhere, AND even works with USB1.1? Yep, you guessed it: USB2. If some protocol is going to be removed from a chipset in the iPod to save money or space, it's FireWire.

Let's also clear up one other thing:

Yes, early on, Apple hurt FireWire's adoption, resulting in the fractured branding we have in the marketplace today (FireWire, IEEE-1394, 1394, i.Link, DV), and leading to great amounts of customer confusion. In the beginning, Apple required a licensing fee of $1 per port, and also required that Apple's FireWire logo be used, in its entirety, on any device that wanted to use the name "FireWire". That logo was:

http://www.atpm.com/5.02/images/FireWireLogo.gif

Not only did companies not want to pay $1 per port, where literally $1-$2 of profit was thrown away on a device that may have less than $20 profit built-in, but vendors also didn't want to be forced to put Apple's logo on their products, rightfully so.

In recent years, Apple finally acquiesced and changed the official FireWire logo to the current and made licensing and use free:

http://www.1394ta.org/license/

The 1394 Trade Association quickly adopted the logo and name, and in turn made it available via its licensing mechanisms itself for free as well.

Finally, O'Grady says that the FireWire page has moved into the bowels of the developer site:

http://developer.apple.com/devicedrivers/firewire/

...and that its formerly top-level marketing page (apple.com/firewire) forwards there. Well guess what, O'Grady? Here's Apple's USB site:

http://developer.apple.com/devicedrivers/usb/

Notice the similarity? And egads, apple.com/usb is gone, and now forwards there! That must mean USB is dead, too! We'll have to transfer our data in and out of the new Macs with parchment scrolls!

Further confusion stems from the fact that USB and FireWire aren't really even competitors - except in ONE space: desktop mass storage (e.g., drives - including things like iPods). Unfortunately, desktop mass storage is one of the LARGEST spaces USB and FireWire appear to "compete" in. So when USB appears to "win" in desktop mass storage (or on an iPod), everyone, incorrectly, assumes that "FireWire is dead", when USB can't even hope to replace many of FireWire's other uses.

In sum, O'Grady is a giant idiot thirsting for attention and money (note the way the story was originally posted: he posted a story on powerpage.org first - <insert sound of cash register here> - and then pointed users to his blog on ZDnet, for a story almost shorter than the one that pointed you there - <insert second cash register sound here>. Think about it, people: say something sensationalistic, and then farm around your "story", which isn't even a story but simply pointing people at another site that you also get PAID for when people visit? I think not. O'Grady's PowerPage was good about a decade ago, but in recent years has completely lost its relevance, and has sunk down into MacOSRumors.com territory.
( Last edited by piracy; Dec 17, 2005 at 10:17 AM. )
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 09:51 AM
 
I agree that O'Grady is an idiot (whatdya expect from ZDnet?) and I also highly doubt Apple will drop FireWire in the near future. There's no reason to panic.

Unfortunately the sad truth remains. Apple screwed up the FW market right from the start. If they would have been a bit less anal and a tad smarter, FW would be much more abundant today (let's forget this >$2000 digital video nonsense for a moment; that's a pro world; most computer users rather use peripherals like HDs, DVD burners, scanners, digital cameras, music, etc. - and bingo, that's USB world), we'd get cheaper external mass storage, have more choice and less USB2 junk.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 10:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
(let's forget this >$2000 digital video nonsense for a moment; that's a pro world;
Ok.. what about every single MiniDV camcorder (most of which are <$500) on the market? If Apple is going to continue to offer iMovie/iDVD as a part of the iLife suite, there is no way they will be cutting firewire from any of their computers. Lets see, a port that costs what, $5.00 to add on to each machine, and they are going to throw out 4 years of software R&D on one of their most popular products, just to cut out that port? I think not.

If anything, they may cut down the number of ports available (ex- instead of 2 FW 400 ports on the iMac, you may see 1 FW 800 and an adapter, but even that I doubt).
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 11:26 AM
 
Of course Apple won't drop FW ports. Actually I said exactly that.

Fact is, FW lost, USB2 won. A couple of digital cams aren't gonna change a damn thing about that.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 11:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by David Esrati
Considering you can't use USB to transfer data from an old mac to a new mac- and that you can't boot from a USB drive- I'd say that they would cause a ton of problems for people with older machines who would want to move to newer machines. If you had an old machine with FW 400 and USB 1- how would you transfer your data to the new machine as easily?
Then of course there is every firewire camera that works with iMovie.
And- in the grand scheme of things- how much does a firewire port on a machine really cost?
I'd say it will be a while before it goes away.

Actually... You can boot from a USB device....PC's have been doing it for sometime. Apple is Moving to Intel and with an intel chip you CAN boot from a USB device natively... but you cannot boot from Firewire devices. Firewire is an afterthought with Intel. I believe USB 2 will work better on Macs with intel chips than it does with the PowerPC chip.

As for the video devices... many of the ones I've seen (like Sony who is always working close with apple anyway) have two interfaces... USB 2 and Firewire. USB 2 is becoming the standard to connect high speed transfer devices and because it's installed on so many PC"s by default now in some form. It has the most popularity. There's nothing wrong with Apple putting it's weight 100 percent behind USB 2 and helping to make it a better standard.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 12:10 PM
 
Apple's mistake was making 800 not backwards compatible with 400, this was USB2's saving grace. Everyone overlooks that. Apple will push 800 and sell $30 400 to 800 adapters for "legacy" devices, further pushing the users to the bleeding edge. Yes, many systems come with 400, soon it'll be 800. More camcorder that I see now support video extraction on Windows via USB 2, so I don't see USB 2 as a bad thing. USB has been a saving grace and everyone forgets that one of the most talked about "features" of the Test Intel Macs for Developers is that it BOOTS FROM USB DISKS AND NOT FIREWIRE. That's a pretty clear message, and it's rather simple for Apple to update the Account Migration tool to work with USB (Detto has done it for YEARS before Apple did it for Mac-to-Mac migrations with their Move2Mac product).

So.. this leaves us with: 400 is dying. 800 is staying. Intel will push USB and Apple will push FireWire. FireWire = pro. USB = everyone else. You'll see USB products to match the older FireWire based ones in the future, finally bringing the ridiculously priced $150 iSight down to a reasonable $70. People didn't scream with 802.11b went away, sheesh... it's just evolution people.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 12:35 PM
 
Which is, of course, FW1600. Hey, who said the switch to intel isn't a two-way street?

I made it up here first... (in other words, this is as authoratative as any other rumor).
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 12:40 PM
 
LOL.. yes, you've got it. FW1600.. the future!
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 01:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by ibugv4
Apple's mistake was making 800 not backwards compatible with 400, this was USB2's saving grace. Everyone overlooks that. Apple will push 800 and sell $30 400 to 800 adapters for "legacy" devices, further pushing the users to the bleeding edge. Yes, many systems come with 400, soon it'll be 800. More camcorder that I see now support video extraction on Windows via USB 2, so I don't see USB 2 as a bad thing. USB has been a saving grace and everyone forgets that one of the most talked about "features" of the Test Intel Macs for Developers is that it BOOTS FROM USB DISKS AND NOT FIREWIRE. That's a pretty clear message, and it's rather simple for Apple to update the Account Migration tool to work with USB (Detto has done it for YEARS before Apple did it for Mac-to-Mac migrations with their Move2Mac product).

So.. this leaves us with: 400 is dying. 800 is staying. Intel will push USB and Apple will push FireWire. FireWire = pro. USB = everyone else. You'll see USB products to match the older FireWire based ones in the future, finally bringing the ridiculously priced $150 iSight down to a reasonable $70. People didn't scream with 802.11b went away, sheesh... it's just evolution people.
Actually, you're wrong.

There are multiple types of USB connectors, too: -A, -B, and -mini. Granted, almost all host connectors are going to be USB-A.

FireWire 800 *is* backward compatible with 400. Fully. FireWire 800 is simply an extension of IEEE-1394 (IEEE-1394b). Further, IEEE-1394 is an international standard. So saying something is "Apple's" fault, at this point, is somewhat disingenuous. The higher throughput of 1394b *requires* the 9-pin connector. There was no choice to stay with 6-pin, and the decision to move to 9-pin was NOT arbitrary; it was required.

Further, you don't need a "$30 800 to 400 adapter". You just need the right cable. Like you need with USB. FireWire is FireWire.

Also, what the Developer Transition Platform supports, or how it behaves, in this particular context, has literally NOTHING to do with how shipping x86-based Macs will behave.

And finally, USB video extraction is horrid. It treats camcorders as mass storage. I can't even possibly begin to describe how unbelievably wretched that is.

Also, your 802.11b comment makes no sense. 802.11g is 100% backward compatibly with b, which is why no one is screaming. And this is not evolution: if I understand what you're saying correctly, USB2 is most definitely not a positive evolution from FireWire. If you think it is, then you have no idea what FireWire is or what it means. Yes, FireWire already "lost" the battle for media interconnectivity - just like the Mac "lost" on the desktop, long ago. And yet, Macs are still around, and growing in marketshare. And that's a hell of a lot more impactful market segment than whether or not Intel is going to "push" USB. Intel might want to "push" USB for various reasons, but, as I said above, 1394 adoption is *increasing*, not decreasing. And yes, it's typically on high-end products where customers are demanding and actually expect things to work properly, not by shoehorning some inferior standard (USB) into a task where it's not appropriate (realtime video transport, for one).

In closing, the iSight's price is most certainly not ridiculous for a DV/1394-based camera of that quality. And trust me: OTHER THAN in mass storage and rudimentary desktop peripherals, USB will never come close to FireWire. Unfortunately for all of us, 95% of the marketplace is for mass storage and rudimentary desktop peripherals.
( Last edited by piracy; Dec 19, 2005 at 10:43 PM. )
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 01:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by webraider
Actually... You can boot from a USB device....PC's have been doing it for sometime. Apple is Moving to Intel and with an intel chip you CAN boot from a USB device natively... but you cannot boot from Firewire devices. Firewire is an afterthought with Intel. I believe USB 2 will work better on Macs with intel chips than it does with the PowerPC chip.

As for the video devices... many of the ones I've seen (like Sony who is always working close with apple anyway) have two interfaces... USB 2 and Firewire. USB 2 is becoming the standard to connect high speed transfer devices and because it's installed on so many PC"s by default now in some form. It has the most popularity. There's nothing wrong with Apple putting it's weight 100 percent behind USB 2 and helping to make it a better standard.
USB 2 is what it is. It can't be made better. USB 2 will remain as-is until the next iteration of USB, or a follow-on technology. The only hope we have is that a future generation of USB (that essentially has nothing to do with what we know as today's "USB") throws everything away, starts from scratch, and doesn't have the horrendous limitations of USB (like depending on a host, mind-boggling inefficiencies, stunning overhead requirements, being CPU-bound, host/peripheral connector differentiation (A vs B or mini), and so on).

(Oh, wait. We already had this with FireWire.)

USB is a giant step backwards for everything but what most people use it for: mass storage and routine desktop peripherals. For everything else, USB is markedly worse.

And if you think that Apple isn't hugely working with Intel to make the chipsets and firmware support everything they want and need, possibly even shaping the future of EFI, you'd be mistaken.

I'm not saying that, in the future, there won't be some unified standard that surpasses both USB and FireWire, and becomes what we all hope. But right now, FireWire isn't going away. It's too bad as well that FireWire lost so much traction early on as a universal interconnect for essentially all video and audio devices.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 03:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Millennium
Actually, there is. USB is inherently inferior, to FireWire, because it moves too much of the actual processing into software. This is why USB2 has never been able to obtain its so-called 480Mbps rate in any sustained manner, nor will it ever: it consumes too many resources.

But that's what it is with Apple nowadays: what's cheap triumphs over what's good. This only makes me more convinced that I'm right to make my current set of Macs my last. At least I'll get my money's worth from a Linux box, instead of an expensive PC with no significant advantages to justify the Apple tax.
You have got to be kidding me. I administer a LAN of hundreds of PCs and Macs. Numerous repairs needed for those PCs. This year, not one iMac G5 or iBook has had ANY SINGLE REPAIR ISSUE. How the hell did you get to be a moderator of a Macintosh board?
Amazing. Time to boycott MacNN
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 03:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by macimmortal
You have got to be kidding me. I administer a LAN of hundreds of PCs and Macs. Numerous repairs needed for those PCs. This year, not one iMac G5 or iBook has had ANY SINGLE REPAIR ISSUE. How the hell did you get to be a moderator of a Macintosh board?
Amazing. Time to boycott MacNN

Sounds like this moderator has got to go!!!!!!!!http://forums.macnn.com/images/smilies/argue.gif
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 04:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by piracy
Actually, you're wrong.

There are multiple types of USB connectors, too: -A, -B, and -mini. Granted, almost all host connectors are going to be USB-A.

FireWire 800 *is* backward compatible with 400. Fully. FireWire 800 is simply an extension of IEEE-1394 (IEEE-1394b). Further, IEEE-1394 is an international standard. So saying something is "Apple's" fault, at this point, is somewhat disingenuous. The higher throughput of 1394b *requires* the 9-pin connector. There was no choice to stay with 6-pin, and the decision to move to 9-pin was NOT arbitrary; it was required.
Apple Developed Firewire in the early 90's, trademarked it in 93, and it wasn't adopted as a IEEE standard until 95. So saying that it's not Apple's fault is just as wrong. The lack of connector scalability remains a problem regardless of fault. The fact that a person cannot plug their FW400 drive into a FW800 port without an adaptor, or a 400-800 cable (which runs about $20 shipped from Newegg) means that a developer or company is likely to flock to something that is backwards compatible.

We in the Mac world all know performance plays second to marketing.


Also, what the Developer Transition Platform supports, or how it behaves, in this particular context, has literally NOTHING to do with how shipping x86-based Macs will behave.
Isn't this kind of the purpose of The Dev. Boxes? To give Developers something real to work with? Something that they can expect to be similar to the final product? And in that context, it most certainly does relate to the shipping product. If a company grabs a Dev box to work on a FW device (whatever it may be) doesn't it reason to say that the functionality is a statement about the future of the product?


I hope, and pray that FW is not going anywhere. 400 I want because I do a lot of work with it. When 800 becomes a standard, then I'll start investing in that. As you said Piracy, I too hope that no one ever expects me to pull video on USB2. It's not reliable enough for video work.
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Dec 17, 2005, 04:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by SirCastor
Apple Developed Firewire in the early 90's, trademarked it in 93, and it wasn't adopted as a IEEE standard until 95. So saying that it's not Apple's fault is just as wrong. The lack of connector scalability remains a problem regardless of fault. The fact that a person cannot plug their FW400 drive into a FW800 port without an adaptor, or a 400-800 cable (which runs about $20 shipped from Newegg) means that a developer or company is likely to flock to something that is backwards compatible.
This is only reflective of the time that's required for the standards processes (IEEE, ISO, IEC, ITU, and so on). Technologies typically begin their lives within a commercial vendor, and Apple and Texas Instruments were part of the bodies that made the standard since the very early days of FireWire.

Apple was given a good deal of licensing leeway as the primary architect of FireWire, and chose to bungle the licensing and royalties early on, which, for better or worse, severely limited FireWire's adoption, and left us with the abominations that are:

- DVI, a final-output video transport with no device control or two-way communication
- HDMI, only marginally better than DVI
- USB, appropriate for host-based rudimentary peripheral connectivity, about which I don't think we need to say anything more

Isn't this kind of the purpose of The Dev. Boxes? To give Developers something real to work with? Something that they can expect to be similar to the final product? And in that context, it most certainly does relate to the shipping product. If a company grabs a Dev box to work on a FW device (whatever it may be) doesn't it reason to say that the functionality is a statement about the future of the product?
Actually, that's not at all the purpose - in this context, which is why I used that phrase. The purpose of the Developer Transition Platform is one of software development, testing, and QA - not hardware.

On the hardware side of things, to quote Dean Reece of Apple:

Don't assume that what you see in the transition boxes represents what will be present in the final product.

The hardware side of things is in no way represented by the Developer Transition Platform other than the fact an x86 family CPU is present.

I hope, and pray that FW is not going anywhere. 400 I want because I do a lot of work with it. When 800 becomes a standard, then I'll start investing in that. As you said Piracy, I too hope that no one ever expects me to pull video on USB2. It's not reliable enough for video work.
Indeed.
     
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Dec 17, 2005, 11:01 PM
 
Yeah, FireWire is here to stay.

Yes, USB 2 looks good on paper, but as others have said, is NOT as fast or efficient, or have the same real-world throughput as FireWire. FireWire has some similarities to SCSI, as does USB is to ADB or serial connections. In other words, they're 2 different critters that compliment each other nicely.

Some TVs and high-end audio gear has begun shipping with FireWire.
Most digital video cameras ship with FireWire.

So, O'Grady said this? Oh jeeze. He lost ALL credibility with me several years ago. There was some discussion on one of the discussion threads linked to an article on his PowerPage. Somehow O'Grady did or said something that a few reader took issue with. When several people posted their differing positions criticizing him, he promptly shut down, deleted and DISCONTINUED ALL the discussion threads on his web site!

That was shocking and truly unbelievable, since the majority of the postings on the PowerPage site were genuinely thoughtful, mostly articulate, good natured and often quite humourous... with typical exceptions, of course. Anyway, he's hardly an idiot, but that display of thin skinned-ness was the end of his credibility for me.
     
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Dec 19, 2005, 04:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by ibugv4
Apple's mistake was making 800 not backwards compatible with 400, this was USB2's saving grace. Everyone overlooks that. Apple will push 800 and sell $30 400 to 800 adapters for "legacy" devices, further pushing the users to the bleeding edge. Yes, many systems come with 400, soon it'll be 800.

??? Of course FW 800 is backwards compatible. The adapter is necessary because the FW 800 connector is different than FW 400.
     
 
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