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A Brief History of Features Apple Has Killed 461

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the or-you-might-be-a-fanboi dept.
Technologizer writes "Some folks are outraged over the lack of FireWire in the new MacBook released this week. But Apple wouldn't be Apple if it didn't move faster than any other computer company to kill technologies that may be past their prime. And history usually validates its decisions. We've posted a decade's worth of examples that prove the point."
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A Brief History of Features Apple Has Killed

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  • dumb much? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:15PM (#25419185)
    Except when you kill an older technology, you're supposed to replace it with something as good or better that does the same thing. From what I read, they just plain removed it and users are left without an alternative.
  • Re:audio recording (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Silicon Jedi (878120) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:24PM (#25419307)
    They expect them to buy the cheaper computer that still has firewire.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:24PM (#25419313)
    If Apple hadn't invested in so many non-mainstream technologies to start with then they wouldn't have had to kill so many - leaving those machines poor orphans in the process.
  • Re:audio recording (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nlawalker (804108) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:25PM (#25419325)

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

  • Not really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by E IS mC(Square) (721736) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:25PM (#25419329) Journal
    There is always an alternative. This time, Apple is just asking you to give them 700$ more and buy MBP.
  • Re:dumb much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gardyloo (512791) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:42PM (#25419545)

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

  • by fermion (181285) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:43PM (#25419557) Homepage Journal
    It is just not in the mainstream, so there is little reason to include it on a machine that is primarily made to meed a price point. Most people who want a computer for $1000 probably have similar price requirements for other devices, which means they are unlikely to pay a 20% premium on a lacie hard disk with firewire. This is not a case of a cheap technology like a floppy disk being removed because no one uses it. It is a matter or an expensive technology being removed because most people do not wish to pay for it. This was certainly the case with iPod. I was able to charge an ipod by plugging it into my external hard disk, which was nice. But the iPod being a consumer product, had to be sold for consumer product, and the average consumer is not willing to pay for the premium Apple hardware and service, so the iPod, and unfortunately the iPhone, uses the lame and inferior USB protocol.It is not a big deal, but I had to buy a USB hub.

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

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:54PM (#25419665)

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

  • Re:Outrage! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lysergic.acid (845423) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:56PM (#25419693) Homepage

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

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

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

  • by barfy (256323) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:56PM (#25419699)

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

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

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

    This is just a bad idea.

  • by Sarusa (104047) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:59PM (#25419729)

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

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

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

  • Re:RS232 is dead? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:05PM (#25419793)

    Sssshhh.
    It's written by an Apple fan.

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

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

    The next day...

    OMG! Did you hear? TWO-BUTTON MICE!

  • Re:Outrage! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:11PM (#25419865) Journal
    I strongly suspect that the reason wasn't the cost of adding a firewire port per se. Firewire(albeit in the annoying 4 pin form) shows up on a fair portion of genuinely cheap and awful PC laptops. Firewire addon cards are fairly modestly priced, and Apple clearly wasn't nervous about raising the price of the macbook in order to add the features they wanted.

    This seems like a fairly blatant attempt to enforce separation between the macbook and the pro. Now that both are practically identical in build quality and the difference in GPU performance is merely large rather than absolutely enormous, they need a differentiating factor. Firewire seems to have been chosen. I suspect that Apple knows what they are doing, Apple zealots are zealous, most of them will suck it up and pay, and they can use their top of the line construction to sell macbooks to switcher college students. It sure isn't a nice thing to do, though.
  • by hellwig (1325869) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:21PM (#25419971)
    Yeah, except if you read the other thread you would know the MacBook will have neither CardBus nor ExpressCard slots, so you can't really add FireWire even if you wanted to. Apple isn't simply not including it, they are making it impossible to use on their new macbooks, which I believe is what's causing all the complaints.

    Not only that, but Apple created FireWire and tried to shove it down everyone's throats. Now they say you don't need it, that's just bullshit. Apple does what they want with hardware, and all the Mac fanbois just bend over and take it. If you don't need it, then no problem. If you do need it, you're S.O.L. unless you want the more expensive MacBook Pro.
  • Firewire fails (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Daimanta (1140543) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:23PM (#25419983) Journal

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

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

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

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

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

  • by hax0r_this (1073148) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:25PM (#25420001)
    * The ability to run programs in the background
    * Scripting

    And basically everything else that would make a mobile internet device useful.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:34PM (#25420079)

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

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

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

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Friday October 17, 2008 @07:12PM (#25420395)

    I don't think you understand.
    A lot of us "outraged" at the omission of FW are mad because of the following reasons:

    -digital video (My sister was sold on the capability to import movies of her son and make DVDs and send them to our parents overseas. Big deal for home users interested in this.)
    -digital audio (I don't know anything about that, so I can't comment, it seems like a big deal.)
    -firewire target disk mode (huge deal for those of us supporting friends and family, even bigger for those of us who have to deploy tens of laptops at the same time. We use firewire drives to slap images on them. If you've never done this you probably don't understand the huge time saving.)
    -firewire devices (I've invested in a few FW hard drives because of their power through bus capability, portability and speed, now they're all useless for data storage, time machine, etc.)

    There are counter arguments too...
    - digital video, all the HD camcorders supposedly come with USB
    - digital audio.. whatever, I don't know
    -FW TDM .. use time machine, or netrestore, or go se a genius instead of friend-tech support
    -firewire devices... SOL

    I've successfully "switched" over a dozen friends and family to macs, knowing that in a pinch I could boot into FW TDM and recover their data, or that simply buying an inexpensive external FW disk they could have TimeMachine.
    But now, I will not suggest a MacBook for anyone that I may need to support. Especially not for work, where we have over 50 MacBooks deployed. Which is unfortunate, because it really is an excellent machine.

  • Re:Outrage! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toll_Free (1295136) on Friday October 17, 2008 @07:23PM (#25420489)

    Please use real math.

    The differences you cite would mean 50 gig of data would take approximately 100 more seconds.

    15 minutes and a minute and a half are two different things. Just ask your gf next time YOU'RE done having sex :)

    --Toll_Free

  • Re:audio recording (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Friday October 17, 2008 @07:42PM (#25420653)

    Want firewire (or anything else Apple deems not important enough for YOUR price point), GET SOMETHING ELSE, OR GET A NEW HOBBY.

    What a great approach: if a company doesn't offer the goods you want, don't DARE give them feedback on how to improve their goods! Just SUCK IT UP AND DEAL WITH THE SHIT APPLE GIVES YOU!

    Thank God most consumers have more sense than you, and try to get companies to sell the products they want.

  • by gsgriffin (1195771) on Friday October 17, 2008 @07:56PM (#25420753)
    This is what I keep pointing out to people when we get into the Apple cart. Everyone that loves their Mac is desperately pleading to the world to get on board with them and buy one too. They want that horrible, monopolistic company called Microsoft to go away. Oh, wait a minute. Apple is even more of a monopoly. You must buy their hardware and software. If you don't like their changes, tough luck! This would be the future with Apple. They will make choices and you have none...other than what color of white or silver you want.
  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday October 17, 2008 @08:04PM (#25420821) Journal

    That's actually one of the more annoying things they did.

    After using real two-button mice for years, I have a habit of having a finger on each button. With the Mighty Mouse, ok, it's cool that it's a touch sensor, but it means I have to lift my left finger to make it a right button.

  • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Friday October 17, 2008 @08:14PM (#25420877)

    All your stuff no longer works.

    Really?

    (plugs in Firewire drive, watches it mount)

    Phew! It still works!

    By the way, while Apple dropped Firewire from the main consumer-level laptop, they kept it on every other machine (the 13" MacBook, all MacBook Pros, the Mac Mini, the iMacs and the tower). It doesn't look like they're dumping Firewire to me.

    There's no winning or losing in this standards 'war' - Firewire and USB aren't competing for the same market. There's a fair amount of market overlap, but Firewire is targeted at more professional use and USB is targeted at more ubiquitous, consumer use.

    There's room enough for both standards here. I can't see why one standard has to 'win' if sometimes the best tool for the job is the other one.

  • Re:Outrage! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:45PM (#25421409)
    Fine and dandy. Now, SteveO, go and make us a 13" Mac Book Pro (with the firewire).

    I can't say I miss Firewire. Back in the days when I used to use gtkpod to manage content on my old iPod Mini with my Linux box, I found I had to use firewire for it to be reliable. I suspect the USB on my motherboard was flaky, since I got random disconnects for no reason.

    With my newer boxes, I have had no problem with this, and since newer iPods don't support firewire, it isn't useful for me any more.
  • nVidia SouthBridge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:54PM (#25421469) Homepage Journal

    It is a matter or an expensive technology being removed because most people do not wish to pay for it.

    That may be true but it was nVidia who made the call, not Apple. The 9400M southbridge [nvidia.com] in the Macbook simply doesn't support firewire.

    I suspect Apple simply looked at all its CUDA cores and decided that realtime h.264 for the YouTube set was simply more important than firewire. Yeah, they could have done a discrete firewire implementation but then they're adding cost back in, and Apple isn't going to do discrete anything on the MacBook. Had nVidia supported 1394b, the MacBook would have kept it, but that wasn't a make-or-break feature.

    We've heard the story Jobs tells himself to rationalize it, but it simply doesn't hold water in the real world (none of my friends have HD camcorders, though I don't live in Silicon Valley). I suspect Jobs knows the real deal, but they had to make trade-offs, and this was one.

  • Re:paranoia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:13PM (#25421575) Journal
    If Apple are willing to upset their customers for intel's sake, why are all their new laptops shipping with Nvidia chipsets?
  • Re:Outrage! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by walshy007 (906710) on Saturday October 18, 2008 @06:38AM (#25423113)

    I know there is no security without physical security

    indeed, and I for one, enjoy having zero cpu usage in high bandwidth transfers

    hardware i/o controllers may enable dma dumping of ram, but it wasn't exactly put in hardware for no reason you know, it is a superior solution in so far as getting the job done with minimal external resources

  • Re:Outrage! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ilgaz (86384) on Saturday October 18, 2008 @07:22AM (#25423233) Homepage

    Steve Jobs and Apple engineers should go to some music studios, movie studios and see why those people demand 12" or 13" laptops.

    Let me give a clue to "cheap bastard buy a macbook pro 15" zealots and apologisers. The sound system they plug to firewire port of G4 is way more higher priced than your "pro" laptop.

    They actually use the portable at work, to produce something, not to show off at local cafe and the one thing you can't find in studios is SPACE. They are the first ones to move to LCD (sound guys) even while technology and refresh rates were awful.

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