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Portables (Apple) Data Storage Hardware

Users Rage Over Missing FireWire On New MacBooks 820

CWmike writes "Apple customers, unhappy that the company dropped FireWire from its new MacBook (not the Pro), are venting their frustrations on the company's support forum in hundreds of messages. Within minutes of Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrapping up a launch event in Cupertino, Calif., users started several threads to vent over the omission. 'Apple really screwed up with no FireWire port,' said Russ Tolman, who inaugurated a thread that by Thursday has collected more than 300 messages and been viewed over 8,000 times. 'No MacBook with [FireWire] — no new MacBook for me,' added Simon Meyer in a message posted yesterday. Several mentioned that FireWire's disappearance means that the new MacBooks could not be connected to other Macs using Target Disk Mode, and one noted that iMovie will have no way to connect to new MacBooks. Others pointed out that the previous-generation MacBook, which Apple is still selling at a reduced price of $999, includes a FireWire port. Apple introduced FireWire into its product lines in 1999 and championed the standard."
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Users Rage Over Missing FireWire On New MacBooks

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  • by Art Popp ( 29075 ) * on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:00AM (#25412593)

    Now I won't have anywhere to hookup my HD-DVD drive!

    • Re:Drat you Steve! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MikeDirnt69 ( 1105185 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:08AM (#25412715) Homepage
      Of course you do, keep using the mac you have right now.
  • Not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yttrstein ( 891553 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:09AM (#25412735) Homepage
    No one is really "raging". A few loudmouths (and it's always the same ones if you hang around those boards and wait long enough) are whining about not being able to plug cameras (that they don't own) into the new Macbook (which they also mostly don't own). This is bitching for bitching's sake, and I can show you. Look here:

    The white macbook is still being sold in the Apple store, and will be for the foreseeable future, having just been made Apple's "cheap" notebook. And white macbooks still have firewire400. Which is exactly what these whiny people are screaming that they want.

    It seems to me that a few very loud people quite badly aren't going to shut up until Jobs give each and every single one of them their own free, customized mac.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by azav ( 469988 )

      I have a Sony HDV-A1U camera that I used in Africa to videotape stuff and digitize into my MacBook. 1) I'm rarely a loudmouth here. B) I own the camera. III) I preferred to lug a more rugged MacBook to Africa than a much more expensive and delicate Pro model.

  • by MistaE ( 776169 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:10AM (#25412747) Homepage
    A MacRumors article [] has a response from Steve about the lack of Firewire, with his only explanation being that, "All the new HD camcorders have been using USB for the last two years."

    Sigh, I'm probably picking up a MBP, but I know plenty of folks that use firewire for things other than camcorders (particularly good external HDs)
  • by Zymergy ( 803632 ) * on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:12AM (#25412787)
    My Firewire 400 external drives routinely kick the crap out of my USB2 external drivers when archiving large volumes of itty-bitty files.
    If I remember correctly, USB2 is controllerless and requires CPU overhead and therefore the latency of USB2 sucks badly compared to FireWire (IEEE 1394x) with its controller and DMA (Direct Memory Access) channel.
    This just makes sense if you have ever tried it.

    FireWire 800 is even better than FireWire 400 for most anything and it is backward compatible. I believe it is much much faster than USB2 could ever hope to be and it is here NOW. (USB3 is still a LONG way off)

    This is really about MONEY and Apple's either being greedy or cheap or both. Apparently they did this specifically on purpose as other 'new' models have FireWire... So, Why?
    Apple is not wanting to pay the FireWire licensing fees and they are apparently wanting to push their user base into buying an affordable Hackintosh laptop (what many will likely do) or er.., will, uh... I mean Apple intends for their FireWire needing users to just pay many hundreds more for the "Pro" model that has FireWire.

    As I understand it, there are also many cool things you can do with hard disk (and DVD and CD) 1-to-1 disk imaging with FireWire on the OSX macs too.. Not anymore. It's a Feature! [] []

    Seems like it would just be a lot cheaper to just add a FireWire CardBus 54 (PCIe) notebook controller card?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MrMickS ( 568778 )

      Its about differentiation between the consumer and pro laptop ranges nothing more. I've not used the firewire port on my original Macbook Pro except for the initial installation when I connected my old Powerbook to pull the information from it. I can now do that via Time Machine backups so won't need it in future.

      The thing that all of these 'angry' users never seem to grasp is that there is no real reason to replace their current Macbook that does have firewire. Shocking though such a statement is its true.

  • by BBCWatcher ( 900486 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:12AM (#25412795)

    Firewire is actually fairly common on even budget PC notebooks, including Dells, so this omission by Apple is all the more perplexing. And Apple still doesn't offer Blu-ray drives or 3G wireless at any price on any model. (No 3G wireless option from the iPhone company!) It also amazes me that their latest hardware refresh still caps RAM at 4G maximum. Even Dell has figured out how to go to 8G max on a notebook.

    That said, there is some great design in these new MacBooks. But Apple engineers waxing eloquently about "unibody" construction (it isn't, by the way) when they forgot the damn Firewire port is a bit too much to stomach.

  • No worries (Score:5, Funny)

    by soupforare ( 542403 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:16AM (#25412863)
    You can just plug a firewire card in to the expresscard sl... oh wait
  • Boo effing Hoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:16AM (#25412867) Homepage Journal

    Sorry, Steve was right, most new if not all HD recorders are USB.

    Hell, I could not tell what they whining was loudest about, the fire wire or that the base aluminum macbook doesn't have a back lit keyboard (no macbook before this offered that feature anyway)

    Fact is, people feel the need to be a victim or otherwise justify a decision for them. In other words, instead of admitting they had no wish to buy the new one (or means to) they can not blame Apple for not doing it. Very nice and tidy and common practice on message boards world wide. Besides getting to portray themselves as the victim they can get a sense of belonging with a possibly valid aggrieved party. It is always easier if you can blame someone else, regardless of the truth.

    Yeah, it would nice nice if Firewire was there. However Firewire has always been associated with "Professional" and it has become an artifact of days gone by. Apple sunk FW themselves when they pushed USB to the forefront on iMacs and even with iPods now.

    You want firewire, its easy to get, but the PRO line. It is only $400 more to the bottom end of the Pro line from the top of the "consumer" mac line.

    Frankly, the new MacBooks are great. Some of the best integrated graphics seen on an Apple laptop. In fact the 9400M series removes a major reason people always held over Apple's head for not buying one before.

    The real fault with the 13" Macbook is the viewing angles and color reproduction of that panel are horrible. Really cheaped out. So if you want your firewire and a great display get a Pro. After all if your buying an Apple laptop for more than sitting around Starbucks to look cool you would have gotten the Pro and never bitched

  • by waveformwafflehouse ( 1221950 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:18AM (#25412889) Homepage
    Quite simply they needed a way to sell more MacBook Pros.
    The average audio/video hobbyist/artist is not going to shell out 2 grand for a firewire port so they can record their music and capture their video.
  • Do I care? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kilodelta ( 843627 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:23AM (#25412979) Homepage
    My Dell XPS laptop has a Firewire (IEEE-1394) port on it. I've NEVER used it.

    The world has chosen USB for just about everything.
    • Re:Do I care? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:42AM (#25413267)

      USB is terrible for external hard drives. Transfer rates suck.

      eSATA solves this problem, but the designers thought that hard drives should be powered by an A/C adapter. That, and it's pretty assinine to have an external port dedicated only to 1 class of peripherals.

      Powered firewire ports are so nice. Only one cable needed.

  • by Oshawapilot ( 1039614 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:25AM (#25413005) Homepage

    If they're on the way to eventually eliminating Firewire I sure hope that Apple has plans to update USB support for more camcorders then.

    I have a JVC hard drive camcorder that is USB and iMovie has absolutely no idea what to do with it when I plug it into any of my Macs. It seems thatt if I had chosen a camcorder with Firewire instead (which Apple themselves trumpeted as the thing to do) I'd have had no issues.


  • And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoNeeeed ( 157503 ) <> on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:26AM (#25413021)

    And yet Apple will still probably sell a metric assload of new MacBooks.

    Saying that hundreds of users are pissed off just means there is a small but vocal minority who are annoyed.

    The vast majority of MacBook users and potential buyers couldn't care less what FW is, and probably don't even know what it is.

    As a number of commentators have pointed out, the vast majority of consumer grade video cameras now use USB. Seriously, if you don't like the product, don't buy it. Is it really that hard?

  • Recording (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr. Sp0ng ( 24354 ) <mspong@gmail.cMOSCOWom minus city> on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:27AM (#25413043) Homepage

    Firewire is absolutely key when recording audio (in my case, guitar, bass, vocals, etc). USB pushes the CPU too hard and doesn't leave it free for realtime sound processing - amp simulation, etc. Currently I'm doing it on a 2 year old MacBook, but at this point my only upgrade option is a MBP. After factoring in the cost of replacing my Firewire hardware, the MBP isn't much more expensive anyway.

    Then again, I guess that's what Apple wants.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MsGeek ( 162936 )

      Along with the last of the white plastic MacBooks, the Mac mini still has a FireWire port. Both have Intel Vampire Video, but that wouldn't be an issue with audio.

      I think this decision was lame, but at least there are options for now.

  • by Dallas Caley ( 1262692 ) * <> on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:29AM (#25413077) Homepage Journal
    I work for a major cable manufacturing company, which has made both the standard 6 pin firewire as well as 9 pin. what i do for this company specifically is make their catalog, and i can tell you that in our upcoming 2009 catalog we will not be offering 9 pin firewire at all, and our 6 pin stock selection has been greatly reduced. Obviously (to me) firewire is loosing in popularity (to usb) so get ready to upgrade your soon to be obsolete peripherals.
  • USB Target mode? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by caseih ( 160668 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:37AM (#25413185)

    I realize that video recorders and many other devices are still predominantly firewire. But for most external drives and even still cameras, USB reigns supreme and is about as fast. Probably Apple's view is that if you're into video editing, you ought to be paying the big bucks for the privilege of using firewire on a top-of-the-line machine.

    Does not Apple support target-mode with USB these days? It seems like it should be possible for Apple to make the device appear as a USB mass storage device.

  • by y86 ( 111726 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:41AM (#25413259)

    Apple drops support for X feature on a whim. How about PowerPC chips? How about MacOS 9? How about my Newton?

    print $open-source-rant

    The great thing about relying on a simple company is your at their mercy. You KNOW that Asus or MSI would throw a Firewire port in if they were competing with apple (and could run OS/X).

  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @12:12PM (#25413795) Homepage

    We've all known from day one that USB was being pushed by Intel, against rival IEEE-1394 (aka fire-wire, aka iLink, etc.).

    We also knew that fire-wire would eventually go away the day Apple said they were switching to Intel CPUs.

    (this has been signaled, as we've seen Apple release patch after patch that tended to introduce more fire-wire problems than they fixed; Apples priorities were evident. Who did not know we weren't witnessing a gradual phase-out? Probably the nicest and most gradual in the history of Apple.)

    We're all aware that fire-wire is faster, we're all aware that fire-wire lets you do cool stuff that USB can't even dream about, and we all know that USB needs to be arbitrated by the host's CPU (which is why Intel supports it: USB performs better; overall when you have a faster CPU - so USB increases demand for Intel's flagship products - duh. No brainer. No wonder Intel wants people to use a keyboard/mouse interface for heavy data transfers).

    From day one of the PC-age, crappy inferior technology has ALWAYS won-out over superior technology.

    So. . . um, duh?

    Whine all you want. Be happy that fire-wire was cool, and it was around for a long time.

  • by erac3rx ( 832099 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @12:20PM (#25413937)
    People complaining about the lack of a FireWire port on the new macbook are a bit stupid. If you want choices in what features your hardware has, buying Macs doesn't make sense at all. Don't get me wrong, OS X is great. But is it worth having no choices? XP has been rock-solid stable for years, and if you buy a ThinkPad (for example) you have the following options that Apple does not offer on any of their new laptops:

    Matte screens
    Hi-res screens
    2 hard drives installed
    VGA or DVI output without an adapter
    A quality keyboard (yeah, I said it)
    Actual mouse buttons
    TrackPoint style navigation
    Fingerprint Reader
    Built-in 3G/WWAN networking
    Built-in Wireless USB
    Tablets (x61t, x200t)
    Subnotebooks (12" x200 models, etc.)
    Hotswap between 2nd hard disk, dvd-rom, bluray devices
    The list is pretty huge. Point is, there are a TON of very worthwhile hardware features that you can't get on the new Mac laptops. How relevant is the OS at this point anyway? Start thinking about functionality more than design aesthetics.
  • by Wansu ( 846 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @12:46PM (#25414307)

    The loss of Target Disk Mode is a big deal. I've used it to retrieve data from laptops with a bad display or bad logic board and wipe the disk of those laptops before taking them in to be repaired. I've also used it to install Tiger (OSX 10.4) on G3 iMacs which didn't have a DVD drive.

  • Seems simple (Score:4, Informative)

    by njfuzzy ( 734116 ) <.moc.x-nai. .ta. .nai.> on Friday October 17, 2008 @12:54PM (#25414433) Homepage
    It seems simple. Apple is phasing-out FireWire 400, as it is on about even-footing with USB 2.0 and can't compete. It is keeping FireWire 800, but treating it (correctly) as a pro feature. That means it is only on the MacBook Pro.

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