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Apple buys FireWire biz

Viva Zayante

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Apple has bought Zayante, a designer of chips and software for FireWire, the high speed connectivity standard of choice for the iMac.

Terms were undisclosed, which means that Apple probably isn't paying very much. Zayante used to be called Firefly and it was set up by geezers who helped
frame the FireWire standard, officially known as IEEE 1394, while working at Apple.

Apple is the big supporter/nay designer of FireWire. This is approx. 33.5x faster than USB (and not 49x -doh! - as we wrote earlier); however, the PC world is moving en masse to USB 2.0, 40x faster, and backwardly compatible with the mass of USB devices out there.

The USBv1.1 bus speed is 12Mbps; FireWire tots up at 400Mbps ; and USB2 is 480Mbps, making it 40 times faster. The FireWire roadmap shows that it will leapfrog to 800Mbps. There is also strong support from a mass of consumer electronics manufacturers for FireWire, so the standard ain't simply going to roll over.

Iogear kindly sent us this consumer-friendly primer about USB 2.0 yesterday, which you may care to check out. It's a PDF. ®

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