Feeds

Apple to extinguish FireWire?

Intel-based iBooks to be USB 2.0 only, website claims

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Is Apple about to drop FireWire - the connectivity standard it created and for so long fostered - from the Mac line-up?

Certainly, that's what Apple notebook-oriented website O'Grady's PowerPage suggests, without citing specific sources. Apple has already dropped FireWire from the latest iPods - much to the annoyance of numerous Register readers with older, USB 1.1-equipped Macs - so it's clearly shifting its allegiance to USB 2.0, which while technologically inferior to FireWire is fast enough for almost all PC-peripheral connections.

According to O'Grady, the upcoming Intel-based iBooks will lack FireWire and x86 PowerBooks will have a single FireWire 800 port for digital video enthusiasts and professionals to make use of. And 1394, as it's also known, will continue in non-PC applications.

Apple pioneered the use of FireWire, for high-bandwidth peripherals like external hard drives and digital video cameras. Ironically, the technology, once Mac-only, has been increasingly appearing on Wintel machines, one of the few, if not the only, Mac technology to migrate outward rather than inward.

Still, the key advantage of FireWire - its peer-to-peer nature, meaning you don't need a PC intermediary - has proved of limited value, especially in the consumer space and in a world where computer companies want you to connect kit to their machines, not directly to other devices.

Still, if Apple does start dropping FireWire ports, it will annoy numerous Mac users whose external hard drives and older, pre-USB 2.0 iPods become compatible no longer. But we've been here before, with Apple's original adoption of USB over its own, ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) and serial port interfaces, not to mention its decision to drop SCSI support for FireWire.

It's tempting to see Apple's move - if the prediction proves accurate - as a sign of Intel's strength in the two firms' new relationship. Intel has long wavered in its support for 1394, but always kept true to USB, and is at the forefront of initiatives to create a wireless version of the Universal Serial Bus. But Apple's motives may be more prosaic: why pay for 1394 connectors and controller chips when relatively few folk are using them? ®

Bootnote As a number of readers have pointed out, such a scheme seems a trifle tough on the countless iSight users out there. But maybe the new, Intel-based iBook/PoweBook will have a built-in iSight as per the latest iMac. Upgrade, you lot, upgrade...

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
End of buttons? Apple looks to patent animating iPhone sidewalls
Filing suggests handset with display strips
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.