Maintain, optimize and troubleshoot your NLE
Professional cloud workflow platform
Simplified media management
< Blog Home

Is this the death of FireWire?

One of the biggest things making the rounds this week is the fact that Apple's new MacBooks have had their FireWire 400 port removed. Now why would Apple do this when they were the company that popularized it in the first place?

Someone posted an email purportedly from Steve Jobs onto Flickr in which Steve states that most modern consumer camcorders nowadays operate over USB 2. That may well be the case but as we all know, FireWire is the superior standard and it seems silly in my eyes to phase it out in favor of an inferior format. It seems like a case of Betamax vs VHS in which the most convenient format and not the best format actually won, with the best format relegated solely to the professional market. It's a great shame in my eyes.

Advertising may also play a part too - USB 2 is advertised as operating at 480 Mbps vs FireWire's 400 Mbps which looks good on paper but as we all know, FireWire is capable of sustaining 400 Mbps whereas 480 Mbps is just a theoretical limit for USB 2.

FireWire still hasn't achieved mass adoption among PC users. Apple is its primary proponent so if Apple lets it go, it will most likely die (as a consumer format at least). It's good to see it remain on the professional side - where I think it will stay for some time - but it's a little more inconvenient to now need an adapter to use FireWire 400 equipment. This is inconvenient because there seems to be considerably more 400 equipment out there than 800.

The most troubling thing for me isn't the demise of FireWire, it's the lack of a suitable replacement from Apple. eSATA would be great for hard drives but Apple seems to be shunning it for reasons unknown.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Oct 17 2008 to Apple, Analysis, Hardware