Steve Jobs email response re: lack of Firewire on MacBooks

Thu, Oct 16, 2008


Pictured below is a supposed email from Steve Jobs himself regarding the lack of Firewire on the newly introduced MacBooks. Jobs kind of dances around the issue and just mentions that USB 2 is a viable option instead – and he does have a point. A quick look at the top 10 best selling Camcorders on Amazon shows that only 1 camcorder out of 10 supports Firewire.

But what’s also at work here is Apple attempting to differentiate its consumer line from its pro line. This is all well and good in theory, but is somewhat problematic in practice because tons of consumers record and upload video to their MacBooks. Moreover, even professional videographers who do own an Apple pro computer often use the lower priced MacBook for uploading and editing video on the go. Musicians are also expressing their displeasure with the lack of Firewire.

Another point of view is simply that Apple didn’t leave Firewire by choice, but rather, and as Steve Jobs pointed out, the market left Firewire for USB 2.

And on this topic, Chuqui has an enlightening take on the lack of Firewire in the MacBook:

“The answer here is pretty simple to me: USB 2.0 won the connectivity fight in the lower end of the market. Note also that the MacBook Pro now only has a single Firewire 800 port; Firewire 400 is now gone.

the implication to me is clear: low-end, the future is USB. If you want high end performance, there’s still Firewire … I’ll also note for the record that I started making sure all of my bus-powered drives had USB capability as well as firewire months ago. The writing was on the wall if you knew where to look (and where to look is the PC market, where firewire has lost out to USB).

Yes, USB 2.0 is slower. If performance is really that important, Apple’s telling you that the Macbook isn’t what you want. it is, after all, a large series of performance compromises for a hunk less money than a MacBook Pro.

Doesn’t surprise me a bit. I think this is the right move for Apple.”


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77 Comments For This Post

  1. jsk Says:

    So, Steve, your solution is what, buy a new camera?!?

  2. slappy Says:

    Doesn’t it cost like 5 bucks to get a USB2 to Firewire adaptor?

  3. jb Says:

    “So, Steve, your solution is what, buy a new camera?!?”

    If you have FireWire non-USB camera, chances are you already have a FireWire-powered Mac that didn’t stop working during the keynote. And if it did, options include:

    * Buying a MacBook Pro
    * Buying a desktop Mac, all of which currently support FireWire.
    * Buying a used/refurb’d MacBook. (This may not generate a
    new sale for Apple, but that’s Apple’s problem.)

    This may not be optimal, but jeez… The sky isn’t falling.

  4. InRussetShadows Says:

    No, the sky isn’t falling, but you get the distinct and uncomfortable feeling that soon FW will be gone from all Apple laptops. I think it’s a bad move, myself. It’s just one stupid port. They could have left it on there.

  5. Chip Says:

    Sounds like the late 90s:
    No, the sky isn’t falling, but you get the distinct and uncomfortable feeling that soon floppy drives will be gone from all Apple computers. I think it’s a bad move, myself. It’s just one stupid slot. They could have left it on there.

  6. Christopher Pelham Says:

    I get the distinct feeling that Firewire will be gone from most if not all new camcorders in the next year or two, as will tapes. Currently, the majority of Apple’s lineup still includes firewire, so I don’t see the problem. If you want to keep using a firewire only camera, keep using the computer you already have or buy a new one that includes firewire. I am glad that Apple continues to move tech along. Soon there will by USB3 and maybe firewire1600 and Express34 will be more prevalent and firewire400 will be forgotten. That’s tech. Get over it. 😉

  7. Just Some Human Says:

    I don’t believe that a firewire to USB2 adapter exists. The firewire protocol includes features like bandwidth reservation that cannot be emulated with USB protocols.

  8. David Says:

    The email addressed the DV issue, but I still lament the loss of FireWire target disk mode, one of those amazing little features that made Macs better than other computers. I thought Steve would have at least a sentimental attachment to a feature that is so unique to the Mac, but obviously not.

    TDM may not be used very often, but it’s sure handy when you need it and it was really simple to use for migration to a new Mac. I know migration can be done over a network connection now, but that assumes: (1) the old computer has sharing set up – most don’t (2) the old computer still boots (3) there are no problems introduced by having only limited access to the old hard drive – target mode allowed full access whereas file sharing imposes numerous restrictions.

    FireWire has been doomed almost from the beginning. It had an opportunity to completely rule, but Steve wanted exorbitant licensing fees. That pissed off PC makers and Intel so much that USB 2 was invented. It’s been a downhill slide ever since. He knifed the baby years ago, it’s a wonder it’s still around.

  9. joel branstein Says:

    Makes sense to fade it out. You have an Express 34 slot where you can add a FW card. I use my 34 slot for e-sata and have abandoned USB and FW.

  10. Rich Campbell Says:

    Why wouldnt you just get the white MacBook that was just dropped to 999? That has firewire 400 and its cheaper.

  11. rob Says:

    Now is there no more Target Disk Mode ? One of my favorite features of Mac Hardware!

  12. Macskeeball Says:

    @Joel Branstein, The MacBook has no expansion card slot of any kind. There is absolutely no way to add FireWire to the new aluminum MacBooks.

  13. Sam Says:

    What it all comes down to is what consumers want, and what Apple wants.

    People, do not complain. When you buy from Apple, you are signing a contract that says you will take what they give you, and you will pay said price.

    When Apple removes the FW800 from the low end Macbook, they mean that to drive the diehard fans of the port toward the twice as expensive Macbook Pro.

    That’s it. The port still exists. Apple still has it. But if you need it, Apple would kindly redirect you to the Pro version.

    Take that as you will.

  14. Timm Says:

    I used to do IT at a small Design Office full of Macs. The laptops occasionally fry Firewire drives if they are connected while booting which happens a lot with laptops. Tell them over and over, don’t plug the firewire drive in till it’s done booting, but the Mac is perfect and nothing could go wrong, I know.

  15. Peter Says:

    Steve Jobs is smarter than you.

    Get over it.

  16. Barry Says:

    There’s another problem, specific to the video thing. iMovie ’08, the first version to support USB cams, doesn’t support all cams…not by a longshot. So where iMovie ’06 supported all FW cams, you’re not so lucky with USB. So even if you were in the market for a new camera, you first must research iMovie compatibility.

    Now while that’s not the end of the world, there was something wonderful about buying ANY DV camera and having it work with no research required. And that’s no more.


  17. wil waldon Says:

    I use my laptop for website design. I have an external HDD, 500 gigs, firewire. I’m upgrading to pro 🙂 LONG LIVE APPLE!

  18. Adam Says:

    3 dollars people

  19. Eric Draht Says:

    Why would apple care about a dozen lost sales, compared to the thousands they will win by not including parts that aren’t in use? Some people need to get off their ego-centric planet – what’s right for a handful of people may not be necessarily relevant for them all. I seriously hate those, “I’ll never buy an Apple product again! You’re going out of business without my business!!!” emails. *sigh*

    Just a rant, long in coming.

  20. Dan Says:

    What’s sad to me is that USB is inferior to Firewire on most points.

    USB 3.x still needs to be polled, can’t do DMA, and has inferior connectors to some of the newer stuff.

    Solving all of those for cheap would warrant a switch, and I would love you to pieces.

  21. viipee Says:

    Is it possible to monitor a video camera via USB 2 in real time like with firewire? (see what the camera sees in QuickTime, iMovie, etc)

  22. Jay Says:

    You cant boot form an external USB2 drive…….

  23. Kyle Says:

    It’s been coming for a while now. With the lack of Firewire on the iPods, I knew it’d be soon enough. I hate it just as much as the next person — however, Steve hardly steers us wrong. The problem is, is that Steve is about 5 years ahead of all of us, and knows the future. Apparently, Firewire isn’t in it.

  24. EvilBunny Says:

    As a tech the FW400/800 ports are essential in imaging and Target Disk operations. Dropping FireWire means no more easy recovery/cloning of machines. Camera stuff aside guys, dropping FireWire means that IT departments are losing a major “plus” in large scale macintosh deployments in business and educational institutions.

    The ability to carry a FireWire drive holding an backed up hard drive image and just plug and clone to recover a machine is an essential part of the job at times.


  25. steve Says:

    Is it just me or does using USB2 give bad files for the Mac/PC to edit (eg.won’t edit). Firewire always gave me nice DV files (I could edit these files).

  26. gingy Says:

    if you are doing anything important or business related… spend the money and get a pro… what the hell you doing editing video on a 13inch notebook… professionals are not complaining… it’s cheap ass consumers that are complaining

  27. Max-Jayden Says:

    I agree with what Steve is saying. USB is a cheap port, the MacBook is a lower priced consumer laptop. Anyone who wants a high-end professional-grade connection ought to consider a high-end professional-grade notebook.

  28. APPLEG Says:

    Actually, you can boot to an external USB 2.0 drive. That is how apple runs their service diagnostics on the macbook air. Everyone complained when the air came out because it didn’t have firewire. We have been through this before……………..

  29. greed Says:

    Any excuse will serve a tyrant. Jobs/Apple is all about greed, and if he can trim 1/10,000th of a penny from a product, he’ll do it.

    What’s really funny is the diehard Apple sycophants who are religiously devoted to the company, and all Jobs does is spit in their faces by treating them like $5 whores. If you make yourself a worm, you’ve got no right to complain, so suck it up, bitches, and pay up. LOL!

  30. Sky Says:

    The Macbook is a nice small laptop for mobile audio recording. Since the current market leader Digidesign requires Firewire recording drives and its high performance native products connect by Firewire, audio pros will have to buy the slightly larger Macbook Pro instead. Not a huge problem, but the MB form factor is definitely nice.

  31. JBagley Says:

    Jeez, who cares about the whole firewire / USB2 debate – I’m more impressed that Steve Jobs actually replied to the email!

  32. James Says:

    As already mentioned, USB and Firewire are fundamentally different. You cannot convert between them with a passive cable (and AFAIK, there aren’t active adapters either).

    I don’t know what that Tripp Lite product actually is, but it’s probably mislabeled.

  33. Chris Lees Says:

    I’m certainly not an Apple fan, but Firewire is not dead… it was never really living in the first place. USB was more suitable for peripherals except for the short period of Macs with USB 1 and Firewire. eSATA is more suitable for high-speed storage devices (Apple, when will you FINALLY start offering eSATA?). MiniDV cameras are good, and they are still being sold, but people are moving over to HDD and SD card camcorders.

    We’ll still see Firewire around on PCs for the near future (both my computers have it), but I don’t blame Apple for removing it. Audio interfaces were only Firewire because Apple supported it, MiniDV cameras were only Firewire because Sony supported it, and debugging only started occurring over Firewire because Macs didn’t have serial ports.

  34. Bill Dahm Says:

    The so-called “White” MacBook, the one that is now $999.00, still have a Firewire 400 port.

  35. Nic Says:

    That guy Dave sounds like a tight-wad, and rude to boot.
    I wish Jobs would have told him off.

  36. Terrible0ne Says:

    Ok, I am not a professional user. I do however have a 1300 mini dv HD camcorder with years of dv video. I don’t want a 15inch computer and I want to edit on my MacBook. I think this is grossly irresponsible on Apples part. They are making thousands of DV cams obsolete and completely unusable. WTF.

  37. Anon Says:

    Wow. No firewire. End of the world…that extra time is REALLY wasting all of the precious time you could be spending putting together a tear jerking break-up compilation movie that you’re dying to make because your significant other caught you masturbating to Jobs.

    Deal with it. Better idea, build your own machine (oh wait…Mac users don’t know shit about computers other than the propaganda spoon fed to them by Jobs) and toss a cheap $5 firewire PCI card in there. Problem solved.

    Too lazy to learn a lick about a computer? Don’t use them. Trust me, the world would be a better place with less mindless consumers and hipsters ruining everything.

  38. Zach Says:

    Adam, with your link to, did you even LOOK at either of the products on that page? Both of them are just USB cables, standard A+B!! Learn to Look before you Link!

    The point of the matter is that Firewire had a separate onboard chip to handle processing and data buffer calculation. You cannot reproduce that, and if you try to create a program to soft emulate it, it will slow everything else down.

    No, this was a stupid decision for Apple (wholesale, a IEEE 1394a compliant chip costs about 4 dollars) and I’m sure their magical, amazing “unibody” fabrication procedure (that they can’t seem to shut up about) could have been accommodated to have their robots solder in that chip for what, a couple pennies in labor?

    No, this is just pure customer gouging for their pro books, and I’m sorry, but everyone who is making excuses for Apple is deluded. I was going to buy a Pro anyway in February after the Nehalem chipset comes out (which would have been my first mac) but now I’m just sticking with my reliable, port-prolific Dell book on principle. I don’t expect Apple to go out of business because of my decision, but when my contract clients ask for my advice on new laptops, I doubt I will encourage them to tie themselves to Apple’s sinking ship.

  39. Dan Callen Says:

    Firewire 400 should of been taken out and replaced with 800, but I was expecting a USB 3.0 update since Apple is usually ahead of the game!

  40. Christopher Ruffell Says:

    I didn’t start it, but for what it’s worth, here is a Petition – it’s the best we can do (other than not buying a product that now doesn’t suit us).

    As of this writing, it already has 2100+ signatures.

  41. forum Says:

    Actually I was on the phone with Sony service for my HDV camcorder and the Sony agent kept insisting that the only way to transfer was through USB interface, which is not true, it uses the IEEE 1394 i.Link interface. I could get them to listen.

    Maybe Apple tried to talk to companies like Sony and they mislead them into saying 1394 i.Link is dead. I noticed Sony has dropped i.Link on all the new AVCHD camcorder models.

    Still Mac’s are used widely for media-content creation and Apple should been focused more on their customers than on the electronics industry. They need to bring back FireWire on the MB. There are good technical reasons to do so. Also, why are there only 2 USB ports?…

    I say punish Apple by buying a Dell and loading it with OSX.

  42. Frank T Says:

    The concentration seems to be on video cameras, but I’ve got a lot more Firewire accessories than JUST my camcorders (which are ALL firewire).

    My G-Drive and Western Dig external drives are Firewire. My Lexar UDMA CF card reader is Firewire. My Canon XH-A1 is a firewire Prosumer videocam. I have two Canon HV20’s and a Canon HV30 which are both firewire.

    The argument that most videocams are now USB2 is true, but that’s not the whole story. The flashdrive, HDD, and DVD cams that are now selling like hotcakes record in AVCHD format. This is a lesser format than that which the HDDV mini-DV tapes are capable of recording.

    For broadcast quality digital video, mini-DV is STILL the optimal choice, and that is why Canon, Sony, JVC, Panasonic and others still rely on it for their high-end digital videocams…. ALL of which require Firewire for downloading, live view, and speed.

    USB2 does NOT have the true speed to effectively handle video downstreams in realtime to a Non-linear editor (Like Final Cut Pro).

    Additionally, Apple will soon force me to either rely on my older MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro to do ALL of my editing IF they don’t continue to support Firewire. This will greatly affect my purchasing of new equipment in the future, and Apple loses a customer who averages more than $12,000/year in hardware purchases.

    Firewire MUST remain! And… not just on their high-end “Pro” products. They would benefit from low-end installation because the low-end buyers often become “high-end” buyers in the long run.

    Finally, the new MacBook Pro’s DO have Firewire 800… a SINGLE port.
    This will cause its own problems for those of us who daisy-chain Firewire components. Some peripherals (like the Lexar UDMA reader) cannot be placed in a daisy-chain, and mixing 400 and 800 Firewire peripherals on the same chain can cause problems, including reducing the speed of the 800’s to 400 in the chain.

    This is a severe disappointment that I hope Apple will either remedy, or consider in its future system releases. Don’t force me to add cards; buy new hard drives; or force me to rely on old equipment to continue producing end-results that can only be achieved via Firewire.

  43. raybo Says:

    Apple offers a 24″ display for use with the new Macbooks. I think one could edit video with that combination. Eliminating FW in 2008 was a big mistake.

  44. Frank T Says:


    You CANNOT download video to a monitor! How do you edit mini-DV video by buying a $900 monitor and a computer with no Firewire?


  45. Pauldy Says:

    The real loss is in the loss of target disk mode. IT departments should be using netboot by now because you don’t have to carry anything around for that. But there is a bit of utility in target disk mode that I fear will be lost forever in this move. When I got my new iMac I used my old iMac in target disk mode to bootup the new iMac and was running with my new hardware in the time it took to bootup the new system with all my apps all my prefs no hunting for size x torx and doing the HD shuffle it just worked. That experience right there was absolutely epic. Before I went to bed I simply set up super duper to clone my old drive to the new one and awoke rebooted and was working from the new iMac again without any hassle to speak of. I can only hope they have some new type of netboot efi server that might emulate that experience in the future if not I think this move may have been premature and as much as I want to upgrade my macbook knowing I won’t have the same experience going forward has me wanting to wait until I absolutely have to upgrade before considering the move.

  46. Zach Says:

    @raybo: I think what frank meant was that Apple seemed to be marketing their new 24″ to both MCP and MC owners (since they’re the only two computers that work with them right now, I believe?) so he is agreeing with us that Apple shot themselves in the foot by offering a perfect video editing LCD, and 1/2 of their new product line is no longer a video editing machine.

    I mean, geez, at the very LEAST I would be able to feel a little bit better about the situation if they had put an express card slot on the MC, that would at least give people some options.

    But then Apple has always been about removing options; but yet people will always defend them. If not for the fact that I’m tired of Vista’s hardware incompatibilities (I was a beta tester for it) I wouldn’t even think of buying anything more complex than an iPod from apple. In fact, like “forum” said above, I might just hackintosh my Dell now — It has firewire on it! (mini-port only, sadly, but I already have the adapter)

  47. Lazlo Murray Says:


    If Mac users don’t know a thing about computers, then maybe you can enlighten us & tell us how to put a $10 Firewire 400 card into a laptop mac.

    Go ahead, I’ll wait…. Oh that’s right. You can’t.

    That’s the whole point of this controversy. Only the Mac Pro’s have the SCSI ports for expansion, and there’s a really high premium on expandability in the Mac product line. Is it an outrageously high premium? I’d wager that, until this week’s announcement, most mac users would not have called it an outrageously high premium, just because there was still a Firewire 400 port. If you wanted to capture a DV stream from an analog source, and you don’t have a SCSI port for a Canopus converter, they have similar products that work from the Firewire port. If you’re a videographer on a Mac Mini budget, Firewire was your best option.

    But if/when Apple removes all Firewire from the Minis, they’ll be telling us that the cost of entry for Firewire is an extra $1500+. So much for the budget users. And if the day comes when all Firewire is excised from all but the high end models, I swear that I will grab an EFI-X dongle from overseas & plug it into a budget Intel PC, along with that $10 Firewire 400 SCSI card, and install OS X on it. That will be the day I give up on Mac hardware.

    And that day is fast approaching, Steve.

  48. Kane Says:

    Come on guys – get over it…

    If you have a pro grade camera that only has firewire then perhaps you should be buying a Macbook Pro – not the consumer focussed Macbook. Do TV networks buy consumer camcorders to record a sports event which they are going to broadcast? No, they use high end cameras. So why should a professional video editor use only a consumer targeted Macbook for editing?

    Remember that firewire was arguably far more useful in the PowerPC days as those computers couldn’t boot from USB. This meant that if your internal disk was a bit flakey, you’d either connect it in TDM to another Mac, or boot the same Mac from an external firewire HD. Now that we are in the Intel era, you can now boot the Mac from USB, though officially unsupported, it still works. Failing that, you can remove the disk from the machine and put it in an external SATA case and then connect that to another Mac. Sure, it isn’t quite as user-friendly, but the options at least are still there. Remember that Macs are still light years ahead of PC’s in this regard. Not to mention that if you have a time machine backup, or a clone using a number of other tools, then you have this to fall back to. Again, features that are far more advanced than PC’s

    Please do not criticise Apple using the “Oh, it is only 1 port that would have cost only 5c to put in”. This is plain naivety. You are probably not authoritative to make such statements anyway, and shouldn’t do so without considering all the facts. You have no idea of the space and design constraints that may be at stake. Firewire requires more power than USB and therefore requires potentially larger power regulating components, and possibly a larger battery. This then means that more power consumption usually results in more heat generation that may require increased cooling considerations.

    You must remember that Apple are leaders in this game – They are far more ahead of you and I. The original iMac dropped ADB, Serial, Floppy disks and SCSI in one foul swoop… and replaced it with only USB1.1. As a Mac technician of the day, yes it was a little annoying, but we quickly learnt to adapt and as USB and then firewire evolved, this proved to be better than SCSI etc anyway. Time will tell but maybe USB2 will prove to be not so bad after all.

    Don’t forget too that Apple’s job is to make money for it’s shareholders, they do that by producing products and targeting them at specific markets. In this case, it would appear that if you have say an old firewire camcorder, then they are clearly not targeting the new Macbook at you, this perhaps is why they left the cheap Macbook in the line up. Be grateful that they have done this. If this macbook is too underpowered for you, then get an iMac or the Macbook Pro or a second hand/refurbished model – At least there are other options open to you.

  49. Frank T Says:

    To Kane:

    Stop calling Firewire Videocams “Old”. There are LATEST model high-end HD videocams… even at the consumer level like the Canon HV30 which is one of the highest rated cams on the market… that still require Firewire. Additionally, Firewire will ALWAYS be required for mini-DV cams of any flavor… and they aren’t going away anytime soon, or at least until AVCHD format is greatly improved.

    Secondly, there is no problem with being forced to go to the MacBook Pro for quality video editing (though people with strapped budgets and who own the older, cheaper cams will be left out in the cold with the exclusion of Firewire on the new MacBooks). The problem is that they have dropped one of the ports already on the new MacBook Pro’s and that may be a preview of elimination altogether. That would be criminal because a GREAT number of videographers are road-warriors and can’t lug around our Mac Pro’s on the road. The current MacBook Pro 17 is awesome for road editing (with external Firewire 800 drives as well), but it remains to be seen what Apple will do in January with the 17″ update. The purpose of these complaints is to try and let Apple know that if they want us to stay with Apple and Final Cut Pro… they had better leave the Firewire ports alone in the update. Barring that, I’ll be forced to go to Adobe Premiere for editing on an “UGH” Vista laptop… if for no other reason than Firewire notebooks will still be readily available…especially from Sony

  50. john wayne Says:

    Try doing a transfer test with USB 2.0 and Firewire 800 with about 300Gb’s of data. Firewire is better for larger transfers and larger files. USB is good for the quick bursts of data..

    USB 2.0 is crapola. But, I wouldn’t buy a macbook if it was the only thing left.. PRO all the way.. VIVA LA PRO!

  51. Jimi Hughes Says:

    I just wanted to comment about your email to Steve Jobs. If you have been such a “Die Hard Apple Fan” for many years now, why are you going to start telling your friends to get a PC instead? All over some silly Firewire port? Sounds ludacris and childish if you ask me. If you don’t like the new MacBook, then don’t buy it. If Firewire is that important to you, buy a USB to FireWire adapter (problem solved).

  52. Kane Says:


    While I appreciate that some may ‘feel’ left out that they cannot buy a new Macbook with Firewire, you must remember that Apple does not have to release every model with every feature available.

    Your theory that removing Firewire from the new Macbook is a sign that they intend to remove them from all future Macs is plain short sighted and shows nothing but a lack of understanding of basic marketing practices. Apple isn’t stupid, they know that dropping Firewire off their Mac Pro models for example would be plain dumb.

    Using that argument, when Apple released the Macbook Air without Ethernet, Optical Drive or Firewire, did that mean that future iMacs and Mac Pros would drop Ethernet, Optical Drives or Firewire? Definitely Not. They simply designed the laptop with features that they believed were the ones that people needed for the market the laptop is being targeted at. Sure, there will be a number that would have thought “I’d love to buy a Macbook Air but I’m gutted it didn’t have a built in Ethernet port” – In that case, if you really need that built in ethernet, then you compromise and either accept it as it is, or you buy a different model. In this regard, the new Macbook without firewire is no different and certainly does not in any way suggest that Firewire is likely to be dropped off their pro models, though yes I can see it being removed from iMacs in future.

    Apple wouldn’t just drop a feature for the sake of it without researching first, nor would they do it just to piss people off. They would have assessed firstly that of the total number of Macbooks sold to date, roughly what percentage of them had used the feature. Naturally there will be a certain percentage of people that use them, but I’d put money on it that most don’t. As for those that did, Apple would then assess the likelihood that they would be in the market to buy a different Mac model. Granted there will always be some that grizzle, but going by Apple’s market share in computer sales in recent years, they are proving that they are not making too many mistakes.

  53. Beneditor Says:

    Wow – what a lot of uniformed haters and fanboys.

    You’ve all missed the point: Even if you have a USB camcorder, you won’t be able to play any of the video you’ve captured from it using iMovie or Final Cut Pro because YOU CAN’T connect a drive fast enough to play it via USB2 – the connection via firewire gives a continuous data stream unlike USB.

    The video from one of these cameras won’t play off the internal drive either.

    Way to go Apple – You spend 8 years building up a generation of young film-makers and editors trained on Final Cut Pro, then disabled video editing on the one machine all of the current student generation will buy.

    Now it’s just any old overpriced laptop.

  54. Penguin Says:

    Losers! I’ll be buying a cheapo laptop with firewire and installing some linux. By Steve Job.. you don’t get my money!!!!!!!!

  55. Josh Says:

    David is a schmuck. Since when is a computer a “good investment”? And is the type of ports the only thing he looks for in a computer? Idiot.

  56. Anthony Says:

    Time to buy an iBook G3 because it has FireWire! Last I’ve heard the Pros would rather use a MacBook because it screams performance over the iBook but then again, you’d sacrifice your one of two USB ports for a USBtoFireWire cable too.

  57. Jamal Hartwell Says:

    IMHO, this is a bad, bad move! I got rid of my PC’s and went all Mac because of firewire. I work in video and audio and would not survive without firewire. I have:

    1. Firewire 400 Professional grade Panasonic Camera
    2. Firewire 400 Digi 002
    3. All Lacie Hardrives 400 and only 2 are FW800
    4. Just purchased the new Presonus Firepod (FW400)

    Maybe for consumers FW400 is not needed, but for me and all my video and audio friends who uses MOTU, Panasonic, Lacie, DigiDesign, Apogee (Which is promoted by Mac)….All use Firewire, because you can daisy chain!

    Bad mistake to abandon the FW400. The FW800 is only used for the high end Lacie Hardrives. No devices use FW800, so that makes it impractical!

    PS: I would have the iPhone, but the lack of MMS is still holding me back. So until then I’ll keep the Treo

    I love Apple, but the thing that scares me is Steve Jobs’ personal and philosophical decisions that sometime don’t seem to match the marketplace.

  58. Dunc Says:

    “The video from one of these cameras won’t play off the internal drive either.”

    Are you sure about this? I appreciate you might not be able to play directly from the camera as on FW, but once it’s uploaded via USB, isn’t it just a playable DV file on a disk?


  59. Chris in NH Says:

    Alright… just imagine my headache. I run software support and technical services for a private academy’s almost 450 student MacBook’s… and then about 400 other various mac’s. Half of my life is spent transferring home folders between assigned machines and loaners… the difference between booting from USB drive, copying the home folder over, then booting the next computer and transferring instead of direct swap via Target Disk Mode, is enough to make us rethink our entire staffing structure. We were pretty efficiently staffed… but this will over double the time it takes to perform any transfer… think of this when you have to move 80+ gig’s at a time from one machine to another several times a day.

    In other words… I am in deep trouble once I can’t buy the white MacBook’s any more. USB simply doesn’t offer this functionality. A USB to firewire adapter will NOT help me. Apple’s suggestion is to remove the hard drive and use a cradle for each transfer…fine, but now when the SATA connection goes from wear it probably won’t be covered because it will be deemed physical abuse.

    How long until it’s gone from the iMac’s? They’ll never make THAT hard drive easy to get to and I’ve got about 100 of those to worry about!

  60. Somebody Says:

    Buy new Mac or camera just to ‘enjoy’ the ‘user experience’? C’mon people, I can’t believe how blind you are!

  61. dave Says:

    To those who dismiss this as a trivial issue, I think this shows your lack of knowledge of the macs audience base. Firewire has always been a significant reason for the purchase of apple computers for schools. apple will lose many education sales as schools generally have to buy cheap DV cameras and these are ones that have firewire connections. Editing software is a problem ,older versions of both fcp and imovie don”t import via usb2, upgrading coasts are significant for the pro apps. . Loss of target mode is also a real downside for IT depts. Re mac book pro -only one firewire port sucks, my powerbook g4 had two as well plus an svideo out , far better connectivity than the new model .

    I buy apple products but I do not feel that they are always right in their decision making – ( unlike some who post here ). This is oen of those occasions where they have got it wrong , this is a significant issue for a number of people and it will probably means that a number of schools will defect to windows, therefore losing apple not only the sales to the school but also sales to the kids and their parents as well.
    better hope they keep the white macbook around for a while …..

  62. Loren Says:

    This is bullshit. What the fuck are video companies supposed to do with all thier cameras that will only connect via firewire. Go buy $10-40k worth of new ones? Apple fucked up on this one.

  63. muku Says:

    it is said “Note also that the MacBook Pro now only has a single Firewire 800 port; Firewire 400 is now gone.”
    can’t you all read this???

  64. Dave Says:

    Sounds like Steve is starting to loose it even more than in the past.

    He’s arogant and only his ideas matter. I feel sorry for the guy picked as his replacement as he’ll have to work with his arogance closer than anyone.

    Steve, Bite the bullet, apologize to Adobe and get Flash on the iPhone.

    Not everyone has the money to go out and purchase new equipment based on your future looking. We’re in a fricking recession you idiot.

  65. wbr Says:

    We seem to have two camps here:

    1. Lack of firewire on a small and relatively inexpensive Mac portable is a problem.

    2. That’s the biz folks. Shut up and get over it.

    I can understand the emotionality of group 1, and their desire to post their concerns over the issue. But why is group 2 so emotional about squelching the voice of unhappy consumers?

  66. Art Says:

    Some great responses–both technical and critical. Apple will whore you out if you are an early adopter.

    But if all the whiners just wait a product cycle or two, you can get a Macbook Pro for about the same price as a current high end Macbook.

    The dumbest design flaw in this fiasco is that the old Pros had TWO Firewire buses (400 & 800) and this really helps when most Firewire drives are 400’s and you want to archive from an 800. Since eSata through the card slot should theoretically surpass Firewire, that’s where the future is probably headed.

    Can’t one still get a PCI adapter, that lets you hook up SCSI 15k RPM drives to a Macbook Pro?

    I just bought a 17″ Macbook Pro at Best Buy for $1800, one generation behind the new one, so its one gigahertz slower and has about 80 megs or so less hard drive… it also is the last with the two Firewire ports ;OP”’

    Apple prices kind of suck but the build and design is comparable to high end Sony laptops, for about the same price. Too bad those Sonys have Blue Ray burners, WUXGA screens, more memory and Firewire.

    Asus, Acer and HP are all kicking Apple on price/performance, with WUXGA screens, Blue Ray, expansion ports & chassis, 8 Gigs of memory and upgradable processors. High end gamer laptops also kick graphic intensive butt, with SLI linked dual video cards, quad core processors, and all the interfaces you could want.

    Apple should open up OSX to the Windows PC market and let people build custom machines like the hard core gamers. Steve had a chance to do that before when he first came back to Apple. Microsoft didn’t get so big on hardware. Apple has a monopoly on both.

    And you can get quad interface hard drives–with 800, 400, eSata, and USB 2.0 from other companies if I remember my last trip to Best Buy.

    Goodbye Firewire RIP!

  67. jimmy midnite Says:

    I know I’m coming to this discussion relatively late in the game, but one thing seems to be largely missing from the Macbook (non) firewire debate: audio recording. The majority of audio interfaces are firewire.

    USB2 might have “won” in the world of photography, but in the world of computer-based recording, it lost. The fact is, firewire is faster than USB2. And speed is vital to audio recording–without it, you get the dreaded monitor latency.

    And anyway, a debate about USB2 vs. firewire is beside the point if you already bought your pricey firewire interface–such as the apogee ensemble (just shy of $2,000) or the apgoee duet ($495), to name just two. Both units were designed specifically for Mac-based recording, with the duet even having integrated controls in Logic!

    I’m sure some will say, “so get a MacBook Pro.” Fair enough, I suppose, if you’re buying the $2,000 ensemble. But what about the duet? And there’s another issue, too–you flat out don’t need the Pro! Audio recording is all about processor power, and on this the Pro line cannot offer any advantages unless you spend for the CPU upgrade.

    Recording music is expensive, plain and simple. There’s lots more than a computer to spend money on–microphones, preamps, et cetera. So, if you just bought the duet, and you’re budgeting your funds, what do you do now?

    Check out the MOTU (Mark of the Unicorn) web site, another maker of firewire devices. They talk up the new Macbook and how well their devices will work with it–because they make both firewire and USB versions. But again, what if you already have your MOTU device–and it happens to be the far more popular firewire version? And now you’d like to get a new laptop?

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  69. Chris Says:

    Anyone else think the original e-mail by “David” is absolute bullshit? Seriously, yeah Apple really cares about some random guy telling friends about good computer investments. There is NO comparison between a Dell and an Apple, with or without firewire. It is NOT going to make or break sales. Most people don’t give a crap.

  70. Verne Lindquist Says:

    I was going to buy a MacBook today.

    The lack of firewire is a deal breaker. And frankly, I think Steve got it all wrong leaving it out.

  71. in-venting Says:

    So there I sit like a complete fool firewire cable in hand and brand new shiny macbook ready to import the films i just bought back from a film shoot,you can picture the scene, as i try to find the port, then the google search and slowly but shurly the truth… Apple are friendly facists who can fuck you up.. because when you love something in this mortal world…watch out.
    You see size and image are the issue here.. look again at the 12 inch powerbook.. is it still not the most sublime tiny piece of (for the time) kick arce kit in the small computer market, unyet since its demise us tiny pro toy addicts who like to have everything in their shoulder bag have been asked to wait.. I actually bought a 15inch pro when it came out.. and it looked like a small coffee table to me, so i sold it to a friend and bought the most maxed out 12inch i could get and then impatiently waited… I shoot film .. i make music, I travel, I edit on the move and now my only option is a plastic macbook.. to me that always felt the the model for the wife !! the other car.. not the one you are proud to pull out of your bag.. I am so pissed off gutted that i sold my idealism and nievety to a coorperation who I thought had me in mind.. the macbook air was i guess a clue that apple were flying off into the future with little regard to the ones waiting for the tiny perfect powermachine.. there is no small pro model now.. man i would pay big money to have a pimped 12 inch with kick ass today i hand back my new al back lit key board sexy macbook gutted..and buy (defeated) a plastic macbook which i will tell myself will do while I wait…

  72. hans Says:

    Jobs is obviously clueless. A look at the 10 best selling camcords on Amazon reveals that they are all crappy $200 flash cams.

    A MSI Wind has enough horsepower to edit videos from a youtube cam. Not so full-res HD.

  73. PB Says:

    A USB 2.0 to Firewire cable adapter won’t help you any more than using high dollar digital coax cables will help you with analog to analog audio connections. The entire throughput system has to be Firewire. Save your three dollars and put it toward a Macbook Pro. Or stop spending money all together on substandard Mac hardware and build a decent notebook or tower, and add a legit 1394 controller and upload AVI or anything else you want all day long without flinching–all at 1/3 the greenbacks. And you can also connect any device(assuming that it supports Firewire, which there was never much of to begin with aside from camcorders) that your heart desires without wondering for a second whether or not Bill Gates’ latest flop will recognize it. You can also do this with Linux these days. Pick a flavor, and try it. You will be surprised at how much better USB 2.0 devices are supported in Linux as well. All that garbage aside, who knows what the future holds. You will all be torn a new one some time in the near future by either Steve, Bill, or both with the so-called latest and greatest tech. So grease ‘er up real good boys and girls, cause your gonna take it one way or the other.

  74. Fred Mc Galliard Says:

    Too bad about the lower end firewire death. Doesn’t really affect me now, but it is anoying.

  75. Anonymous Says:

    It’s cheaper to me to buy a macbook pro than to change my soundcard. Thnx! STeve! Fuck you!

  76. john Says:

    David(the one who wrote this supposed email) is a tool anyways. To tell people not to buy a great pice of hardware because it doesn’t have firewire is a crybaby move. If you think you really need firewire speeds then most likely you are a professional and would have the extra cash to pony up to buy a higher end machine if firewire is SO IMPORTANT.
    This most likely is a BS story anyways. But it just shows you how crazy people are when it comes to computers. If your reason to tell people not to buy a macbook it because of the lack of firewire support you one lonely soul

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