It’s all about the cables and connectors..too expensive to compete.

Apple takes a step away from FireWire | CNET — As expected.

With the latest crop of iPods, Apple is no longer including a FireWire cable in the box. The music players will still work with FireWire, if a cord is purchased separately, but only a USB 2.0 cable comes with the device. The move is part of a gradual shift on Apple’s part to standardize the iPod on USB, which is far more common in the Windows world.

Although Apple’s embrace has been gradual over several years, it is still a big shift for a company that helped develop the standard behind FireWire, technically known as IEEE 1394, and has been one of its biggest proponents.

via K.Burel

  1. Ed Campbell says:

    Everyone keeps yapping about what are “theoretically” similar transfer rates between USB 2.0 and Firewire. In practice, for whatever the reason[s], Firewire still eats USB 2.0 alive.

    When I bought my last standalone Maxtor HD, mostly for backups, it came with both ports — and I tried it with both. Firewire was 2-4 times faster.

    Now, whenever I can, I buy devices with Firewire.

  2. Adam says:

    I’d like to see people try to shove DV video over USB….. Firewire has it’s uses, and really, it’s overkill on the iPod, but it’s wonderful for moving video to/from a camera or hard drive.


  3. site admin says:

    I see no reason why Firewire should be so much more fast than USB uless the USB 2 implementation you have stinks. I have a drive with two connections like that and have not noticed a big difference.

  4. Ima Fish says:

    Yeah, firewire kicks USB 2.0’s butt. I keep my PVR computer in a room behind my living room. I needed a 15′ cord to a USB 2.0 DVD enclosure in the living room.

    The USB 2.0 enclosure was NOT fast enough to play DVDs. I switched to a Firewire enclosure, and it was fast enough.

    And it wasn’t the length of the cord. I tested with shorter USB cords but DVDs just would not play fast enough.

    The same thing happened when I stuck a DVD burner in the USB 2.0 enclosure. In the firewire enclosure, DVDs burned as fast as if it was connected to IDE, e.g., about 8 minutes. But when connected to the USB 2.0 enclosure, it took about a half of an hour to burn the same disc.

    USB is crap. It’s great for mice and printers. But for everything else firewire rules.

    BTW, I don’t really think Apple is backing away from firewire. I really think that Apple is opening up to USB. There is a difference. They are not giving up on firewire. They are only accepting the fact that most PCs don’t have firewire.

  5. Scott Tobkes says:

    Have you seen the price of firwire cable? I just think it’s about keeping their profit margins high.

  6. Hank says:

    I don’t know all the techie stuff but I do know that in my audio hardware, I am WAY more likely to get latency with USB 2.0. It’s a big problem, actually.


  7. Maybe the tide will turn again toward Firewire, as FW 800 becomes more useful with video/photo driven iPods. In the meantime, it’s good news for Apple shareholders in the short-term.

  8. K B says:

    “I see no reason why Firewire should be so much more fast than USB uless the USB 2 implementation you have stinks. I have a drive with two connections like that and have not noticed a big difference.” –site_admin

    What Ed Campbell writes is what I have heard from others– that Firewire and USB 2.0 should theoretically be close enough not to matter, but that in practice Firewire wins out. I haven’t experimented, and I don’t know much, but I have taken what I have read to heart and have always favored Firewire over USB for HDDs, especially since I have conversely heard *no* one argue that USB is better in real-world use.

    Maybe this would be a good time for some benchmark testing. If anyone knows of a good testing that has already been done, please post it.

  9. Ed Campbell says:

    What I’ve read and heard commented is that — coming from serious use in the video world, Firewire protocols were designed from git-go to be fast. USB protocols generally are warmed-over Serial.

    It’s not my area of expertise; but, my results with USB 2.0 vs. Firewire 400 with the same drive [external Maxtor 160gb] having both ports — happened with 2 different computers [WXP tower vs. Mac Mini w/OS X] using different software [Retrospect vs. OS X Backup].

    In both cases, the Firewire gobbled up USB 2.0.

  10. Ima Fish says:

    Scott, Firewire cables ARE expensive if you buy them at retail. But on the net you can get them dirt cheap. I buy almost all my cables from

  11. Marc says:

    Firewire 400 (400Mbps) much faster than USB 2.0 (480Mbps)
    I bought an external HD (7200 rpm) with both Firewire 400 and USB 2.0 connections.
    I tried out the 2 connections to transfert a 1.6 Go file from my G4 (OS X) Powerbook laptop to the external HD.
    Results : 1min 03 sec using Firewire and 1min 33 sec with USB 2.0.
    This is probably because Firewire is a peer-to-peer protocol while USB 2.0 is a Master -Slave protocol. This is not propaganda, it’s only figures. This showed me that it’s preferable to use the firewire connection on my laptop instead of the USB 2.0, as I have the choice.

  12. UUCG says:

    I was under the impression that FireWire has sustained speeds of 400Mbs and USB 2.0 has burst speed of 480Mbs . Like FibreChannel firewire gaurantees sustaind bandwidth. Also I beleive USB 2 suffers from the dreaded “as fast as the slowest device” problem. One last thing I find the connector being the same a both ends VERY useful as i have several USB devices that are a/b and some a/a. Lastly I read in some marketing material that you could connect two machines to 1 firewire drive and have them both access the disk. the ability to daisy chain or Branch devices with FW has saved my bacon.
    I have several FW/USB2 enclosures and various mac and windows machine I have noticed that transfer speeds vary widely among machines under both standards. for instance Transfer rates on my lowly eMacs over firewire are FASTER than my DP G5s because the FW disk controller is more efficient on the eMac. in general I find Firewire connections more reliable and speedier.
    What will Kill firewire will be the marketing of 480Mbs looking faster than 400Mbps

  13. david says:

    Any word on a USB 3.0? Or at least a USB 2.0e (enhanced) whose actual transfer rates matches its specifications?


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