By now, you likely already know that Apple came out with new laptops today. I could talk about the new features at the existing price points or about how the new machines are very pretty, but you can easily find that elsewhere. Instead, I want to address some unfortunate details on the new laptops in terms of ports. After all, small details can make a big difference for audio users.

For connecting drives, audio interfaces, MIDI devices, and the like, you get:

  • MacBook Pro: Two USB 2.0 port, one FireWire800 port, one ExpressCard/34 slot
  • MacBook: Two USB 2.0 ports
  • MacBook Air: One USB 2.0 port

Those are Pro specs for laptop ports, really?

So FireWire is gone from non-Pro models. FW400 is gone from the Pros, though that turns out not to be entirely a deal-breaker (you can use FW800). And eSATA is still missing, which I personally think is too bad given the increasing availability of great external drives. (eSATA is an external SATA connector. In the real world, it blows away USB2. In theory, it also blows away FW800, but in practice, they’re typically neck and neck and both pretty great. Problem is, having just one FW800 limits flexibility.)

Note: A holdout from the previous generation, the white polycarbonate MacBook and 17″ MacBook Pro live on — at least for now. The US$999 white MacBook is a good buy if you don’t need the NVIDIA 3D graphics, with a FireWire 400 port and (now) a SuperDrive. The US$2799, 17″ MacBook Pro has a third USB port and a FireWire 400 port the “improved” models lack. I would guess both models will be phased out soon, however.

With Apple leaving their price points more or less in place, that means now could be a great time to snap up some deals on used or refurb models if you’re thinking of upgrading and want to save some cash versus a new model. And it means the MacBook, for at least some users, just got less appealing, not more.

FireWire 800 vs. 400

First off, FireWire 400 is gone entirely. On the MacBook Pro, this doesn’t wind up being as bad as it sounds. The FireWire800 jack is still available, and using an adapter, that means fairly easy backwards-compatibility with FireWire 400 audio devices. Here’s what MOTU has said in the past about using their popular FireWire-400 audio interface with FW800:

Also, you can use a FireWire 800-to-400 adapter to plug a MOTU FireWire interface into a computer with a FireWire 800 port. As our FireWire interfaces are FW 400 devices, there will be no performance increase by connecting them to a FW 800 bus, but there will also be no detriment to MOTU FW performance either. Using a FW 800-to-400 adapter simply provides you with more connectivity options.

In fact, I believe you will still get the benefit of bus power via the FireWire 800 jack. That actually makes this less annoying than using FireWire on PC laptops, as most (though not all) PC laptops use a 4-pin jack that doesn’t use power. (The upside of the 4-pin jack is, because it doesn’t carry power, it’s also not likely to fry gear when hot-plugged. I have heard isolated incidents of that happening, at least with video cameras.)

I’m also really disappointed that Apple hasn’t added eSATA. This is widely available on PC laptops, and allows superb drive performance – ideal for recording – and doesn’t involve squeezing anything else on our overburdened USB ports. Sure, you could use FW800, but many drives include eSATA in place of FW800, and you’ve just taken up your FW800 port with your audio interface. See the problem?

The break for the MacBook Pro is that you can make use of the ExpressCard slot and add functionality you don’t get, though that is an extra investment and you only get one slot.

MacBook Deal Breaker?

But let me be clear: there’s really, really bad news for the MacBook. FireWire 400 is gone. There’s no way to add it back, because the non-Pro models lack ExpressCard. You can’t edit video from a DV camera, you can’t plug in audio interfaces from the likes of MOTU and RME, and you’ll have to do all audio, MIDI, and external storage through two USB 2.0 jacks.

In fact, given this, I think I have to revoke my recommendation of the MacBooks. I’d suggest getting a US$999 plastic MacBook, which is still available, if you’re on a budget. It’ll run software like Ableton Live and Logic Studio quite well, and it offers better connectivity than the new MacBook. Otherwise, if you want a Mac, you should opt for the US$1999 Pro – or, if you want something in between, look for a used or refurbished previous-generation MacBook Pro, which has none of these compromises.

Apple: Stop Killing Our Ports!

I think Apple deserves a lot of the great press they’ve gotten lately. I think there are real reasons people switch to the Mac that aren’t related to marketing or image, which is something Microsoft often fails to recognize. But this does reveal a weakness of the Mac platform, which is that you are constrained to what Apple gives you in hardware choice. It’s worth noting that this is a definite mark in the plus column for standard PCs running Windows and Linux. That might not change your mind on OS choice, but there is still a choice, and each platform choice involves tradeoffs.

And OS choice aside, I hope Apple reconsiders and finds a way to occasionally add a port and not just take them away.

Yes, there is a lot of other news on these models, and I’m sure for some, on balance, this will be great. Go have a look at the specs and decide for yourself. I’m going to pass on this one, though – just my personal call.
MacBook Pro Specs
MacBook Specs

Updated: It’s time to talk to Apple, say fellow Mac users. Eugenia of Eugenia’s Rants and Thoughts is encouraging unhappy Mac users to tell Apple they want FireWire back on the MacBook:

No firewire on new Macbooks
Apple – MacBook – Feedback

  • Jon C

    I couldn't agree more with your comment about removal of FW from the macbooks. What are they thinking? The macbooks have been in the sweetspot of price/ performance for independent (read "poor") musicians for a while now. I have sold at least 3 by my recommendations to friends. Now I will say find an old generation refurbished.

    BTW, I DO know what they are thinking – they hope to push people to the MBP, but I think it is one of those moves that could really turn musicians off from the platform. We don't want to use crappy USB2 interfaces, Steve!

    A disappointing and unfortunate change, Apple.

  • http://wileywiggins.com Wiley Wiggins

    This was a dealbreaker for me as well. I use an apogee Duet as my audio interface and I have to have firewire. A sturdier metal enclosure would have been wonderful for playing live, since my plastic macbook has taken a beating so far and not stood up well to it (had a hard drive die, broken plastic near where my hand rests, slight light leakage at the bottom of the display). I really wish Apple would make a small, ruggedized computer with the ports I need for doing music and multimedia. If Mac Minis were cheaper I'd make something myself with a rack case and a little cheapo lcd screen. Sigh.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    In defense of USB2 audio, some of those interfaces are quite nice — but for simple I/O, and that's little comfort if you've run out of free USB jacks or want to use a FW-only hard drive or already own a FW interface.

    And yeah, here we are in an economic downturn, in a presentation that started talking about market share, and Apple is aggressively upselling. That's their prerogative, but there's surely *some* dissonance there. It says Apple will continue to focus on gross margins and not volume, even as they implied the opposite and talked switchers in the presentation.

    Mac OS can be worth it to people, but you ought to at least compare the specs on some competing machines.

  • spacerock joe

    this is terrible news. i can't believe mac is doing this! even the low end g4 pre-intel ibooks had firewire. as far as i'm concerned. this is a step backwards!

  • Jon C

    I usually take the sport of bitching about Apple with a grain of salt – they have never seemed as bad as haters make them out to be. But, while this was probably primarily an economic decision on Apple's part, I have to admit this feels a bit like sticking it to the very group of people (the artists, musicians and videographers) who helped so much with their resurgence.

    That said, they have a pretty good record of listening to criticism so perhaps they will address this shortcoming next time around. (?)

    I'm just glad I wasn't in the market right now.

  • Svante

    Oh no! I was just in the process of upgrading (from WinXP to MacOX) and this bad news. No firewire on the MB!!!! The Pro is to big and expensive. On second thoughts that SONY Vaio is looking good again.

    Please APPLE put the FW back!!!

  • Hungry Antelope

    I recommend this as a replacement:
    http://www.ruggednotebooks.com/products/RNB790/

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @John: Yeah, I hear you. In defense of bitching, I will say that, having watched the Mac community for a long time, a lot of the most passionate criticism comes from the most devoted Mac users. (And they tend to be the most articulate.) We live every day with the tiniest details of these machines, regardless of OS. So you know, even the partisanship of Mac, Windows, and Linux users, and certainly people complaining about the tools they themselves use, I think it can all be productive.

    The main thing to me is, when it comes to expandability, flexibility, and connectivity, we need something back when we give something up. Some people complained about the lack of a floppy on the original iMac and missed out on why USB mattered. But here, this just does seem to me to be a step backward.

    And even as a fan of a lot of what Apple does, I do hope that people continue to look at their competition. I think that's better for everyone involved.

  • spacerock joe

    wait a second, they now offer the white macbook for $999 and it includes a dvd+r. is that going to remain or are those leftovers from the last batch?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Hungry Antelope:

    That RNB is hilarious. Well, it's certainly ready for Burning Man. ;)
    http://createdigitalmusic.com/2006/09/06/burning-

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @spacerock: That was announced today. How long it's sticking around is anyone's guess. Ditto the mysteriously not-updated 17" model, although that seems to be a temporary fluke. (and there is a precedent in the past for delays on specific screen sizes)

  • amoeba

    this sux. i was hoping they would add at least another USB port… but taking away FW? i simply can't believe they did that. very bad choice. well, i am sitting this cycle out. my guess is we will see it back next time around. or at least i sure hope so.

  • Jason

    Thumbs down from me as well. I was looking to get a smaller MacBook to use as a dedicated production / DJ laptop, since I currently use my MacBook Pro for both daily use and DJing. No Firewire is a deal breaker for me. I'm very disappointed.

  • bagelche

    Your criticisms are pretty much exactly mine. On my 1 year old MBP I often use both FW ports–800 for a HD and the 400 for an editing deck or camera. I can't see myself recommending either of the new machines for someone doing much audio or video work. real bummer. I was sure they'd include eSATA with a new case design (not a spec update like Jan08).

    Having said that, they have dropped the prices on the refurbs and that's where I'd tell people to look. Check out this one:

    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

    15.4-inch widescreen display

    2GB memory

    200GB hard drive

    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

    NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of GDDR3 memory

    Built-in iSight Camera

    $1349

    That's a nice deal. only $50 more than the new macbook. I'd take it!

  • Jon C

    Peter, I certainly agree. Exactly my point – the example of Apple removing the floppy drive was one of Apple being ahead of the curve and pushing their agenda of a more web centric computer which was the direction the whole thing was going anyway ( the optical drive will be next – a la macbook air). But the removal of the FW port is not forward looking. It would have been forgivable perhaps if they added an express card slot (but that would never happen on the macbook) Warranted or not, it smacks of up-sell. Perhaps they did some surveys and found that most people don't even use FW – but, in this corner of Mac use, we do and we need it!

    That said, this is not any reason to abandon the platform (or to buy that Vaio, Svante)- they are still selling the previous plastic design. For 20 years I have only used Macs – a missing firewire port won't change my mind – but it sure makes it hard to recommend this specific machine.

  • anders

    that friggin stinks – i was near updating my Macbook, but now.. geez I wouldn't be able to use it with my Digi 002 rack.

    Weird decision from Apple

  • scntfc

    one more voice to the choir: i too can't believe they'd drop the firewire port. i wonder if this means no more target disk mode as well? afaik that was/is a firewire only feature.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @bagelche: Holy crap, that's a good deal. Yeah, I agree – today is a big win! Uh… for refurbs. Print a photo of the new MacBooks to hang on your wall, but buy one of the old ones. Use the extra money and go on vacation.

    @Jon: I agree. There are still reasons to buy PCs. One FireWire port — probably not. But lots of other hardware choices / price combinations / specific software, yes. And what can happen, I think, is that as people are balancing the scales, smaller details can become symbolic. I'm not advocating PCs in this case, I'm just saying, there is an equation for some people. A lot of folks had been as loyal to Windows as you've been to the Mac. Now, there's clearly more "undecided votes" to account for, more swinging between OSes (hence a measurable uptick even in Linux use). And I think it's fair to compare the $2500 MBP with its one FW800 and two USB2 ports with PCs that have many USB2 ports, FW800, FW400, and eSATA and say that'll figure into a decision. Even that may not be the deal breaker, but it could help tip the scales one way or the other.

    I say this because now I have these different OSes staring back at each other on a regular basis … both me and other people I work with.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @scntfc:

    Correct. No FireWire target disk mode. (Forgot about that, actually!)

    No DV editing (not unless you have a hard drive model or something).

    Limited multi-channel audio options.

    No IP-over-FireWire (another Apple-driven innovation).

  • Jonathan B

    Firewire 400 is still on the low-end white Macbook.

  • http://unrecnow.com/blog marc

    can you go from ethernet to firewire? i though i heard that once

  • Svante

    So the obvious q? Whats the best USB 2.0 audio card for mac? Im used to RME cards so my expectations are really high (low latency, hazzle free, 100% reliable, no dropouts crackles etc, excellent drivers etc) Please RME make a USB card!

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Jonathan: sorry, should have pointed that out. Ditto the old 17" MacBook Pro which for some reason was not updated today. But I expect both models will be phased out relatively soon.

    USB2… tough call. Your options are more limited, but there is stuff out there. MOTU, for instance, makes a USB2 version of the 828 mkII, which is a pretty good interface with very solid Mac drivers, and is a direct equivalent of a FireWire interface (the other version of the same model). Edirol has made these for ages, M-Audio makes some, NI makes the AudioKontrol and Audio8; I've got the AudioKontrol and really like it, though it doesn't have a whole lot of I/O on it.

    But then, it'd be nice to have more than just *two* USB2 ports(!)

    And yeah, off-hand I can't quite think of something I'd choose *over* some of the Apogee, RME stuff…

  • ernesto (costa rica)

    they could have made it perfect but again….

    taking the FW400 away is criminal, no target disk mode and no Pro Audio work here. Those laptops are simple unusable. They tried it before with the first MBP and just as then they will have to pull this aberration away with next revision. shame on you steve!!!

  • http://www.keyofgrey.com Sean

    Externally the MBPro looks great; it was time for a refresh. However, I'm disappointed like many of your readers above, that they dropped FW400. We shouldn't have to buy adapters for all our legacy gear. I also don't want to have to daisy chain using adapters between all my FW800 and FW400 devices sharing the same connection. That would be blood annoying. I'll stick with my current MBPro until they make a significant improvement thanks.

  • Guy Sigsworth

    I can't believe it. This is terrible news. Think I'll sit this round out too.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    As you'll recall, last week I predicted my prediction (multi-touch) would be wrong and wishful. (So in some perverse way, I guess I was right.)

    Here's a prediction I'll stand behind:

    You won't see this port come back. Not ever. It's not happening. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if iMac sheds its FireWire support. Target Disk Mode will remain on the MBP presumably but it's now officially dead to MacBooks. The assumption will be that you connect to cameras via USB2, minus live capture capability.

    And, frankly, I can see why a lot of people *won't* care about that. But at the same time, I have to observe a couple of things:

    * removing a port in this case isn't about any kind of functional innovation, period.

    * the people who do care — well, we're hearing from them now :)

  • http://www.usoproject.com U.S.O. Project

    It's such a constriction! Sincerely, I never considered USB a "pro" standard (I have only a multi-connectors hard-drive and I'm using it via usb only for backup, not multitracking or whatever).

    The new MacBook is unuseful. Catch the white 13-inch MacBook if you can.

    MM

  • http://www.icompositions.com/artists/MMI georgn

    big lose; I have a 17" Macbook Pro that's less than a year old. It has 3 USB ports, fw400 and fw800, full size dvi, ethernet and audio ports… and I use them all at once!

    AFAICT, there's nothing aside from a new trackpad to tempt me.

  • ernesto (costa rica)

    @peter: man do you stand by your prediction??

    S.A.D…. and in this particular moment ($$$) apple is sending a we-don't-care-about-you message to us all. how can I digest it? bad news this is.

  • Bill

    I am interested in seeing if Snow Leopard versions of audio software access the GPUs using Grand Central. Could be very cool.

  • Slee

    Yea i was all excited about the multitouch pad and it's possibilities for realtime controls, but WTF, dropping FW400 ports? This is a dealbreaker for me I already am using all my ports on my MBP, one less would be a pain, it's not like i can chain audio cards and midi controllers.

    oh well, it's not like i was gonna upgrade anyway, the minimal cpu increase wouldn't be worth the $ to me

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Bill:

    Grand Central enhances multi-core support, not GPU support. I think you're thinking OpenCL. Unfortunately, OpenCL is mostly questions at this point; we don't know which GPUs will be supported, I don't think, and certainly it's tough to say what real-world applications will be at this point.

    It's almost entirely unlikely that processing on the GPU will have any immediate impact on what you can do with audio. For one thing, you can do an absurd amount with the *CPU* in current software; you're more likely to hit the hard disk or RAM as restrictions (which is unchanged here, and still unacceptably slow for a lot of audio on the Air).

    If Snow Leopard improves multi-core performance, that's more likely to have immediate, tangible gains. GPGPU gets more interesting in the long-term, and for specific processes.

  • http://wileywiggins.com Wiley Wiggins

    There's just so much FireWire video and audio gear… Someone has to provide a solution. I can't accept that after creating and marketing iMovie and GarageBand towards consumers, that Apple expects them to all buy expensive pro machines to use that equipment. Or I suppose everyone has to chunk last weeks equipment and invest in inferior USB gear. bleh.

  • Slapper

    ^^ This is from someone who works in Apple's Pro Audio customer care. Raise some hell, Wiley!

  • Heart Pound

    Needless to say I was super disheartened about this announcement, since i just bought a new Macbook three weeks ago when my Powerbook G4 shit the bed. However, this firewire funny business ruins the new Macbooks for me. I've got a Presonus audio interface, and that means Firewire. No way am I going to go out and shell out another chunk of change for a new (and probably inferior) USB 2.0 interface when the Presonus one works great.

    Terrible move on Apple's part.

  • http://www.chromedecay.org J. Schnable

    This whole thing is utterly baffling. Yesterday, analysts were projecting some attractive market-share opportunities with an $899 laptop. The $100-higher-than-that old model is a slap in the face (combodrive, seriously?).

    I'd been holding out for a better MacBook for awhile. I just sold my G4 iBook last week (and, in an odd clairvoyant twist, my Firewire interface as well). I temporarily moved my Ableton-based setup to my speedy Dell Latitude (with no less than five USB ports…), and picked up a cheap Steinberg MI4 interface.

    It's not that I have a problem spending $1300 on a laptop – it's that Apple is clearly corralling me into a $2000 laptop. Apple has long had a divisive strategy in their product lines – finding ways to cut features and tech out to force the professional users to more expensive systems.

  • sorry to..

    @Anders

    As far as i understand Digidesign does´nt even have a proTools up for the latest 2008 santa rosa Intels, so bying the new ones would not be something to recomend if you want to use the 002 for something more than a paperweight for the next year!

    But i could be wrong!

  • Adam S

    I just want to chime in about the macbook being a 'step backward.'

    Actually the new macbook has the same cpu, bus speed, ram, and cache as the 2.4 pro, so IMO they are offering quite a sweet deal with that one. Granted, lack of FW is pretty sad, and I wonder if apple+apogee are going to placate us soon with a USB Ensemble/Duet.

    In the mean time, its the MBP for me… I have been waiting too long with my powerbook to hold out any longer, and 15" screen + firewire is what sold me. I guess that makes me a 'pro'. ha! They got me :(

  • tobamai

    Looks like Apple is trying to shift their primary market from "creative media types" to "regular people." The average person doesn't care about having lots of ports or even fast ports — they primarily use a mouse and sometimes one other usb device (a camera or a thumb drive). Cutting ports makes it easier to make it lighter and thinner, both things they do care about. Toss in a brighter screen and a fresh look and it's a sale.

    So bad news for the creative types, but I'm with Peter: I'd be surprised if extra ports ever come back.

  • Toby

    This is another Black Day for Mac users.

    Firewire's days have been numbered since they got into bed with Intel.

    I look with envy at all the hardware options available to PC users much as the people in the Eastern Bloc looked across the Berlin Wall.

    I'm tired of Apple giving with one hand and taking away with the other!

    12" Powerbook G4 scrapped despite huge popularity; iBook replaced with ONLY a glossy screen and a useless Intel graphics chip; Overpriced and frivolous MacBook Air introduced when everybody is crying out for a sub note book thats tough, fast and small.

    I'M SO FRUSTRATED that Apple just won't make the computers that I want to buy!

    I know Apple won't care because they're selling shed loads of computers but they've really dropped the ball this time.

    Perhaps it's finally time to embrace Linux and REALLY wear a Think Different shirt.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Adam: Yes, I tend to agree, although *on paper*, at least, you can get some incredible specs pretty cheap on the PC side. That may be little comfort if you want to run Mac OS instead of Windows, of course.

    I'm not going to armchair-quarterback what this means for the computer market in general; I think what the near-unanimous comments here illustrate is that for *our niche* this is bad news. And on a pure value front, I think those bargain-basement previous MBPs look like a pretty sweet spot.

    I will say, when you keep your marketing strategy upmarket as Apple has, it's not a *huge* leap to speculate that that's a margin play and not a volume play.

  • cubestar

    This is too bad, cause they look awesome!

    I'm pretty sure that Apple didn't take the probably 0.5% of it's customers who need Firewire audio into consideration. I don't think it's an upsell scheme.

    They just thought that USB 2 ports were good enough for 99.5% of the people.

    Maybe they have USB target mode? (crosses fingers)

    FW 800 seemed like such a step-child, I thought that FW would dissapear after a new super fast USB 3 would come out, but not before…

    I would say to petition Apple if you want to keep a FW port on iMacs and future Mac Books!

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Toby: I don't know about that. 1394 seems to have grown on PC laptops. Intel ships FireWire on its own motherboards. Apple made a call to, literally, choose form over function, to ditch FireWire on consumer models to make the slimmer and prettier. But does that mean they devalue FireWire specifically? They're being pretty stingy with USB ports, too. And apparently they think FireWire is valuable enough that you'll pay hundreds of dollars just to get it. ;)

    I don't know that Intel is to blame for Apple's decisions.

  • http://www.twofloorsrecords.com zibba

    A Mac without FW is like a eunuch.

  • http://www.twofloorsrecords.com zibba

    Could it be no FW because they're using an NVidia chipset perhaps……

  • Timichango

    Can anyone PLEASE tell me how to connect the Apogee Duet to the FW800 port on the new MacBook Pro? I keep hearing 'adapter', but I've never seen one, and can't find one online…

  • Zancudo

    Sad move on apple's part.

    Lack of firewire is a complete deal breaker (expresscar possibility or not). Taking features away and just justifying it with "you can always BUY that functionality separately" just doesn't seem like fair play.

    I was really looking forward to upgrade to a new macbook, but with the current offers a custom made Hackintosh seems like the best option. There are plenty of pc models that work flawlessly with both leopard and tiger, prices are lower and decent connectivity can be had.

    While I don't mean to start a debate about platforms, OS'es or any such.

    Simply put it, I need a new laptop, I'm stuck with OsX to run some mac-only programs and Apple does not offer a computer to cater for my needs.

    Obviously their market research teams decided they don't need my bussines.

    sad ….

  • http://www.twofloorsrecords.com zibba

    @Timichango: you can get 6-pin to 9-pin FW cables, here's one

  • http://www.twofloorsrecords.com zibba
  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Timichango:

    You're looking for something like this -
    http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fw_adapter.html

    – or a cable that has 400 at one end and 800 at the other. But Apple may ship an adapter in the box; haven't unpacked one yet so I don't know.

    Advantage of a cable: harder to lose. :)

    @Zancudo: right, but what about the old MacBook Pro? Refurbs aren't too hard to find via Apple and others, and now it's down in MacBook price territory. Not a bad machine.

  • dead_red_eyes

    It's completely fucking ridiculous that they've done away with the Firewire 400 port. Most professional audio interfaces rely on Firewire 400, granted there are *some* people out there like Apogee that are making Firewire 800 devices, but the majority of the FW interfaces are 400. So … WHAT THE FUCK Apple?!

    Now most people are going to have to use an Expresscard/34 Firewire 400 card to use their interface, which means they're screwed for using an external drive.

    Talk about taking a fucking step back. This royally fucks over musicians, especially for taking FW completely away on the Macbook Pro Mini.

    Not cool Apple. NOT FUCKING COOL.

  • dead_red_eyes

    I'm wondering if the Expresscard/34 slot on the Firewire 800 connection share the same bus. That would be another seriously stupid move on their part.

    Forcing musicians to buy the $2,000 model just for the Firewire really really really sucks. Most people I know can't even afford the $1,000 Macbook.

    Goddamnit Apple, ARGH!

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @dead_red_eyes: Hold on, not sure you've got this quite right.

    MACBOOK PRO – you do NOT need a FW400 interface to use a FW400 device. It'll work fine with FW800. You just need an adapter (which may come in the box) or a cable.

    MACBOOK — there's no interface. It doesn't work. Period.

    And quite frankly, yeah, that could *absolutely* make a difference to people, because you can go out and get a capable $600 PC. There's no way on the value end for music that it'll make sense to replace your audio interface just because Apple eliminated a port *so that* you can buy a new laptop from them. Unfortunately, this is a pretty small part of the market … though I don't know on the video camera thing. (My fear is, people won't figure it out until they try to plug it in!)

    BUS — I don't know. I expect they're separate, though; that's been how it's been done in the past and is far more likely.

  • http://www.twofloorsrecords.com zibba

    Or is it just that all consumer stuff, digital cameras, new camcorders are USB? Do new camcorders even have Firewire DV anymore, I don't know, perhaps they just mount as USB 2 hard drives. And for the regular user that's all they need.

    Perhaps next we'll see a USB Duet?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Yes. Zillions of cameras still use FireWire. Lots of people still shoot to tape. Lots of people don't want to have to buy a new camera just to support their computer, too. And most USB-based cameras don't support live capture from the camera. And there's Target Disk Mode, which I don't think is possible via USB (certainly not currently).

    Still cameras are another story; they've never required FW. Just video we're talking here. But you're right, many hard disk / flash cams are less of an issue.

  • http://www.twofloorsrecords.com zibba

    Unless they've upgraded the firmware Target Disk mode isn't possible over USB.

  • JonYo

    @Dead_red_eyes:

    Keep in mind that any FW400 device can connect to a FW800 port with an adapter or FW400-FW800 cable. So, there won't be any problem using FW400 devices on the new Macbook Pros, and no need to get the Express34 slot involved. I normally run my MOTU 828mkII FW400 port to my Macbook Pro's FW800 port, and have never had any compatability issues.

    The new non-Pro Macbook without any FW though…what the hell? So lame.

  • JonYo

    Whoops, repeat info, sorry…

    Yeah, what Peter Kirn said!

  • Timichango

    Thanks for the links to the adapters! I'll be using a 9>6 pin cable in most applications, but I'm pretty sure the cabling for the Duet has the FW connector integrated, so that'll require an adapter.

    Redonkulous.

  • Roland

    re: the whole FW400 vs FW800 issue …

    i had problems with my Mbox 2 Pro connecting to the FW800 port on my MacBookPro … unhappy hardware (i was using an 800 to 400 cable); i've only ever used the 400 cable (incl w the MBox) since …

    anyone else had that problem?

    i do audio and video work .. i have an audio interface, a DV deck, and FW drives connected to my system. Apple seem to be telling me that there new notebooks are for "pro" bloggers or something …

    R.

  • http://turntablepoetry.com dj professor ben

    This is indeed unhappy news. Apple was the first to put firewire in their computers as a standard feature; I guess they wanted to be first to take it away too. Maybe they will hear the complaints and add it as an add-on option. In general I'm disappointed with these offerings; I was hoping for that elusive MacOS X-running tablet with a touchscreen done right, the way Apple knows how to do things… sort of a big iPhone with cut-n-paste …. Instead we get a few minor updates and a slight tweak on the design. And I'm not thrilled with the glossy screens at all; now you don't have the option of non-glossy. I still vastly prefer OS X to anything else in terms of operating systems, so here's to holding out for another 6 months or so until the next update.

  • Patrick

    Never used one myself, so I am unsure about any performance loss, but what about a USB/Firewire combo hub?

    http://www.meritline.com/7-port-usb-2-0-usb-firew

  • http://eugenia.gnomefiles.org Eugenia

    Patrick, this doesn't fix the problem because you still need a firewire port to connect the firewire part of that combo hub device.

  • http://www.nk-e.com George Napier

    It doesn't make a lot of sense to remove firewire from the MacBooks. Unless — from Apple's perspective — the old MacBooks were a little *too* well spec'd. How many different places have you read the advice: "Unless you need super-duper graphics, forget the MacBookPros and buy a MacBook for your portable music making."

    I know I did.

    And I DID (buy a MacBook). And I've been damn happy with the purchase.

    But if there are a lot of people who did the same thing, then from Apple's perspective the MacBook is cannibalizing potential sales and that's not a good thing.

    They've moved the MacBook much more firmly into the consumer space. They've even beefed up the video for game playing. (Funny. The graphics used to be the big differentiator. Now, not so much. It's the connectivity.)

    I'm a fan of firewire in part because of my investment in drives, cameras, and I happen to actually use target mode more than just occasionally. USB also requires more processor overhead and is not quite as "intelligent" as firewire when it comes to multiple devices. (Oddly enough as processors are getting increasingly beefy all of the time, it's less of an issue now than it once was.)

    I am sad to see it go from the MacBook. It's one thing to drop a grand on a secondary machine. Much different thing (at least for me) to drop two grand.

    Looks like I'll be holding on to my machine for a long while.

  • ernesto (costa rica)

    hey people send your feedback straight to almighty steve, now that he's blood pressure it's still alright!!

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/macbook.html

  • http://www.twofloorsrecords.com zibba

    Of course, I just remembered, they dropped FW from the iPod range a while ago. Expect iMac and Mini to go the same way……….

  • Benjo

    I was shocked at first. But I have needed FW only because USB wasn't an option. Hot-swapping FW cables is still a crapshoot. But if FW can be replaced by USB apps and hardware to do the same thing then forgetaboutit. One less protocol the better – if it can do the same job. I look forward to USB compatible versions of FCP, Target Disk Mode, and all kinds of audio stuff as well. FW may have been just an exercise in competition.

  • Pingback: Create Digital Motion » New Apple Laptops: New GPUs, Connectors; Non-Pro Changes

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Benjo, maybe once USB3 comes out, that makes sense. Problem is, right now FW800 and eSATA both blow away USB2 in bandwidth. The MBP has FW800 but not eSATA; the MB has neither. FW400 is still necessary for real camera control of DV and HDV cams, etc. And people already invested in a whole lot of gear. And there aren't enough USB ports if it's really all about USB.

    Plus, don't forget, the PC vendors (including Sony, who were one of the early advocates of FireWire) get their say, too, not just Apple.

  • http://corbucorbu corbu

    just want to add to the chorus of boos.

    and i agree with george about the macbook being a little too-well spec'd.

    it's just sad that in an admitted economic downturn, they're demanding a lot more money from the artists and musicians that need their products. especially when most of us can barely afford them in the first place.

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Apple to Intro New Notebooks: Touch Coming?

  • tommy

    I remember the same amount of OMG when they dropped the floppy drive. Apple is sending a message… no more new firewire. The MacBook PRO is now your computer to handle the legacy Firewire stuff for the next few years. I predict Firewire will eventually be killed by Apple. Hardware and gear manufacturers will take note and switch to USB. It will be painful for those with legacy stuff, but most people… especially new customers… will not care about any of this drama.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Yeah, but Tommy, when Apple dropped the floppy, people stood up to defend them, too. And let's compare. The iMac replaced the low-capacity, slow floppy and low-speed, non-plug-and-play serial bus with high-speed, high-capacity USB.

    In this case, you lose connectors with nothing to replace them, and you replace a faster bus with a slower one. And you replace the ability to control cameras and transfer footage with … well, nothing, at least in some cases.

    See why people aren't jumping up to defend their decision? If USB3 had just come out and they replaced it with that, or if we had any strong sense of what's happening with video cameras, it'd be a different story.

    And they didn't drop it everywhere, they dropped it on the low-end model.

  • http://unrecnow.com/blog marc

    let's just hope that something changes with the next revision (and i will hope that my 1st generation macbook lasts that long)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, if anything were coming in the future, it'd be USB3.

    In fairness, FW800 didn't turn out to be a big leap forward. eSATA is fragile and tiny and requires separate power and is limited to storage. So, if they nail USB3, that could be a step forward.

    Then again, we're the people still regularly using MIDI on 5-pin DIN cables at 31 kBaud, aren't we? There's a lesson there. I'm not entirely sure what that lesson is. I think it's probably plug in what you have and use it, and if you want it replaced, offer a *substantially* better alternative that everyone agrees is better.

  • http://blipback.com Gustavo

    Not to be another "Voice of Doom" – but an unexpected side effect of this is that a lot of music technology companies will most likely be impacted. Presonus, MOTU, and even Digidesign (which is not a BIG company really) just lost a bunch of potential sales – at a time when the economy is tanking, and banks are reluctant to loan money out.

    I'm sure Apple's idea is to "lead the market" with this change, but unfortunately, it just broke a lot more than it fixed – and its going to be a long time before manufacturers catch up with solutions equivalent to what's been available on the market for a few years now.

    Jeez.

    - Gustavo

  • dead_red_eyes

    Yeah, I didn't think about the Firewire 800 to 400 adapter. Still sucks that you'd have to get one.

    I still want to know if the Expresscard/34 slot and the USB and Firewire 800 share the same bus. While I would expect that they wouldn't, the older Macbook Pros Firewire 800 and 400 connections shared the same bus, which really sucks.

  • http://www.twofloorsrecords.com zibba

    We may see USB3 in 2009 or 2010. I still can't figure out the reasoning. If it's for aesthetics why not use a 4-pin connector? I think the lesson is: Apple will do what the hell they want and screw you if you don't like it.

    This is Windows only http://www.pixela-1.com/captycable/

  • http://www.twofloorsrecords.com zibba

    @dead_red_eye: they all share the same internal PCIe bus. the difference being that FW on ExpressCard/34 will have it's own FW controller and a separate FW bus.

  • Pingback: Eugenia’s Rants and Thoughts » Blog Archive » No firewire on new Macbooks

  • Freddy

    Maybe we all are seeing this at the wrong angle people!, I'm upset too but bear with me:

    I was about to "upgrade" my old usb Tascam US-428 for a FW-1082 which now Apple kind of made obsolete along with a lot of very capable firewire gear, I have 3 firewire external hard disks alone, that hurts… but only if you upgrade to a newer entry level macBook, so what are our options here?

    sell for cheap all our fw hardware and get over it or…

    Quoting Peter Kirn ^^ "we’re the people still regularly using MIDI on 5-pin DIN cables", so true, and I bet at least half of the readership from CDM have or want an analog synth 20 years old, so why we can't keep one machine as a dedicated timeless/not upgradeable/etc. workstation for our audio needs?, I'd say go with the flow of the US economy (so paralyzed this days) and keep your current gear until it dies :)

    I think my iMac and black macBook comps will be around with me for a long time, maybe even longer than my iPhone, who knows?, and with a little luck they'll be as treasured as those old synths.

  • lza

    Wow, does this mean I can get pro-FW-Hardware for cheap on ebay from all you disgruntled Mac-Users? Ah, looking forward to that… Because my Win-PC has FW and will have for a long, long time. :D

  • michael

    It's simply to differentiate pro from consumer products. The old MacBook is still there and the slight ~15% CPU difference isn't an issue so there real difference is that you dont get the alu. Stop complaining.

  • Claude Ravel

    Hate glossy very much. Hate the overall look. Looks like a Sony/Toshiba etc.

    Trying to sell the manufacturing method as a SEXY NEW FEATURE, was so insulting and more evidence that the "reality distortion field" has lost all its kung fu since Steve sold his soul to the Chinese. It always seems that once someone has made a certain about of money, if they maniacally push forth for more and MORE, that the slimy black gunk of sickness they excrete falls on everything and everyone around them.

  • Leslie

    Musicians always used MacBooks Pro not MacBooks. MacBook always was treated as an entry level notebook and besides, 13 inch display is just not big enough for any kind of serious work anyway. If someone has enough money to spend on firewire interfaces and mixers, they surely will not buy MacBook to drive them… ;) Incidentally, just bought the new MacBook Pro today and absolutely loving It. :)

  • neesium

    With the removal of Firewire on the "low end" Apple gives me no option but to spend at least 2k on my next notebook. I will now be seriously considering switching back to the Windows platform. It pains me to have to consider this option. This design change is an idiotic move.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Selling computers is, in part, politics and publicity, and Apple got it wrong this time.

    This "everyone uses Pro because you're a Pro" logic is probably what bugs me the most. You can spec out "pro" features on a PC laptop and come easily into the US$1500 range, with things even the top-of-the-line MacBook Pro lacks. So Apple asks for some sacrifices; that's fine, I get that. The problem is, they keep targeting ports.

    I mean, jeez, the Asus Eee has 3 USB jacks and VGA ports, and it's only $500. That means it even gives you 3 free USB ports to the top-end MacBook Pro's 2.

    And I think part of this is just bad timing. Fed by some rumors and wishful thinking, analysts, users, and press — and American consumers, who by some reports have run up trillions of dollars in *personal* credit card debt (not even including other forms of debt). So everyone came in wanting a value story. Apple's presentation – the way they themselves described the products – focused almost entirely on manufacturing and looks. Things like the GPU architecture could have been a decent value play, but they didn't explain to anyone what it's for.

    I think, honestly, you can get people to go upmarket even in a down economy. But you need to add a reason to do that, not cripple your existing line, and you need to explain it well. For better or for worse, consumers are going to interpret all this stuff about the case as being a luxury argument, not a value argument – partly because I think they rightfully saw the old machines as already solid.

  • JP

    "Musicians always used MacBooks Pro not MacBooks."

    Only musicians with money. Most of the mac-using fellow musicians I know can only afford and make due with the low-end models. For most, the cost of a MB Pro is out of the question.

  • MrMZ

    @ Leslie. You know some well heeled "musicians".

    I know zero musicians with a Mac Pro anything.

    There is too much external gear that goes along with the computer to free up another thousand dollars.

    Unless you work "in the box" but even then you're spending crazy $$$$ on plugins to make that shit sound good.

    So the real world folks will keep buying refurbs and used while the trust-fund set will be unfazed.

  • engkel

    I just wonder what the pc alternatives are?

    Guess this discussion has been up before

    It seems to me that what has attracted people to the mac is more the knowledge that these few models WILL work with music programs which apparently isn't always the case with pcs. So how do you 'know' this is the case when buying a dell, hp etc.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @engkel: well, it's not always a sure thing with Apple, either – early releases of OSes often cause trouble, you need to take care which audio interface you buy, etc. But yes, it can be a risk with commodity PCs.

    If that concerns you, one alternative is music-specific vendors. I mentioned Rain Recording. PCAudioLabs is another one. (http://pcaudiolabs.com/) Now, you do pay a premium for these systems, too, but the difference is, you get more customization, and ultimately it's tested and supported specifically for music, which is something that's not even true of Apple.

    On the other hand, I think it's still worth having a look at those commodity machines, too, as some of them are very solid.

    You might come back to the Mac at the end of all of this. But you really do have a choice. And as a couple of commenters have said, it's important you choose stuff that fits your needs and budget, and that you have a setup that's really solid and reliable. (that sometimes means even avoiding being an early adopter on the Mac)

  • http://wileywiggins.com Wiley Wiggins

    To the poster who mentioned me working at Apple, I haven't been there for over a year, but yes, I used to do both Final Cut and Logic Pro support.

  • engkel

    @Kirn:

    I guess so.

    It just feels like overkill when the it's not quite apparent what you get for the money. I'm on a budget so I'm probably going for a self-build pc instead of going the unknown-parts-in-laptop-route.

    However, Apple's fewer releases and versions of their computers seem to make it a little more easy to investigate online whether or not

    there are issues.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, part of what you pay for with Rain and PCAL is support. On the mainstream vendor side, I'd take a look at Lenovo. Their product line seems pretty consistent in terms of components — ie, streamlined offerings and not so much variability — and I hear almost exclusively positive feedback. The specs look great.

    That said, something true of all PC vendors — and that includes Apple — is that you get lemons. This stuff comes out of countless different factories and suppliers in Asia, and if any of them winds up being sub-par, you can have a failure. So I'd also compare support offerings, because you never know when you'll need it. (and that means part warranties if you're building your own) I mean, literally, you get one capacitor off and you can have a failure. It's just the nature of electronics. Drivers, of course, you can research. :)

  • velocipede

    Before the announcement, somewhere I thought I read that it is also possible to use a firewire adapter with a LAN port. Can anyone confirm this?

    I might have been dreaming or misread it because I wasn't really concerned. I never imagined that they would drop firewire from the Macbooks.

  • Pingback: State O’ The Music Industry | Marco Raaphorst

  • http://del-uks.com/forum Del-Uks

    With no significant price cut, the new design is just form over function!

    I suggest we send Apple feedback:
    http://www.apple.com/feedback/macbook.html

    Bring FW400 back!

  • bliss

    Well, I never thought I'd say this… Fuck Apple!!! They are fucking morons.

    What is the use of Final Cut Express now? Doesn't that soft match nicely with a low end DV camera and a MacBook w/firewire?

    It's a waste of time to even mention all the situations that Apple has royally fucked up.

    Goddammit!

    I will never defend Apple on the forums again.

  • bliss

    Nor will I recommend Apple's shit again. I will seriously recommend a Windows machine.

    Apple has completely lost me. :(

  • jonno

    I can't believe all of you who drink the marketing kool-aid "PRO" bullshit.

    "oh if you need firewire, get a macbook PRO"

    for general audio purposes, the machines are for all intents and purposes identical. Yet I get these people saying that I should spend 1000 dollars more (taxes and warranty) on a "PRO" machine, when all i want is f/w 400 for my apogee interface.

    I don't want a bigger machine. I want a solid recording platform. I am a MUSICIAN not a navel-gazing apple fan boy who likes shiny new toys. that $1000+ can be spent in MANY MANY better ways. fuck you apple.

  • csb

    Apple continues to equate the physical size of a machine to how useful it is – bigger = more "pro". How absurd…

  • Alicat

    I want to tear someone's head off and shove my MBox fire wire cable down their neck!

    But I do have my period at the moment, ask me how I feel in about two weeks!

  • Alicat

    The new macbook comes standard with….

    Apple Inc's "Alchemy 1.0"

    With a free tutorial Blu Ray disc, "How to turn Apples into Lemons!"

  • Leslie

    Since there are 2 threads running with the same topic and replies, I will post the same message twice as well:

    Am I missing something..? Last time I checked (2 minutes ago) MacBook comes with Firewire port and it costs only 999 bucks. I don't understand what the problem is… Oh I see, It is not made out of aluminum and glass ;)

    Than again, even if it was, there would be another "hate Mac" thread for some other obscure reason.

    Get over it…

  • SiUnit

    It seems to me like they have alienated the whole student market. I'm studying Sound Technology BA at LIPA and EVERY person on my course has some form of MacBook, and I assume its the same on similar courses around the world. The removal of the FireWire port makes it useless for all of us that have multiple sound cards, midi devices/interfaces and external HDD's, which is every single person in my class. They have also upped the cost, [from £800 for a decent mid range MB to well over a grand] meaning that it cant be bought with a student loan anymore. Now the MBP is even further out of reach of us lowly students, its looking even more miserable.

    It seems as if Apple haven't really thought this one through, I know nobody on my course will upgrade until there are significant price cuts AND increased connectivity. They have lost 30 excited customers [at least temporarily] and I'm sure its the same in lecture theaters around the country.

  • bliss

    @ SiUnit

    On that note, Apple has lost most of the entire student body at Berklee College of Music. Students are required to own laptops, and the majority of students use Macs, as that is the computer that the school has chosen to use in its labs. Many students that would have upgraded will not do so now because of the cost to own a MacBook Pro. Most use MacBooks and all have a use for Firewire.

    Again, Apple are morons.

  • http://del-uks.com/forum Del-Uks

    Do you guys remember when Apple had to bring FW800 back after dropping it in the first MacBook Pro revision…

    Once again I suggest all these comments you've made should be heard by apple:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/macbook.html

  • http://www.TheNettles.com Kevin

    This is just the latest example of why open platforms are good for consumers.

    The Unix/Windows PC is for all intents and purposes an open platform–thank you, IBM! Even the CPU is up for competition. As a result, no PC manufacturer would dare to remove hardware from a PC without some sort of compensation for the consumer.

    The Mac OS is a beautiful thing, but it's not worth the hardware lock-in to this developer.

  • Alicat

    Leslie: “Am I missing something..?”

    Yes you are. Read carefully about the difference between FW800 and FW400. That is just one of many things wrong with the new systems. If you used it for music production, you would feel our pain too.

    Most of us don’t flame for fun.

    But Apple need to hear loud and clear that what they have done is not acceptable.

    I’ll ‘get over it’, when they fix the problem they have created!

    Or I get myself a ‘HackBook’, which ever comes first!

    ;-P

    BTW: My partner and I have spent thousands on hardware that rely on the FW400 interface.

    (800-400 adapters are reported to not work with Protools, though this is unconfirmed, if anyone can shed light on this.)

    If we can’t use that equipment on a new macbook pro, just how do you suggest we “Get over it”?!

    Any suggestions as to what we can use as an alternative to the Quackbook Pro?

  • Alicat

    Leslie: "Incidentally, just bought the new MacBook Pro today and absolutely loving It. :) "

    Congratulations on your new purchase.

    What are you using it for, and what do you love about it?

    Just curious, do you use any Apogee or Protool devices?

    Also, do you use a professional video camera?

    If yes, do they work well through the FW800 port???

    In what rule book does it say if you can afford firewire devices you can afford to throw an extra $1000 away on one interface which costs the manufacturer about $2 to put in?

    The other specs are so close, that's pretty much all you get for the extra money!

    Anyone who buys the Quackbook Pro is getting ripped off! And anyone who buys the Quackbook is going to be disappointed and almost as limited as the Quackbook Air.
    :-)

    People, if you can hold off, don't buy one till they replace the FW400, again!!

    Don't encourage their bad bean counters, or they'll think they can get away with it and trim off something else next time!

    BTW, bliss & SiUnit: The whole global SAE network uses macs and requires their students to buy a Macbook Pro. There is another 500 odd customers turned away.

    And since they are all students, they can barely afford anything else.

    Roland says:

    "i had problems with my Mbox 2 Pro connecting to the FW800 port on my MacBookPro … unhappy hardware (i was using an 800 to 400 cable); i’ve only ever used the 400 cable (incl w the MBox) since …"

    That answers one of my questions.

    (This news just in: FW800-400 adapters Don't work.)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Alicat:

    It's not necessarily the FW800 adapter that may be the problem. In the past, the issue has most often been the controller. It's possible the issues people are reporting here are related to incompatibilities with that controller. As I noted earlier, MOTU specifically *does* support FW800 – FW400 backwards compatibility, and the MacBook Pro's previous generation ran its FW800 and FW400 ports off a single bus.

    So, yes, I'm very eager to hear compatibility reports.

  • Emil

    this shows how eager these computer companys are for making that extra buck…really stupid to dismantle someting that works great…same goes for vista too…slow and ugly…FTA!

  • A

    You could also upgrade to the RME Fireface 800 for use with the new MacBook Pro. The unit is said to have the lowest latency and the best AD/DA converters of its class.

  • http://www.synesthesiarecordings.com U.S.O. Project

    Steve Jobs responds to no FireWire support on new aluminum MacBooks. Fake message?

    http://www.macsimumnews.com/index.php/archive/ste

    MM

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    USO – yeah, I don't know if that's real or not. Certainly, it is the argument people have been using ("no one uses FireWire on cameras any more") and is consistent with other Jobsian pronouncements ("no one uses Java any more" or "if we let you run apps, you'll destroy AT&T" [paraphrase], etc.)

    But whoever said it, it's wrong.
    http://createdigitalmotion.com/2008/10/17/did-job

    Many, many pro cameras use FireWire, many installed-base consumer cameras use FireWire, and it says nothing about storage or (importantly) music and audio.

    But yes, again, on the MacBook Pro this isn't a deal killer — provided FireWire devices work properly with the new machine, which is more of a controller issue than anything. It's the non-Pro, and the general tack Apple is taking, that are worrisome.

    Also, just to flip this around, is it really a massive engineering undertaking to have this port on this machine? It just says the aesthetics were the first priority. If that's more important to you, then this is an admirable decision. If not, it's not. And even if Apple is wildly successful with this choice, that's not to say you can't do whatever you want with your money.

  • http://www.microvintage.net aconsumer

    Wow.. not that I would by a new Mac book anyways.. but.. I would think fire wire of all things should be standard especially with Apple computers being in most cases much more expensive then there PC counter parts…err..um.. Boo? =]

  • Pingback: Create Digital Motion » Did Jobs Claim “All New HD Camcorders” Use USB? I Beg to Differ

  • CNek

    Don't forget S/PDIF mini-jack plug (to toslink with cheap adapters) to connect high end cards.

    Using mindprint trio S/PDIF and eSata card for external drivers, no need for firewire BUT I sometimes use a DV capture box and a external firewire burner …

    Most of good cards have S/PDIF, more reliable, no drivers needed…

  • http://www.synesthesiarecordings.com U.S.O. Project
  • box guy

    I'm having a hard time comprehending this… I'm certain I'm not the only one here who runs protools/Digi02 with their laptop. Does this mean I have to buy a Mac Pro to upgrade?

    Or is this some kind of plot by Apple to get people to spend $10 or more on adapters that take 15 cents to make. I've never even heard of a FW800->400 converter.

  • bye bye apple

    forget it. we are done.

  • zenzen

    I sympathise with all the disappointed and disaffected. However, my reaction was "Meh" (that's right children, I think words I would never actually say out loud). Lack of FW is not a deal-killer for me.

    But this comes after frustration using my (old white) macbook as a music machine. My fw interface (fireone) had crackling and latency problems. The display is and was a terrible, flickering TN panel limited to 1280×800. I had to use one of Apple's stiff short adapter cables to attach a DVI monitor. In the end, the Macbook became this ungainly Frankenspud. Replacing the whole mess with a Mac mini and a 24" nice LCD has made everything better. Audio is via a 4-year-old edirol UA-25 (USB 1.1!). The Mini has 4x USB 2.0 and 1x FW400, BTW.

    If I have to gig with the (old or new) Macbook, I would happily use the edirol or simply the line-out (high fidelity not being a priority over a PA) and rely on USB for controllers and MIDI IO.

    I realize that we all have different gig/studio needs and work habits, so YMMV.

  • Pingback: Apple’s New MacBooks not so friendly towards Audio Community | Newbornyeti.com

  • Pingback: Hidden Place Blog » Blog Archive » Respuesta a la falta de firewire en las nuevas Macbook

  • HappyJack

    These days Apple is all about looks and zero about substance.

    Less ports than a netbook, for Christ's sakes!

    But as long as it looks good, who's gonna notice, right?

    Apple is all about the iphone and iPods, and I for one wish

    they would spin off their computers and software division (or at least their software division).

    I really like the OS, but the hardware is not good value for money anymore.

    Time for you to go, Steve-o.

  • muser

    @zenzen's Simpons quote LOL.

    Personally I think it is a mistake. There are literally millions of Firewire MiniDV cams out there. Sure they're are slowly being replacde but don't forgot USB cams have only been the more popular choice for a few year now. So if you for example have a video camera from 06 or before it's probably Firewire. And people who want simplicity and video editing use Macs.

    So if I want to get another Mac notebook I have to buy a freaking $2000 Macbook Pro just so I can use Imovie on a better Mac notebook.

    I think this was Apple being cheap and thoughtless and not simply a reaction to market forces. Non editors probably won't miss it but don't forgot who still makes up a big chuck of Apple's audience.

  • SnoBird

    I'm so angry. I ran out and bought the new MacBook because I was so excited about the beauty and simplicity of the design. Several months later I realized that not only will I not be able to import video to my computer, I can't use the Midi Interface that I used to use for my electronic music. And by the time I realized it, I was out of the return period. As soon as I have the money I'm going to sell it and buy an older MacBook Pro. Apple has lost my business on first gen hardware with the iPod and iPhone, and now they lost it on computers. FU¢KER$!

  • funetsuki

    Apple MacBook? I need to get an Apple Macbook, but I don't aware much in connection with it. My dad says that it's kinda, a absolutely word organization to relearm and stuff. what are the pros and cons about acquiring an apple macbook? or any apple laptops