Apple obviously seems to be morphing the iPod family’s connectivity from FireWire-centric to USB-centric. The newest member of the iPod lineup, the iPod shuffle connects via USB 1.1 and 2.0 through integrated USB connector. Today’s latest iPod mini and iPod photo connects via USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 (with FireWire cable, sold separately) through Dock connector.

Only the older iPod Special Edition and iPod models seem to still come with FireWire connectivity (FireWire cable) out-of-the-box, featuring both USB 2.0 and FireWire 400. One guess is all it should take to figure out that the next iPod revision will probably not ship with a FireWire Cable and rely upon USB 2.0 instead.

FireWire was the original iPod’s only connection. Apple invented FireWire. You’d think Apple would use its iPod platform to expand FireWire’s reach, not diminish it. Unfortunately, most Wintel PC’s do not come with FireWire standard while all Macs do. It’s ironic that Apple feels they have to knife their own baby in favor of Intel-developed USB, which many consider to be inferior for data transfer compared to FireWire. If the iPod shuffle is any indication, soon FireWire connectivity for all iPods will be discontinued.

So, Mac + iPod users are in the interesting position of being considered second class citizens by Apple, the maker of the Macintosh no less, as Mac users are being forced to pay extra for the superior FireWire connectivity that our iPods would naturally utilize to connect to our Macs. Because more Windows users buy iPods than Mac users, the iPod’s connectivity is being dumbed down to match Wintel PC’s second-rate “standards.” Enjoy!

What’s next, Apple, building Windows key support into iTunes and forcing Mac users to use a mapped function key on their Mac keyboards?

Note to Apple: be very careful with your Mac users. Do not force Mac users into substandard “solutions” just because that’s what the majority of Wintel PC users happen to be stuck with or “tax” Mac users an extra $20 because we want to use the better, Apple-invented connectivity solution that’s built into our better, Apple-invented Mac computers. Apple, you should allow users to choose between FireWire or USB 2.0 cables at the point of purchase, at least at your online store. We Mac users have been treated as second class citizens for years from most other tech companies, do we now have to endure being treated that way by Apple, too? Remember the people that kept your company going for many bleak years. Mac users are watching what you do and how you treat us now very, very closely.

We have a message in to Apple and will update this article with any response they choose to give, if they do indeed choose to respond.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple should include a combo FireWire and USB 2.0 cable in every iPod box – February 24, 2005
Petition to Apple for iPod FireWire support posted online – February 23, 2005
Apple updates ‘iPod photo’ family with new slim 30GB model, debuts new iPod Camera Connector – February 23, 2005
Apple unveils new 6GB iPod mini for $249, 4GB model now priced at just $199 – February 23, 2005