Apple knifing its own FireWire baby by pushing USB 2.0 as iPod’s primary connectivity option

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


  1. First Post:

    Did you notice that the old iPod 40GB slipped quietly into the night and is no longer available!!!

    This means that the single platter 40GB is on its way as is the double platter 80GB!!!

    I hope we will see them soon


  2. 80% + of all iPods are sold to people using non-Firewire equipped Wintel boxes. Since all Macs have USB 2.0 now (but not my TiBook ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”shut eye” style=”border:0;” /> ), then why not package and distribute just one product? That makes sense from a cost standpoint (as erk said).

  3. Right on MDN. Like I have said elsewhere, at least they should give you the choice of what cable you want with your iPod if they are intent on saving in cable bundling costs – but to charge Mac (Firewire) users $19 extra seems to me a big kick in the teeth to the Mac community and does not bode well for Apples confidence in this conectivity medium.

  4. Shame, I think the shape of FireWire ports looks much better than USB’s boring rectangle hole. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”big surprise” style=”border:0;” />

    I think FW800 will live on, it rocks.

  5. The iPod shuffle is understandable because it’s basically a thumb drive with a cool music player built on top.

    For the other iPods, however, this is inexcusable. It doesn’t cost Apple any considerable amount of money to include the FireWire cable in the box and if you’ve got an older Mac that doesn’t have USB 2…have fun waiting for your music……..synch……slowly……

    Maybe that’s why they got rid of the cable. They want Mac users to upgrade their computers!

    Pretty sneaky, Apple. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    To those who may confused, the newest iPods DO support FireWire, you just have to buy the cable separately now ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”mad” style=”border:0;” />

  6. They are definately trying to bring the cost down for the consumer by offering USB 2.0 instead of Firewire. I think if they could bring the model out with the same features and firewire they would.

    Heck 60 Gigs for $449 is a hell of a lot of music and photos for the price. And in such a small form factor. It wasn’t long ago when we were almost paying that same amount for a 5 gig iPod folks! So I wouldn’t complain to much really.

  7. Anyone with an older mac already has a firewire cable. As long as they don’t screw with the the dock socket and make it some non-apple standard shape ( like Sony Camcorders etc)- I for one don’t need another Firewire cable to add to my already huge collection of duplicate useless cables.

  8. while this can be explained as a cost-effective move, it’s still a sign that they are concerned with pleasing the majority. While not necessarily a bad thing, they must be careful that they are not swayed too much by what the majority of consumers may think they want.

    As MDN states “the iPod’s connectivity is being dumbed down to match Wintel PC’s second-rate “standards.”
    – What’s next, firewire removed from the Mac mini to save costs? Apple should not feel the need to match the PC world’s standards even if it means saving more money and pleasing a few more people. Pushing new technology (progress) is what Apple is good at doing. They should’t stop now.

  9. Watch the price of the cable go down soon. Anyway, the extra 20 will not kill anyone, and for those with older Macs with USB 1, there is always the option of buying a USB 2.0 PCI-Card. So, essentially what Apple is oing, it is giving you choice.

    Magic Word “Fine” as in “It’s fine by me”

  10. Luckily that I already have an iPod and it came with the FireWire connector as standard. If I buy an iPod sometime in the future, I’d expect a FireWire connector to come with it since none of my Macs have USB 2.0 (which is slower than FireWire anyways).

  11. The article comes from one of those ‘We have to find something bad to say about Apple today’ sources.

    I wouldn’t even give them a hit just to read the rest of the spin in the piece.

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