Apple disrespects its own Mac users with iPod’s FireWire fiasco

“FireWire is still Apple Computer’s baby, but the proud parent is cutting the cord. 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,” Ina Fried reports for CNET News.

MacDailyNews Take: Is “cutting the cord” or “knifing the baby” more appropriate to use when describing the situation?

“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,” Fried reports. “Some Mac owners were rankled by the move, saying that as recently as a year or two ago many Macs didn’t include a USB 2.0 port. As of Wednesday night, more than 1,300 people had signed an online petition calling on Apple to again include a FireWire cable with iPods.”

“When the iPod debuted in 2001, it used only FireWire, and even the second crop of iPods–the first to support Windows–lacked USB support entirely. It wasn’t until April 2003, with the dock connector-based iPods, that Apple first offered a USB 2.0 option. And then it was USB 2.0, which had to be bought separately as a $19 extra,” Fried reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The Apple iPod boxes used to read “Mac+PC.” Apple iPod boxes now read “PC+Mac.” Mac users ought to be able to “do the math” and get used to being treated by Apple as second class iPod users from here on out. Shareholders should be happy that Apple has a “money talks” attitude. Mac users, especially long-time Mac users, should be wary. Unless your Mac is less than 1 or 2 years old, you’ll have FireWire ports, but only USB 1.1 which transfers files much more slowly than USB 2.0 and does not carry enough power to charge an iPod. (And, by the way, even USB 2.0 can’t compare to FireWire 400 for sustained data transfer rates). Apple’s attitude toward most Mac users seems to be, “you’re in the minority, go buy the extra cord” or the usual “go buy a new Mac.” Getting “taxed” by Apple for being a Mac user really rubs us the wrong way. And exactly whose fault is it that we’re in the damn minority anyway?

What do we want from Apple? Respect for Mac users. In fact, we want better, we want preferential treatment for Mac users; it’s well-deserved. We also want Apple to provide to consumers the choice between a FireWire or USB 2.0 connectivity cable from (at least) the online Apple Store at the time of purchase for no extra charge. It’s not the lousy twenty bucks, it’s the principle. Do the right thing, Apple.

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 knifing its own FireWire baby by pushing USB 2.0 as iPod’s primary connectivity option – February 23, 2005


  1. Getting “taxed” by Apple for being a Mac user really rubs us the wrong way. And exactly whose fault is it that we’re in the damn minority anyway?

    I guess it’s time for Apple to reopen the Mac-clone market. Resurrect the Power Computing Corporation and let the games begin B-)

  2. The iPod doesn’t need firewire, so why make a big thing out of it just on principle? If Apple doesn’t want to add unnecessarily to the cost, and get the larger market opportunity, they made the correct decision.

  3. Rowwwwwrrrrr! Ffffft, ffffft!

    Somebody’s up tight. Apple is not obligated to provide either FW or USB cables. Since fewer users in the total computing market are likely to have FW, it makes sense for Apple to focus on USB. Why should they be expected to include both cables?

    As for the Wintel focus, this may seem like a snub, but if it means more people will buy the iPod, then in the end it could be better for Mac users. Just a little sacrifice we have to make to get more people in the club.

  4. This is how things get done, people. Keep up the pressure, MDN. Apple should do the right thing and offer Mac users the option of a FireWire cable from Apple’s online store. That seems VERY LITTLE to ask. Wake up, Apple!

    Hell hath no fury like a Mac user scorned.

  5. Apple should just ship the FW cables to customers for free as complimentary. All they have to do is ask the customer if they require it. For one thing, those FW cables are not worth $20, so Apple is getting a good profit from them I can guarantee you.

  6. look, it’s a financial decision. Apple needs to appeal to the PC world to sell more iPods. And I would’ve bought my iPod whether I had to buy a separate cord for it or not. Stop making such a big deal out of it.

  7. They are just trying to get mass appeal. When a PC user reads that box and first sees “Mac” before it sees “+PC” some will think the iPod is only for Mac’s. It’s a marketing strategy. If you invented this device and wanted to sell it to as much “mass” as possible you would understand, it’s all about proliferation and $$$.

    As for the cord….just trying to increase the profit margin. A “cheap” business tactic.

  8. Why not lower the price by removing the USB cable and let everyone buy whatever cable they want as an add on item.
    A lot of folks won’t even need to buy a cable since they will have spare cables from other obsolete devices.
    Apple just needs to put a sticker on the box indicating that a cable is required that is not included – just like a lot of printers, etc.

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