New MacBook case leaks question FireWire's future

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Clearer, more detailed leaks of Apple's next-generation MacBook and MacBook Pro cases have surfaced and reveal that Apple's once-preferred FireWire may be on the way out for its entry-level system.



Posted yet again on a Chinese site, the images match up exactly with earlier leaks and all but confirm the design aesthetic of Apple's next-generation portables.



On the MacBook Pro, this includes the new through-the-tray keyboard layout, a latch-free magnetic lid, and redesigned speaker grilles that help bring its design into line with the more modern MacBook and MacBook Air.



The new standard MacBook undergoes a less dramatic change but again makes its promised switch to aluminum.



Both new units, however, are now known to have had their number of ports reduced versus today's models. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is now believed to have lost full DVI and FireWire 400 as revealed by a source of AppleInsider's last month.



Instead, the high-end notebook now has a mini-DVI connector for video output and just one FireWire 800 connector -- a partial regression back to the original 15-inch MacBook Pro, which had a solitary FireWire 400 port before it received FireWire 800 several months later. A covered-up section at the front-left corner has yet to be explained.



MacBook Pro casing.



MacBook Pro ports (L to R): ExpressCard/34, audio in/out, mini-DVI, two USB, FireWire 800, Ethernet.



Kensington lock slot and the side-mounted optical drive.



The standard MacBook, however, may prove more worrisome for some prospective owners. The metal design only shows Ethernet, two USB ports, mini-DVI and audio as its expansion; FireWire 400 isn't visible anywhere in the available photos.



Removing the port gives Apple its first consumer-level portable without FireWire since the earliest versions of the first-generation iBook and represents a step back for Apple from the connection standard it helped create. A cursory look at the casing suggests space is the reason, though the new MacBook doesn't appear significantly smaller than its current plastic equivalent.



Technological change does favor Apple's move. While FireWire was originally added and maintained on Apple's more inexpensive portables to simplify connecting digital video cameras and eventually earlier iPod generations, more modern camcorders (including HD models), iPods and iPhones now depend chiefly on USB for a direct-to-computer file transfer.



MacBook casing.



MacBook ports (top to bottom): MagSafe, Ethernet, two USB, mini-DVI, audio in/out, Kensington slot.



The optical drive by itself.



Still, the new casing -- if reflective of what Apple introduces on Tuesday -- may spur a negative reaction from both video and audio professionals looking to use the smaller MacBook as a more portable editing platform than the larger and more expensive 15-inch pro unit.
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Comments

  • ltcommander.dataltcommander.data Posts: 327member
    I don't know if anyone has brought this up before but does anyone think Apple will incorporate Wireless USB? It seems a good way to make up for limited physical ports. And I believe the standard was pushed by Intel, so it seems a good way to make up to them if Apple went with nVidia chipsets. Apple was one of the first out of the gate and drove adoption for USB and 802.11b, so it seems fitting that they do the same for Wireless USB.



    And the lack of Firewire is disconcerting especially after the recent promotion of Firewire 3200. If they are just cutting Firewire out, why do they even bother supporting Firewire 3200 development? I guess Firewire still sees military applications though.



    I'm hoping that the tape on the port indicates that these are still an early design and some changes will be made compared to the final production model.
  • cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Still, the new casing -- if reflective of what Apple introduces on Tuesday -- may spur a negative reaction from both video and audio professionals looking to use the smaller MacBook as a more portable editing platform than the larger and more expensive 15-inch pro unit.



    Precisely. Unless the 15" MacBook Pro is going to start at $1299, the cost of having a portable system for on the road editing just increased significantly since the 13" MacBook will no longer be an option. What makes this even more frustrating is that the Macbook will finally have dedicated graphics, which would have significantly improved Final Cut Studio performance.
  • buckbuck Posts: 293member
    I for one am worried about being unable to use the computers in target disk mode, it's so insanely useful it's not even funny. Unless Apple provides similar functionality via USB it's one thing I'm going to miss greatly.
  • foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    What can you see of the icon labels on the MacBook ports if the image is blown up? Can we be sure what's being called a mini-DVI port on the MB and MBP isn't actually for a B-type USB receptacle, which would enable a USB-based target disk mode?
  • galleygalley Posts: 971member
    I can understand going only with a FW800 port (and possibly including a FW400 adapter)on the MBP, but why on earth would they drop FireWire completely from the MacBook?
  • donsqueakdonsqueak Posts: 25member
    Over at macrumors there's a huge discussion already about which to preferably keep: Ethernet or FireWire, including a poll...



    Don't think it would change much, but it already hints at the felt importance of FireWire in the Macbook.
  • vailancevailance Posts: 1member
    looks thinner the MB. and still 2 USB port only. i wish they could have increase more of it. anyway, well done apple
  • abrooksabrooks Posts: 66member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    What can you see of the icon labels on the MacBook ports if the image is blown up? Can we be sure what's being called a mini-DVI port on the MB and MBP isn't actually for a B-type USB receptacle, which would enable a USB-based target disk mode?



    Assuming it isn't a Mini-DVI (which it 100% is) then what would be the video output option on these notebooks?
  • virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... Still, the new casing -- if reflective of what Apple introduces on Tuesday -- may spur a negative reaction from both video and audio professionals looking to use the smaller MacBook as a more portable editing platform than the larger and more expensive 15-inch pro unit....



    This is kinda like saying that the new MacBook might disappoint the small group of users that want to use it to slice bread with or are going to be disappointed that it won't come in brown.



    The MacBook is an entry level laptop with the biggest rumour for it this year centring around the possibility that the price point might start below a thousand dollars. Anyone who thinks the designers should base some of their design choices around the tiny group that want to use it as a portable video editing platform are just stupid.



    Sure it will edit video and sure you can use iMovie on it for your home movies, but it's never going to be a pro video editing tool and it's stupid to think that it is. I work in an all mac environment where huge amounts of movie making goes on and the majority of the cameras are USB nowadays or use DVD's to record onto. The majority of movie making is done on iMacs.
  • futurepastnowfuturepastnow Posts: 1,772member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by abrooks View Post


    Assuming it isn't a Mini-DVI (which it 100% is) then what would be the video output option on these notebooks?



    It's too small to be Mini-DVI, which is larger than a USB port (Google some pictures). It's also the wrong shape to be Micro-DVI (like the Macbook Air uses). It has the display symbol next to it, so it must be something new. Hopefully something that supports dual-link.
  • sierradragonsierradragon Posts: 17member
    Hopefully Apple will (finally) again make a small sized Macbook Pro available. Then folks with high-end needs perhaps just need to stop wanting to use lowest-end boxes.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    What I don't understand about this article is where the auther is seeing a FW800 port between the USB and Ethernet port.



    And what the heck in the taped up port hole and the round hoe to its left.



    One this is for certain, Apple will going to for a the screws to be only on the bottom of the case, which will give it the appearance of a more solid looking design.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by abrooks View Post


    Assuming it isn't a Mini-DVI (which it 100% is) then what would be the video output option on these notebooks?



    One of the picture angles make it undoubtedly a Mini-DVI* port on a 15" MB.





    * Full disclosure: Yesterday I was adament that it was a 4-pin 1394a (FW400) port based on the available image, which did not show the bottom bevel needed for the correct Mini-DVI connector.
  • jayinsfjayinsf Posts: 6member
    There's some question about FireWire's future just because Apple didn't provide both FW400 and FW800 ports? Ridiculous!!!



    FW800 is fully backward compatible with FW400. And given that FireWire is a fully peer-to-peer system, there's no need for a 'hub' like you need with USB to be able to connect multiple devices. Pretty much all FireWire devices include a second (or third) FireWire port to allow the user to daisy-chain devices. It's pretty much only video cameras that don't have an additional FireWire port, and that's understandable given the usage model for video cameras.



    With the superior performance of FW800, there's really no need for multiple ports on the computer. The one 800 megabit per second port can handle pretty much all your I/O needs. FW800 is overkill for a single disk drive. It is extreme overkill for a video camera. FW800 can comfortably handle the I/O bandwidth for multiple drives simultaneously. Just plug 'em in.



    Keeping a FW400 port on the MacBook (Pro) was rather pointless. It takes up space and provides no value other than allowing users to keep using an older existing cable they might already have.
  • rawheadrawhead Posts: 89member
    Personally, as a consumer grade customer, I don't mind FireWire being phased out from Macbooks. I haven't bought a FireWire peripheral in a couple years now because it became clear to me that Apple themselves consider having "lost" the battle to USB2 (and 3) in the consumer arena and are phasing away from it --- case in point, all the iPods shifting over completely to USB. I also don't mind the fact that I won't have to worry about having different cables for different peripherals.





    However, as someone said, Target Disc Mode is very useful, and I can't see Apple removing FireWire and thereby removing the ridiculously easy to use migration tool that we've all come to rely on whenever we upgrade our machines. So I'm guessing they will be introducing target disc mode via USB with this new release, if indeed they're doing away with FireWire. If not, them I'd be bummed ;-p
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sierradragon View Post


    Hopefully Apple will (finally) again make a small sized Macbook Pro available. Then folks with high-end needs perhaps just need to stop wanting to use lowest-end boxes.



    I would love one, but a 12" or smaller notebook just just doesn't when you use a 16:9 screen ratio unless you r main goal is to watch video
  • cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JayInSF View Post


    There's some question about FireWire's future just because Apple didn't provide both FW400 and FW800 ports? Ridiculous!!!



    FW800 is fully backward compatible with FW400. And given that FireWire is a fully peer-to-peer system, there's no need for a 'hub' like you need with USB to be able to connect multiple devices. Pretty much all FireWire devices include a second (or third) FireWire port to allow the user to daisy-chain devices. It's pretty much only video cameras that don't have an additional FireWire port, and that's understandable given the usage model for video cameras.



    With the superior performance of FW800, there's really no need for multiple ports on the computer. The one 800 megabit per second port can handle pretty much all your I/O needs. FW800 is overkill for a single disk drive. It is extreme overkill for a video camera. FW800 can comfortably handle the I/O bandwidth for multiple drives simultaneously. Just plug 'em in.



    Keeping a FW400 port on the MacBook (Pro) was rather pointless. It takes up space and provides no value other than allowing users to keep using an older existing cable they might already have.



    I think you missed the part where there isn't Firewire of any kind on the 13" MacBook.
  • ltcommander.dataltcommander.data Posts: 327member
    I think the taped port looks like an eSATA port. It would explain the reduction in Firewire ports.



    If it is eSATA I hope they go with one of those hybrid eSATA/USB ports. That way they'll have 3 USB ports even in the 15" MBP.
  • kspenkspen Posts: 4member
    Maybe the covered slot is for a SIM card for 3G data?



    Maybe HDMI for the new rumored Displays....or will they have the wireless HDMI?



    It appears that there is a spot for the eject button.



    Maybe a spot to hide the remote? Not likely
  • danieljvdbergdanieljvdberg Posts: 5member
    The port on the left corner is obviously a MagSafe connector.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,522member
    Seriously guys look closely at these cases and the only possibility for battery placement. It seems obvious that these machines are going to have one big ass battery. Either that or they are going to new technology with respect to energy storage.



    I bring this up for a couple of reasons. One the spy shot that implies a full length battery. New tech for batteries being announced and made ready for a major computer and cell phone company. Finally Apples boost about new products not being touchable by the competition.



    Since nothing has really cropped up to indicate that there is other tech going into the laptops to fill the innovation and sprint ahead role I'm thinking it has to be that big allocation of space for a battery that will separate these machines from the competition.



    Silver - Zinc anyone?





    Dave
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