Originally Posted by Bruce Young
Yes. And I believe part of Apple's error with FireWire was, as I recall, charging a licensing fee to install a FireWire port, which manufacturers did not wish to pay (since the USB port was lower/no cost).
Yes that was a huge mistake especially when compounded with the fact that you had to buy Fitewire interface chips. Even now it is impossible, to the best of my knowledge, to buy a microprocessor / microcomputer / SoC with Firewire built in. With USB I can find dozens of microprocessors with free built in USB ports. The point is the buy in is easy no matter if you are building a computer or a device to hook up to it.
It certainly wouldn't of hurt Apple to sponser a few micro processor development projects so that cheap chips with Firewire built in would become available. I'm actually surprised they didn't work out something with TI as the have the Firewire chip and a reasonable embedded business.
(I used to have some notes about that... not sure where now though... probably on one of my several FireWire drives... ahh here it is... )
Initially $1 fee per port, then lowered to $.25 per computer that used FW, then later (somewhen) reduced to free. But by then momentum was already over in the USB camp.
Exactly! Even more important than the cheap ports on the PC is that USB became widely available for embedded ICs. Thus within a few months the market had all sorts of USB devices. Everything from a mouse to a weather station. Sure these where not high performance devices but that is part of the point, Firewire was and is expensive to implement relative to USB. Especially for low end hardware.
(had they licensed FW for free from the start, rather than trying to make it a profit center - well history would be different ... )
Somewhat different! They still would have had a hard time overcoming USBs low cost advantage. There is a huge advatage for devices that sell in the hundreds of millions and cost little to produce. FireWire would have needed integration into a number of microprocessors to even come close to what we get from USB right now. Even today Firewire really only stands a chance on the more expensive pheripherials.
I agree - the obsession at Apple (whomever's it is) with their computers having to be thin, thinner, thinnest has resulted in a lot of compromises (IMO). Hotter devices because of less air flow, that long stretch of limited optical drive options, fewer ports (though that may also be the 'they don't need to connect anything' mentality). I guess my issue with many of their design decisions is that it seems they are not making computers for "the rest of us" (as they used to advertise) but mostly for their own aesthetics and minimalist ideas.
Not to make excuses here but part of the problem is that they compressed the model line up some time ago when they had no choice. Frankly Steve saved the company and dramatically turned it around by doing so. That was some time ago and things are indeed ripe for a change. Even though the economy is supposedly in a tough situation right now they really need to think about the rest of us and our varied needs. That means a midrange Mac and a reworked Mini.
While long in the tooth I don't see the Mini as a bad machine or concept but it does need a little rethinking for some of the more current usage patterns. That means use a real disk drive in the thing so that reasonable capacity can be had cheaply. Sure that means a slightly larger housing but that could then make room for desktop RAM. We aren't talking blowing out the devices size but rather making it just big enough for that 3.5" drive. Going nVidia ought to make room for common RAM.
Where Apple is really hurting is with the midrange hardware. Well actually it doestnt have anything headless. Ideally this would be a machine for those that need a bit more than a Mini on the desktop. This Guy should be no more than $1100 and include slots and disk drive slots.
Thus the Macs frequently have less ports, less connectability options. I know this is just my opinion and others may disagree.
One can't disagree with the facts of port allotments. Sometimes I'm not sure if it is thinness or power allotment. For example each USB port requires budgetting for at least 500 milliamps of current. This impacts power supply and motherboard design. I don't want to call Apple cheap but other than trying to be green I don't see the rational.
Only reason I mention this is that these trends seem to me to be some of the reasons that Apple Macs have not had as strong a market growth over the decades as i have wished (since the Mac is, after all, my more preferred computer...).
Part of Apples problem is that they have only recently gain respect in the larger community which is important to sales. For a long time their very survival was questioned. It is certainly a recurring theme at Apple though. The first Mac Mini was way to short on USB ports, the laptops for the most part could use one more with the exception of AIR which was and is a huge joke. The problem with Apple is where do you go for alternatives.
So I look forward to a time when maybe Apple does start designing 'for the rest of us', and starts to make them easier to connect with the many peripheral devices (HDs, cameras, video/audio, etc) that many of us have and use.
Hey you can connect any device you want one at a time!
Seriously though I've been a long time promoter of more USB ports on Apples hardware. For many of us it is the right solution. Only recently though have I come to realize that Apple apparently does not see it that way. I really believe that Apple wants to become more network centric and wants us to graze with the rest of the flock. It will be interesting to see how it works out over the years.
Thus bringing my comments full circle to hoping that the new Mac Mini and iMac have FireWire built-in, full speed HD, good optical drive built-in, lots of connectability options built-in (not by using some after market dongle adapter). One can always hope.[/QUOTE]
Well one can also make their desires known at Apple. They need to know that for most people AIR was and still is a mistake. There is no good excuse for that machine. They need to know that doing to the desktops what was done to MacBook is not acceptable! Further they need to know that we want them to go forward with the newest release of ports like Firewire. So speak up.
Now don't think that that will do any good for machines coming next month as those have already been validated for production. Rev B might be impacted though. In any event I'm not willing to say that MacBooks lack of Firewire is a trend. I still think it was just a way to pay forban expensive case. We will know shortly.