About FireWire on the new MacBook and MacBook Pro

Well, the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros were announced today. I hate to sound like a boo-bird because there are many things to like about this latest iteration: the unibody, DisplayPort across the entire line (including the MacBook Air), better graphics chipset, easier hard drive replacement, and the larger, all-glass trackpad. Positives aside, however, there are a few things that really, really blow:

  • Glossy screen: As a creative professional, reflections are very bad. Glossy screens are a reflection magnet, which makes accurate color judgments difficult. Please bring back a matte option!
  • FireWire 800 only on MacBook Pro. No FireWire at all on MacBook: At least the MBP has a FireWire port, but the lack of one on the MacBook is truly horrible. I wouldn’t be able to import footage from my video camera nor can I get super-fast downloads from my Compact Flash cards using my SanDisk Extreme IV card reader. All of my bus-powered FireWire hard drives? Useless on a new MacBook.

Old MacBook Pro with more ports than new MacBook Pro

When we went to China to work on our documentary project, I bought a MacBook Pro (just before the early-2008 models were released). My MBP has both a FireWire 800 and a FireWire 400 port, which made capturing video and photos a snap. Can’t do this today with either new MacBook Pro or MacBook.

When Apple released the original 15″ MacBook Pro, it didn’t have a FireWire 800 port (like its 17-inch sibling). They later added one. I wonder if public pressure will cause Apple to release new iterations of the MacBook and MacBook Pro with FireWire ports. Is there enough space on the port-side of the laptops to accommodate another port? Only time will tell!

7 thoughts on “About FireWire on the new MacBook and MacBook Pro

  1. Frank

    the unibody – big deal? ok they hyped it but really – big deal.

    DisplayPort – who cares?

    easier hard drive replacement – how many people replace the harddrive in their own laptop? and what about battery concerns? larger/faster harddrives = faster drain.

    all-glass trackpad – who cares? a trackpad is pretty much a trackpad; as long as it works.

    better graphics chipset – ok, that’s the ONE real, substantial improvement from the old Macbook / Pro to the new Macbook. And with the loss of firewire, it almost gets cancelled out. No, I am not impressed with this new line.

  2. Actually, 1 FW800 is enough, because all external FW800 Drives come with both a FW800 and FW400 port, and also a cable that converts from FW800 to FW400, So it’s all the same. The only difference is that the conversion from 400 to 800 takes place in your external hard-disk, in stead of your mac. Firewire overall does not loose speed even with 10 hard-drives connected to it, so this makes sense.
    Apple is always ready for the future, because they know if one buys a macbook pro, they will at least use it for more then 5 years.( It’s not like PC users that have to upgrade their machine every year, and most of all give the user a lot more work, with virus scanners, trashy windows system, that was never ready for the market!)
    In the future all external drives available are FW800 with SATA drive inside. This makes sense. And then probably replacing the FW400 external housing with FW800 does not cost you loads of money, compared the the huge amount of speed that you gain.
    There is even FW800 External boxes that are able to use both IDE or SATA drives, at least here in Bangkok, so that means all over the world.

    I am thinking of buying one, and the longer I think there will be a new macbook pro available again, and they don’t get worse. It’s the users that get worse and demand more and more every day. It’s an ego driven world…

    Have Fun

  3. I am also 100% sure that Apple provides a cable with their lap: FW800-FW400, at least they should!

  4. I did not find a FW800-Mini-IEEE1394 (for camcorder)Cable yet. Apple should also provide those, or every user needs to first buy themselves a FW800 external drive, to be able to use the extra FW400 port it provides.


  5. Ah I got it, these cables will of course be supplied by the Apple stores for their standard high prices. Or do camcorders in the future come with a mini FW800 as well, would be lovely.
    Can I upgrade my HVX200 as well then.

  6. What I realized is that Apple creates products for the Frontrunners of our market. So the people that are ahead of time, because they are the frontrunners!

    Do you want to be a frontrunner, then you probably already have a FW1600 External Harddrive box with a 4TB Harddrive in it.

    We rush to the future, so keep up….


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