Date: Thursday, January 26th, 2006, 09:00
Contributed by: James Wiebe, CEO, WiebeTech LLC
15 months ago, I wrote a white paper which was entitled, ‘FireWire Evolution’. The paper contained a lot of information on the history of FireWire, and delved deeply into the marketing path which Apple had taken with FireWire 800.
I probably was a little too careful in my analysis; I tried not to ruffle feathers needlessly at Apple. In any case, it’s dangerous to predict the future.
This time, I am throwing caution to the wind and I will be a little more emphatic. If you are making storage decisions based on rollouts of FireWire 800 technology, your purchasing priorities are sadly out of order. Apple was the only champion of FireWire 800; a task it seemed to take reluctantly. Now, Apple is making marketplace moves that are absolving itself of FireWire 800.
One of the keen underlying technology themes at MacWorld 2006 is that Apple has begun to remove FireWire 800 from its product lineup. It was removed unceremoniously from the MacBook Pro, and I’m betting that it will soon be gone from the entire Macintosh product lineup, most specifically the desktop lineup.
No, I don’t have a secret line of communication with Steve, and I have absolutely no Apple engineers whispering in my ear. And I have no axe to grind with my own product line, because we do sell lots of FireWire 800 drive enclosures and docks every day. We also have some customers who are married to FireWire 800 technology for the right reasons and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
FireWire 800 was the right technology at the right time, but badly marred by marketing mistakes at the time it was launched. It had a viable upgrade path to even faster versions (none of which has ever happened).
So where to from here? Here’s my thoughts as to where Apple should go…