On February 24, 2011, Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro line-up with upgraded processors, RAM, graphics and more, however what stole the headlines was the introduction of a new port which is called Thunderbolt. Today we will look into the future in regards to ports for Macs and ultimately decide whether it’s time to scrap FireWire.
Currently Apple’s MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Mini offerings all feature a single FireWire 800 port (the Mac Pro has four), but if you compare functionality and transfer speeds to Thunderbolt you will see that FireWire 800’s days could be numbered. Also it’s far slower than USB 3.0 and devices are much more expensive in comparison, but will Apple decide to snub this interface in 2012? It’s a tough decision to make.
The image below shows just how much faster Thunderbolt is when compared to rival technologies, we previously explained how it’s faster than USB 3.0 and eSATA, however what’s most noticeable is just how much has changed over time and how FireWire 800 can no-longer be regarded as a fast means of transferring data.
In theory it would take FireWire 800 just shy of 5 minutes to transfer 25GB of data, however Thunderbolt has the potential to do the same in under 30 seconds. The biggest problem with both technologies is price, the Apple Store lists a 1TB FireWire 800 drive for $179.95 1TB, or a 2TB drive for $219.95, alternatively you can pay $479.95 for a 1TB Thunderbolt drive or $579.95 for a 2TB – to put this into perspective you can easily get hold a 1TB USB 3.0 drive for $115 or a 2TB USB 3.0 drive for $130. We don’t think Apple will adopt USB 3.0 – which means Mac owners will have to choose between pretty expensive FireWire devices or stupidly expensive Thunderbolt device – not much of a choice ey?
We honestly think that FireWire 800 has had a good innings and is now showing its age, snubbing the once-popular port for its 2012 line-up and dropping the price of Thunderbolt devices and cables would lessen the blow, but we’re sure that there’s enough Mac users out there with FireWire drives who would hate to hear that their ‘trusty old’ FireWire drive won’t plug into new Apple products.
As usual Apple has kept very quiet in regards to the next-generation of Mac offerings, therefore all this speculation about FireWire’s future is unfounded, we just can’t see any reason other than convenience to include it – can you?
Given the choice we’d sooner see USB 3.0 than FireWire, how about you? Want to save FireWire 800? Tell us why below!