Apple VP Greg Joswiak has defended Apple's decision to stop shipping a FireWire cable in the box – a move that has received criticism as it is seen as a tax on Mac users.

Joswiak told Cnet: "There is no doubt that USB 2 is the proper common interface of choice."

He added that Apple would continue to support FireWire as an option.

Surprise shift

The company's decision to remove FireWire cables from the box surprised many as Apple has always been in firm support of the standard that they helped found.

IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian thinks there are two main reasons for the shift. She told Cnet: "It used to not be possible to recharge the device via USB. They've been wedded to FireWire for a long time because it allowed them to charge (the iPod)."

The other issue is cost. She said: "It's more cost efficient to ship with one cable rather than two, and USB is more broadly supported on both platforms. FireWire, it ships on some PCs, but not the vast majority."

Out in the cold

However, many Macs do not include USB 2.0 ports so the move has riled Mac users. An online petition has already collected 2,561 signatures, calling for Apple to bring back FireWire.

The petition addresses Apple stating: "We, as dedicated users and supporter of your hardware and software are completely dismayed at your recent decision to discontinue standard FireWire support for the iPod music player line. As the innovator of FireWire, it seems wholly irrational to remove it from the people who provide the support, promotion and word of mouth "advertising" that provides your company with the millions of "switchers" you want each year, free of charge.

"Computers your company manufactured less than a year ago had no USB 2.0 support. We know, go buy the $20.00 adapter cable. It is very unfortunate that you have left your faithful out in the dark on this one and we ask that you put FireWire cables back in iPod packaging."

On camera

Joswiak also revealed more details about the iPod Camera Connector.

He told Cnet that the connector is a small white plastic device similar in appearance to a small docking station. It has a cable for connecting to the iPod and a USB port for connecting to a camera.

Pictures loaded onto an iPod directly will be able to display immediately on the iPod. But for the photos to be shown on a TV, the iPod Photo will need to be connected to a Mac or PC first.