Apple is giving away software to help peripheral manufactures add FireWire ports to products.

FireWire Reference Platform 1.0 can be used by manufacturers to add the high-speed port – also known as IEEE 1394 Serial Bus – to third-party and electronics products, including digital cameras, set-top boxes, televisions, and music systems.

The technology comes from Apple's April acquisition of Zayante.

FireWire buyout At the time, Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering Jon Rubinstein said: "By acquiring Zayante, Apple is extending its commitment to FireWire as the premiere, high-speed digital-interface solution.

"FireWire is the best technology to connect digital devices that need to transfer lots of data quickly – such as transferring an entire CD from your Mac to your iPod in seconds."

Speaking of the software release, Rubinstein said: "What we're doing is allowing people to save significant time and money."

FireWire Reference Platform 1.0 is based on Zayante's "TNF" software, which is designed to run on multiple embedded and real-time operating systems, and provides a rich collection of FireWire services. The core services provide bus management, configuration, transactions, and real-time transfer, generic to any FireWire device.

The free FireWire give away is in response to increasing competition from rival interface USB 2.0, observers say.