FireWire is set to be a hot topic at Macworld Expo New York as exhibitors show new products based on Apple’s high-speed hardware interface.

FireWire is gaining acceptance in the personal computer and consumer electronics markets. Currently, six million computers – half of them Macs – have FireWire connections. But 26 million PCs will have FireWire by the end of this year and 52 million by the end of 2001, according to a recent report by In-Stat, a market research firm.

Many Expo exhibitors have already announced new FireWire products:

LaCie plans to demonstrate a host of FireWire products, including a 4.7 GB DVD-RAM drive, a 12x4x32 CDRW drive, a 75GB FireWire hard drive, a 32GB PocketDrive with USB and FireWire, and a FireWire RAID aimed at DV producers.

Keyspan will demonstrate FireWire PCI and Cardbus cards for older Macs that don’t include the interface. The CardBus version works with Apple’s PowerBook G3.

The PCI version can be configured with three external ports or two external and one internal port. Both include a six-pin to four-pin connector and Apple’s QuickTime Pro software.

Orange Micro will show the Orange Converter, which connects SCSI devices to FireWire ports, and the OrangeLink+ FireWire & SCSI U2W PCI Card, which combines two FireWire ports with an Ultra 2 Wide SCSI connection. The company also plans to demonstrate the first Mac-based PCI card and hub to support USB 2.0.

Epson will show the Expression 1640XL, a new tabloid-format flatbed scanner, targeted at graphics pros, that features an optional FireWire interface.

Umax will show the Astra 6400, a new flatbed scanner for SoHo users that offers 600-x-1,200dpi optical resolution and 42-bit color depth. Its sibling, the Astra 6450, features a transparency cover capable of scanning positive or negative film up to 4-x-5 inches. Both include FireWire connections.

OnStream and Imation are both demonstrating FireWire versions of their tape drives. OnStream will show the Echo drive, which uses 30GB tape cartridges and transfers data at 2MB per second. Imation is showing a FireWire version of the Travan, that uses 20GB cartridges. It, too, offers a 2MB per-second transfer rate.