In our recent reader poll, Macworld readers have demanded Apple bring out more models featuring the DVD-R SuperDrive. The Pioneer-built combination drive reads and writes CDs, reads DVD-ROMs, and authors discs that will play in standard domestic DVD players. This new drive was voted for by 48 per cent of the Macworld readers who had to choose between seven different new technologies that Apple should select.
"Fast FireWire is cool, but still expensive when it comes to products. DVD-R will capture the public's attention, and grab new customers," one voter commented.
"The SuperDrive gives Macs prestige. This is the kind of 'value-added' product that takes the fight to PCs on price/features/performance," explained a reader.
"Apple always seems to have lacked slightly in the bundled drive department - a SuperDrive in every machine would make many more people take notice," said one DVD-R supporter.
But a price realist stated that: "Only complete idiots would vote for the SuperDrive - Apple could never sell a machine if the bottom-of-the-range iMac cost £1,600. Wise up!"
One Macworld reader knows, first-hand, the trials and tribulations of new technologies in new machines: "I bought a dual-G4 a few months ago - before you could get a SuperDrive AND dual-processors - and it was the hardest decision I've ever had to make!"
Keep the FireWire burning The second-most desired technology was 800Mbps FireWire, which is currently under development. Apple invented the original 400Mbps FireWire that is standard on all Macs, but few PCs. It is the industry standard connection on digital camcorders from companies such as Sony (which calls FireWire, i.Link). An impressive 29 per cent wanted this FireWire 2 as soon as possible.
Intel is proposing its own 480Mbps USB 2.0 as a FireWire beater, but this has so far failed to impress digital-camcorder manufacturers. However, 8 per cent of the voters would like Apple to keep its eyes on this technology that will undoubtedly succeed today's USB – used on Macs and PCs.
"USB 2.0 was dead before it ever came to market. Apple is wise in completely ignoring it," said one FireWire-supporting reader.
Drive time Keeping to today's technologies, 4 per cent of voters were keen for more Macs to include internal Zip drives. At present, 250MB Zips are options on the Power Mac range.
Picking up the scraps of the tech votes – each with 3 per cent of the vote - were full take-up of Gigabit Ethernet, which also offers 100BaseT networking speeds, and a standard DVD-ROM drive.
Amazingly, as many people wanted Apple to go back to offering 1.4MB floppy drives with Macs. Fans of the floppy drive, pointed out that adding it back to the Mac would make Macs more compatible with PCs. One wag suggested a return of the 5.25-inch floppy.
Other desirable technologies for Apple to consider are, in the opinions of Macworld readers: DDR SDRAM; standard MIDI port and native MIDI I/O support; and more powerful graphics cards.
"Broadband means nothing without fast throughput. Gigabit and a broadband partnership with a two-way satellite IPS and video confrencing software is what we need," suggested another Macworld reader.
New poll Apple takes to the road at the end of September, with its only European show in Paris. Last year's Apple Expo Europe was decried by many attendees as "too French". Apple hasn't properly exhibited in the UK since 1996, scuppering many attempts at the very last minute.
However, the company's new UK and European management does seem to be warming to the idea of exhibiting at a UK show again – possibly as early as this November's MacExpo.
So our new poll asks: "Should Apple show off its Mac goodies in: Paris; London; or both?"
Don’t forget: you can view results of earlier Macworld polls.