Apple has left the FireWire cable out of the box with its latest iPod models and the majority of Macworld readers voting in this week's poll are not happy with Apple's decision.
Almost half – 43 per cent – think that the company is wrong to penalise Mac users with the omission of the standard FireWire cable.
Another 30 per cent think that Apple should continue to promote FireWire rather than USB. Apple has always been the force behind the FireWire standard and many think leaving out the cable is a crazy move indicating to peripheral manufacturers that Apple has lost its faith in the standard.
Nearly a quarter of readers (23 per cent) think that the omission is understandable – if it keeps the price down – and a tiny 3 per cent of the 1,315 readers voting says: "Who needs FireWire anyway?"
USB – not me too
The main reason for concern about Apple's move is the fact that USB 2.0 has not been standard in Mac's for very long. This means that many Macs that were purchased in the last two years do not have a USB 2.0 port.
One reader comments: "I think all this shows is that, as often of late, Apple missed the boat on an important technology. If the company hadn't dragged its heels for so long over USB 2, and had added it to all shipping Macs when many Windows PC manufacturers were taking it on board, this question wouldn't even be being asked.
"The problem now is that USB 2 is, absurdly, a relatively new technology in Macs; therefore, many Mac users are likely to buy an iPod, not realise they only have USB 1 and then sit shocked at how long their iPod takes to fill."
One reader is in exactly this predicament. He explains: "I bought the USB 1 eMac days before Apple announced the USB 2 version. That was just 10 months ago."
Another reader writes: "iPods are made by Apple, Macs are made by Apple so the automatic expectation is that any new iPod will work with any Mac recent enough to have been part of the target market when the iPod was launched."
Apple's decision to switch its emphasis from FireWire to USB 2 has surprised many Macworld readers, and one thinks it is likely to confuse peripheral manufacturers. What is the future for FireWire, he asks. "Whatever reassurances are given that Apple is not abandoning FireWire, I can't believe that this won't send a powerful signal to manufacturers of peripherals."
Others can't understand why Apple would stop using the technology that it claims is superior to USB 2. Many believe that FireWire is far superior. One writes: "My USB cable is just sitting in the box. Why in Heaven's name would I ever choose to use USB, when I have FireWire?"
Another adds: "It used to be the case that the Mac user got the best iPod experience. They now have to pay a little more than PC users to get that better experience."
Making a saving
Not everyone is negative about Apple's decision to switch its focus on connecting the iPod via FireWire. Some feel that the removal of the cable enables the company to decrease the price of the popular music product.
One notes that even if Mac users wish to pay the extra for a FireWire cable they are still better of than they were. "If you look at the new iPod minis and iPod Photos, you can factor in the extra £15 for a FireWire cable and still end up with a cheaper, better iPod than you could have got before the update." But he adds: "Of course I can afford to be a little smug with regards to this matter; my Mac supports USB 2."
Another suggests that Apple should offer a cheaper FireWire cable though, "£15.00 is a bit cheeky," he notes.
One reader suggests that there is some good in the decision. He writes: "It is quite a green approach not to have 95 per cent of your purchasers throwing a cable away."