This episode of John Siracusa’s podcast with Dan Benjamin is one of the best takes on Steve Jobs’ resignation that I’ve heard yet, with an extremely well thought-out view of what the post-Jobs Apple will be like.
One of my favorite parts is in minute 53, in which John is discussing how we’re likely to blame any future missteps on Jobs’ absence even if they could have plausibly happened under Jobs, as Jobs’ Apple wasn’t infallible. John cites the premature1 removal of the FireWire port on the 13” unibody MacBook:
Say that same move happens with Jobs not there. Everyone’s going to say, “If Steve Jobs was here, they never would have done that,” or “If Steve Jobs was there, they would have done it and stuck to it.” Well, Steve Jobs was there. They did it, it was wrong, and they reversed it. It’s going to be really hard to distinguish things that are happening that look like they wouldn’t have happened under Steve Jobs. Every time one of those things happens, we should think back to things that have happened when he was there and say, “Is this so different?”
Removing FireWire saves more than a few cents for the physical port and interface: since FireWire devices can pull up to about 8 watts of power from the bus, the laptop’s power circuitry must accommodate that possible draw. And in a modern Apple laptop, 8 watts is a lot.
This also might inhibit Thunderbolt-to-FireWire adapters: I can’t find any definitive sources (please tell me if you know), but it looks like Thunderbolt’s maximum supplied bus power is slightly lower than FireWire’s. If so, a Thunderbolt-to-FireWire adapter would inconveniently require its own AC power adapter. ↩︎