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MacFive: Oct 19: Top News of the Week

MacFive™ for this week looks at the what we view as the top 5 most important stories breaking in the Macintosh or Apple news world. For October 19 we review Apple’s Cocoa-based Finder in Snow Leopard, the state of FireWire and the new MacBooks, a Greener Apple and Apple’s amazing market share gains

No. 1: All Cocoa Finder in Snow Leopard – Could Mean end of Carbon Libraries for Developers

Those familiar with Adobe’s recent CS4 news involving the Mac version learned that Adobe had to pick its battles in what to bring to the Apple platform. After CS3 was completed Adobe planned on implementing 64-bit support to both Windows and Mac but Apple instead pulled the plug on its planned implementation of 64-bit Carbon APIs (application programming interfaces), the technology ISVs (independent software developers) tap into when writing applications for specific platforms. This forced Adobe’s hand. No 64-bit support for CS4 on the Mac and a necessary long-haul conversion of over a million lines of code from Apple’s Carbon technology to Apple’s newer and preferred Cocoa technology.

This tale makes a nice backdrop to this week’s MacFive™ news story on AppleInsider regarding an all new Cocoa Finder in Snow Leopard, the next version of Mac OS X. It helps explain, perhaps, Apple’s decision to abandon 64-bit support in Carbon. And, aside from the fact that a new Finder in Cocoa may portend to many nice new speed-ups on the Mac, it also may force the hand of Mac CAD and 3D developers who have been lingering around the Carbon farm too long.

No. 2: Dear FireWire Where Art Thou…?

Apple introduced stunning new MacBooks this week — really the high-point of the week for the tech world. These machines are gorgeous and have Nvidia’s newest innovative graphics technology onboard. But what they don’t have is FireWire — at least not on the lower endMacBook model. This has angered many Mac fans, as InfoWorld reports.

“Think of FireWire as USB, but rather than running at 12 megabits-per-second it’s running at 400 megabits-per-second,” said Jobs when he introduced the first Macs with FireWire ports back in 1999 at MacWorld Conference and Expo.

So what is the real big deal in this Apple decision? Is Apple moving away from an industry standard it originally created and help get started? And a good one at that…?

My guess is probably not. The new MacBook Pro includes a FireWire 800 port. As do many other Mac models. But dropping FireWire from the top-selling and popular MacBook means three things that hurt customers today:

  • No. 1 – No more Target Disk Mode (TDM), which is used by Apple’s Migration Assistant, a very handy way of setting up a new Mac with an old Mac’s info.
  • No. 2 – Sorry about that digital camcorder folks…. Yes, for many customers FireWire is their way from their miniDV cam unit to iMovie.
  • No. 3 – No more FireWire over IPv4 – essentially a computer-to-computer network which can be established over FireWire (I believe TDM essentially uses this).
Many users will feel that someone’s head should role for this one. But my gut tells me nobody at Apple other than Jobs himself would dare make this move.
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