This is the website of Neil McDougall, a musician/blogger/podcaster/bookie from Ayrshire.

My Mac Dilemma

Here’s the deal- thanks to the overwhelming success of my ‘Siri Answers The Ultimate Question‘ video on YouTube, and YouTube inviting me into their video monetisation programme, I have managed to squirrel away a few quid.

Subsequently, I’m quite fancying getting a 27″ iMac. The only thing that’s holding me back now is- do I buy now or wait until the forthcoming Ivy Bridge model refresh?

Under most circumstances, that would be an easy question to answer- ‘wait’. The new iMacs will be coming out in the summer at the latest (providing Intel don’t drag out the release of the new Ivy Bridge architecture any longer), so just hang fire and get a better machine for the same cash (or maybe even less).

There’s one potential fly in the ointment, though- my newly-purchased Presonus Firestudio Mobile, a multi-channel professional quality FireWire audio interface. I have to imagine that it’s a distinct possibility that Apple might phase out FireWire on a new iMac model, given the following factors-

  • The fact that less and less gear is using FireWire. How many prosumer or consumer-level digital cameras or camcorders are using FW these days? Not many, I’ll warrant – even high-end DSLRs have USB connectivity. As far as audio gear goes, it seems like most of the stuff launched at NAMM this year was either connected via USB or 30-pin for iPad.  I think the only major Firewire audio doohickey I personally saw coming out of NAMM this year was the new Universal Audio Apollo interface, and that has an optional Thunderbolt connection (If anyone knows of any other new Firewire audio gear coming out soon, feel free to correct me in the comments).
  • The fact that Sandy Bridge will incorporate USB3.0 into the core chipset, which could lead to Apple finally incorporating it into a Mac, as the lack of Intel chipset support for USB3 was apparently one of the factors holding Apple back from adopting the standard.
  • Firewire’s an old standard, with no direct, backwards-compatible successor on the cards, unlike USB3.  Apple isn’t shy about ditching what’s obsolete, sometimes even before people widely think it’s obsolete (hell, the original iMac was one of the first examples of this).

Now, there’s Firewire-to-Thunderbolt cables in the works, but I’d be hesitant to use them given that Firewire audio interfaces are notoriously picky about what type of Firewire chipset they’re working with (generally the Texas Instrument ones are considered to be the best).  I’d need to wait and see how they turn out.

*Sigh*…I dunno.  Do you?  Feel free to leave comments and give me your thoughts.

Edit: Well, it’s 23rd October 2012 and Apple finally launched new iMacs.  With no Firewire.  Fuck.  At least Apple does TB-to-FW adapter cables now, but between that and running my 1080p monitor out of the other TB port, it means I couldn’t run any other Thunderbolt peripherals if I wanted to…maybe time to go down the Hackintosh route?

This entry was written by NeiloMac, posted on February 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm, filed under apple, geekery, life, Mac, musings, tech and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


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