Apple has a magical way of making my 6 month old computer feel SEVERELY outdated when it announces new products. “This laptop is 2.x5 time faster than the last one, with double the battery charge, and three times the battery life. And the new monitor displays colors you have only DREAMED of.”
That feeling lasts mere minutes, because after the dazzle they get to the nitty gritty and mention specs. Then I am quite happy that I bought the previous model computer.
For example, I bought the Powerbook G4 when the MacBook Pro was first introduced. Sure, it was INTEL and it was FASTER…but my Powerbook had a PCMCIA slot with many supported adapters, including the ability to import P2 directly on the machine. That was huge. But one thing that Apple did when they introduced the MacBook Pro (first revision) was to DO AWAY with firewire 800. That’s right, these new computers DID NOT HAVE Firewire 800. Well, here I am with three G-Raids, all FW800 and all with DVCPRO HD footage. FW400 wasn’t really fast enough for my needs. That was a really odd decision. Especially since they have lately dropped FW400 from the later models of the Mac Pro line and ONLY included FW800.
Another example is when I bought my wife a MacBook. 4 months later the new one came out, and that one did away with firewire ALTOGETHER! Gone! The ability to edit video on the consumer laptops…gone. No way to injest DV or HDV (Apple claimed that people are now shooting with tapeless cameras that are all USB anyway, so they don’t need firewire). Did they forget that you need a separate hard drive to store the media on? Oh, wait, with iMovie you don’t as they use the highly compressed Apple Intermediate codec. Still, the cheap platform for people to start editing, with their EXISTING DV and HDV cameras (who upgrades cameras every 4 years? Who isn’t rich that is…).
Well, let’d jump ahead a little. Today at the World Wide Developers Conference Apple announced a lot of new products. One of them was a new MacBook (odd since they just released a smaller revision just a few weeks ago)…and in their great wisdom they added the firewire port back. YAAAY! Now we can…
Wait, what? What about the PRO line? The MacBook Pros? Well, let’s take a look. Cool, they added an SD card slot, right where…where…
Wait, where is the Express34 slot? Gone? Are you kidding me? GONE? What? They replaced the EXPANSION slot…one of the things that made this computer a PRO computer was the EXPANSION slot. Why? Well, it has one built in firewire port. Even if it had two (like my model does), it only has ONE firewire bus. What that means is that if you had two, both are on the same spigot. So capturing video from a camera or capture card via firewire and then trying to send that signal OUT via the other port to a hard drive is like…well…a big traffic jam. DV, HDV…this might work. ProRes? No way. With the Expansion slot you could add more firewire ports, or better yet, eSATA ports, on another separate bus and the capture video fine. So this messes up people with cameras that capture via firewire.
But who does this really effect? Who does this really TOTALLY screw over? AJA and Matrox.
The AJA I/O HD connects via firewire, no problem there. OK now…where is your media drive? Well, it WOULD be a nice eSATA drive that I would connect to an eSATA Express adapter, but that is not an option. USB? Nope, that won’t work for video…DV maybe, but not ProRes.
The Matrox MXO 2 connects via the Express34 slot. With that gone, the MXO2 is not an option. Now, the MXO2 Mini and the AJA I/O Express also connect via Express34, so they are similarly shut out.
And then there’s Sonnet with the Fusion F2. And on top of that the Caldigit.VR and the G-Raid3 and any other hard drive that connects via eSATA via the Express slot and an adapter. No more will we be able to get the impressive speeds those connections afforded us.
So now the MacBook PRO is really no longer pro when it comes to video. You are limited to firewire connections only, so this would really only work with tapeless…uh, wait. Doesn’t the Sony EX-line of cameras shoot to SxS cards, that are Express cards that fit into the old Express34 slots? Why, yes they are. OK, that’s gone. And the PCMCIA slot was done away with a while ago, so people have been using the Dual Systems adapter for their P2 and that connects via…Express34. That too, is gone. So now you have to buy SxS readers, or expensive P2 card readers, or use the cameras themselves (taking them out of shooting) to do the transfers.
Well Hell’s Bells! Now what?
Oh, you have the 17″ MacBook Pro. That still has the Express34 slot. So now you are being limited to using a HUGE computer for this, and shelling out $500 more than you might have wanted (original MBP 15″ models started at $1999), and you need a bigger backpack…and forget editing on the airplane on that cross country flight. You barely had room with your 15″ model. So Apple first forced you to use the Pro computers for higher end professional editing, now they are forcing you to use the most expensive model of the Pro line. When I started out I was on an iBook G3 with DV.
OK…the rant is winding down.
How can Apple call the 15″ MacBook Pros a PRO computer? Without expansion it is a consumer computer. That is what set aside the professional machines from the consumer line. iMac, MacBook, Mac Mini…consumer, no expansion. MacPro, MacBook Pro…expandible. That and they are really screwing their professional video partners….long time AJA partnership and newer Matrox partnership (well, re-established partnership), and this might cause them to scramble for a solution.
Or people will be limited to using 17″. All I can say is that I am glad that I have my 6 month old model.