When Apple releases a Windows compatible version of the iPod next month, lots of Wintel users will have to buy a special FireWire add-in card, about US$50, for their system to use the digital device, according to a Reuters
The author, Ben Berkowitz, said that while FireWire offers “the lightning-fast data transfer speeds necessary for swapping big music data files,” the newest version of USB, USB 2.0, now a feature of virtually every PC made,” will offer connections every bit as fast. He goes on to praise USB 2.0 for being backward compatible with the plethora of USB 1.1 devices on the market. Of course, what Berkowitz fails to mention is that FireWire is expected to soon hit speeds of 800 Mb/sec — and offer even better performance in the months ahead.
Both the FireWire standard (technically known as IEEE 1394) and the new USB 2.0 connector offer data transfer rates in excess of 400 million bytes per second, far faster than current USB and other peripheral standards, Berkowitz writes. He also quotes Dick Davies, spokesman for the 1394 (FireWire) Trade Association, as saying that, “nobody really wants to set these two specs against each other.” And Jason Ziller, chairman of the USB Implementer’s Forum and a technology manager at Intel, told Berkowitz that he thinks both standards will co-exist.