||Orange Micro, who some of us fondly remember as the provider of parallel printer interface cards for the Apple II series, and more recently the OrangePC line of Windows compatibility cards, announced their line of HotLink FireWire products at this week's MacWorld Expo.
Until this point, the only folks who had access to FireWire were the lucky owners of the professional G3 desktop machine, aka the Blue and White G3. But this new line of products brings the promise of FireWire, also known as IEEE-1394, to both Mac and PC owners.
For the uninitiated, FireWire is an interface that should have come out if the inventors of SCSI had to do it all over again. It is fast (400 Mb/sec) and eliminates the need for setting an ID, possible ID conflicts, termination, and other horrors of SCSI.
The HotLink product line consists of the PCI FireWire Card, FireWire PC Card (PCMCIA), FireWire Hub, FireWire Repeater and FireWire/SCSI Converter. All products are advertised to work on both the Mac and PC Platforms, except for the FireWire/SCSI Converter.
The Mac Observer Spin: These products will no doubt help push FireWire into the mainstream for both Mac and PC users. This is important for the proliferation of this standard which is important for not only Mac users, but Apple's position as a technology leader.
Unlike USB which Apple adopted after the Wintel world, FireWire was adopted first by Apple. In order to see the same kind of support for FireWire products on the Mac as their is for USB, FireWire will have to become at least an alternate standard on the PC side.
There are other factors of course, FireWire has already made lots of headway in the digital camera/video market. With this kind of support from some of the largest consumer electronic firms, Apple does have a great leg up on the path to universal FireWire acceptance. In the meanwhile, it is Mac companies like Orange Micro, MacTell, Newer Technology, and VST who are leading the charge. For a list of most of the current shipping and announced FireWire products, check out this list from Apple's web site.