FireWire on the new iMacs, Mac mini and Apple TV 3

There are rumors floating around now about a possible Apple event on November 10 announcing new iMacs. It started me thinking that, unlike the situation with the MacBooks, Apple should retain FireWire on any new iMacs.

The MacBook product line underwent a significant transformation on October 14. Apple elected to no longer differentiate the MacBook as a product with inferior graphics, intended for home users and students who arenit into games or video editing. Accordingly, Apple decided to achieve differentiation in other ways: FireWire, very high end graphics and screen size.

The jump from a 2.4 GHz MacBook to a 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro is US$400, a jump that many would seriously consider.

When it comes to the iMac, however, the gulf to the Mac Pro is severe. A 24-inch iMac at 2.8 GHz is US$1800. A Mac Pro at 2.8 GHz with a corresponding quality display will be about $1,900 more. Thatis a much bigger gulf and a much larger, heavier, bulkier (and sharper edged) box.The gulf is even greater for the Mac mini.

As a result, I would expect Apple to maintain at least FireWire 800 on any new iMac and Mac mini and assume that users, if necessary, will go out a buy a FW400 to FW800 connector for their cameras and external hard disks.

If Apple were to eliminate FireWire from the iMac and Mac mini lines, I would be very surprised.

High time for Apple TV 3

Speaking of the Mac mini, a new Mac mini with DisplayPort out and/or video & audio accessible via USB, would be a very nice Internet convergence box. I have heard about DisplayPort to HDMI boxes and USB to HDMI boxes, not too expensive, that could essentially replace the (or be a high end) Apple TV and become Apple TV 3.0. A remote control app, with additional features for the Apple TV 3, designed for the iPhone would also be nice.

To pull this off, Apple would have to bring some coherence to the Apple TV and Mac mini lines, bring the price points closer together, and make it clear that the Mac mini can be both a stand alone Mac as well as the new Apple TV 3. It gives Apple an "out," preserves the Apple TV 2 line, but provides a higher technology solution at a slightly higher price point.

Over at the, I wrote about just such a flexible Internet convergence device, and a revamped Mac mini/Apple TV 3 could be just the ticket.