Apple's Nano says no to FireWire

Support for FireWire in the iPod, already waning, takes a further blow with Apple's newest music player.

Apple's tiny new iPod Nano uses the same dock connector as its larger iPod and iPod Mini brethren. However, try plugging in a FireWire cable and an error message appears: "FireWire connections are not supported. To transfer songs, connect the USB cable provided."

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Credit:Ina Fried

In a pinch, a FireWire cable can be used to charge the Nano, but you won't be able to update your tunes or podcast list.

The move is the latest in a series of slights to FireWire, a connection method that Apple helped pioneer and later made standard across its Mac line.

The original iPod was FireWire only, with USB 2.0 support added some time later to enhance its appeal to Windows users. In recent years, Apple has supported both types of connection on both the iPod and iPod mini lines, although the company stopped including a FireWire cable in February. The iPod Shuffle, meanwhile, has a built in USB connector, its only means of charging and transferring music.

Apple did not explicitly state a reason for excluding FireWire on the Nano. Presumably, the company wanted to save the expense of supporting both USB and FireWire, as well as any power and space cost to including both connections.

It's a bummer for folks like me that have an older Mac that has a FireWire port, but only a slower USB 1.1 port. To Apple's credit, the Nano's incredibly small size and good looks might just make it worth suffering through slower downloads.

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