BLOG: Why musicians shouldn't buy Apple's new MacBook

The omission of a FireWire port is a big mistake

As the dust settles on the launch of Apple's new laptop range, one thing is becoming clear: if you're a musician, the new MacBook could be best avoided.

It saddens me to say this – the new machine looks beautiful and has several benefits – but the lack of a FireWire port is a major bugbear.

For me, buying a new MacBook simply wouldn't be an option, as both my audio interface and digital video camera are FireWire-only devices. Investing £1000 in a computer that wouldn't work with two of my key peripherals would be madness.

This is going to be an issue for many existing Apple users who were thinking of 'upgrading', but music-making newcomers should think twice before buying Apple's new MacBook, too.

Yes, you could use a USB 2.0 audio interface – there are now plenty of these on the market, too - but you'll be limiting your expansion options. Excellent, laptop-friendly products such as Focusrite's Liquid Mix and SSL's Duende Mini are also FireWire-only – do you really want to prohibit yourself from using these in the future?

"My advice to musicians who want an affordable Mac laptop would be to go for the white MacBook."

So, what's the solution? If you must have one of the latest Apple laptops, you could buy a MacBook Pro (this does still have a single FireWire 800 port) but with prices starting at $1999/£1399, this isn't going to be an option for many.

This being the case, my advice to musicians who want an affordable Mac laptop would be to go for the white MacBook – this is now available for £719/$999 and actually has a more powerful processor (2.1GHz) than the cheapest version of the new model.

It might not look as nice as the machine that's superseded it, but it does have FireWire.

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