Print 40 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Dec 5 at 11:16 PM

PhotoFast GM2 SFV1 Air
Apple pulls an "Apple" when it comes to third-party SSD upgrades for the MacBook Air

We wish that we could say this is shocking news, but when it comes to Apple's rabid defense of its products, it's par for the course. According to 9 to 5 Mac, Apple has forced PhotoFast to cease production of its SSD upgrade for the latest MacBook Airs. In fact, the product page for the SSD has also been taken down.

9 to 5 Mac reports that PhotoFast is a member of Apple's MFi licensing program which allows it to make accessories for Apple products. Apparently, Apple threatened to give PhotoFast the boot from the program if they didn't comply with its request.

What makes Apple's move even more strange is that the PhotoFast SSD upgrade -- like the Toshiba SSD that comes in all of the new MacBook Airs -- uses the industry standard mSATA connector and not a proprietary Apple connector (like the 30-pin dock connector found on iOS devices).

The PhotoFast GM2 SFV1 Air makes use of the SandForce SF-1200 controller and offers maximum read speeds of 250MB/sec. It was to be made available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities. The company also made the ingenious move of including a USB 3.0 thumb drive "shell" so that customers wouldn't be wasting the stock SSD once removed from their machines.

All of that appears to be for naught now that Apple has voiced its opposition.

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Stop production?
By plewis00 on 11/30/2010 7:09:25 AM , Rating: 4
As it uses an mSATA connector (which to my knowledge Apple don't own the licence to), why can't they continue to manufacture it but stop branding it as a 'MacBook Air' upgrade part? Let's face it, anyone who knows how to upgrade a MacBook Air will know that this part is compatible without having to read the marketing stuff.

I can only think they want to stop them making this because it would imply the existing MacBook SSD isn't fast enough (and being a SandForce SSD convert myself I would agree).

RE: Stop production?
By mmatis on 11/30/2010 7:39:49 AM , Rating: 2
As I read it, because Apple will pull their MFi certification if they do so.

RE: Stop production?
By plewis00 on 11/30/2010 8:39:58 AM , Rating: 2
So could Apple make manufacturers stop producing SD cards, ExpressCards or generic RAM which fit into their laptops by threatening to remove their MFi approval?

This is simply an mSATA SSD, the fact it fits into a MacBook Air seems pretty trivial as it will also fit other laptops that accept the mSATA specification (not sure there are any out there yet). Surely removing the marketing that links it to the MacBook Air would appease Apple?

What are Apple so concerned about though? If you want one of these SSDs, you'll already have laid down the cash for the MacBook Air, it's not like you get a discount on the MBA or Apple lose out if you purchase this SSD - in fact having a fast SSD option would surely tempt buyers put off by a slow drive. Seems very backwards if you ask me...

RE: Stop production?
By XZerg on 11/30/2010 8:59:33 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't this a big enough reason for the government to hang and sue the bejesus out of Apple for anti-competitive nature? Geez there is something really going on here given government has still not waken up to this bullshit Apple is allowed to pull over and over again.

RE: Stop production?
By SpaceRanger on 11/30/2010 9:39:53 AM , Rating: 5
The government is too busy playing with their iPads. They won't do anything for this (as usual).

RE: Stop production?
By sprockkets on 11/30/2010 3:07:01 PM , Rating: 2
They have. Remember that FTC probe? It wasn't out of the kindness of Steve's heart that they allowed Google voice and other development tools back in.

RE: Stop production?
By fleshconsumed on 11/30/2010 9:09:36 AM , Rating: 2
"So could Apple make manufacturers stop producing SD cards, ExpressCards or generic RAM which fit into their laptops by threatening to remove their MFi approval?"

Well, this is what they're doing. They cannot actually stop anyone from manufacturing those accessories, there is no legal ground, but they can revoke their MFi if they do not comply, meaning all those products will not have "made for apple" label anymore which can be pretty catastrophic on sales.

RE: Stop production?
By Smilin on 11/30/2010 10:01:25 AM , Rating: 3
That is anti-competitive behavior that harms the consumer. I believe this makes it illegal under the sherman anti-trust act.

RE: Stop production?
By mmatis on 11/30/2010 3:11:04 PM , Rating: 2
"Illegal" is only illegal if the Government chooses to do something about it. If Apple has provided enough backdoors into their products, it should get pretty clear fairly soon. No prosecution means that Uncle is getting something they want to keep.

RE: Stop production?
By brshoemak on 11/30/2010 8:03:35 AM , Rating: 5
I'm sure the legalese of their contract is murky at best, but this issue seems to parallel the Intel-AMD-vendor debacle where Intel leveraged financial penalties for using AMD chips to strong arm their vendors into altering their making business decisions.

I know there are differences, but it's pretty ridiculous either way. Apple is trying to cut off an unrelated avenue of revenue for another company for the simple reason that they don't like what the company is making.

RE: Stop production?
By BarkHumbug on 11/30/2010 9:26:24 AM , Rating: 5
Or, they don't want anyone else to cut in on their profitmargin for the SSD upgrade option.

RE: Stop production?
By omnicronx on 11/30/2010 9:49:24 AM , Rating: 2
They probably make other Apple accessories and don't want to lose their certification..

RE: Stop production?
By Steve W on 11/30/2010 10:20:05 AM , Rating: 3
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Apple does not make any products with USB3?

Clearly this product is not "Made for Macintosh".

Reason #351 why to never buy a Mac
By FXi on 11/30/2010 6:21:47 AM , Rating: 4
Kind of funny when that company that touts such a pro consumer position in the market reveals it's true nature isn't it?

RE: Reason #351 why to never buy a Mac
By gmw1082 on 11/30/2010 7:05:37 AM , Rating: 5
I thought Macs and upgrading were always mutually exclusive.

RE: Reason #351 why to never buy a Mac
By AssBall on 11/30/2010 8:45:01 AM , Rating: 4
That's right. You don't upgrade Macs, You buy a new one immediately when it is released.... DUH.

RE: Reason #351 why to never buy a Mac
By XZerg on 11/30/2010 8:50:34 AM , Rating: 3
You don't upgrade Macs because "It just works" and "They are magical". You only buy new one because the Almighty Steve Jobs waved his magical hands around it, not because a new hardware came out or you need it.

By Dennis Travis on 11/30/2010 8:07:48 AM , Rating: 2
I really like most of Apples products and have been a large supporter of OSX and Macs for years, yet this really bothers me. I think that would have been a nice upgrade for the Air. Too bad. I am sure they have their reasons, But.....

Maybe it's the Upgrader (I love building and repairing computers) in me talking, but I don't think banning this was a smart move.

RE: Sad
By Shadowmaster625 on 11/30/2010 8:53:11 AM , Rating: 2
The reason is simple... they dont want you to have a use for your old SSD.

RE: Sad
By mydogfarted on 11/30/2010 10:13:06 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, not sure what to think here either. Considering the link posted to the 9 to 5 story doesn't work, I'm smelling some biased BS and clearly some information we're missing on this.

RE: Sad
By Old Man Dotes on 11/30/2010 12:11:49 PM , Rating: 4
This sort of deliberate dick-waving by Apple is the reason I stopped being a huge Apple products fan. As a computer professional, I am constantly asked what computer/smartphone/tablet/media player to buy. I stopped recommending Apple several years ago because of their rabid anti-competitive position with the iPhone/iPod and they have continued to prove that I am right. Out of all the people who consult me, only two have ignored my advice. One is deeply regretful and a lot poorer, and the other is a lot poorer but not regretful. He also runs out and buys every new gadget he sees advertised on TV, and has no clue how to use 90% of them; he's the perfect consumer.

Where's Tony?
By DigitalFreak on 11/30/2010 7:58:38 AM , Rating: 5
Where's Tony Douche, er.. Swash?

RE: Where's Tony?
By Pirks on 11/30/10, Rating: -1
RE: Where's Tony?
By Tony Swash on 12/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: Where's Tony?
By Smilin on 12/1/2010 11:51:54 AM , Rating: 2

Pirks you are my favorite Troll on all of the internet. I cannot help but like you.

By sprockkets on 11/30/2010 8:08:45 AM , Rating: 5
I just want to clarify our position on this. We are banning the sale of these drives because my Macbook Air is already perfect.

- Steve

Sent from my jailbroken iphone

By smilingcrow on 11/30/2010 6:51:58 PM , Rating: 2
As each year takes us further from 1984 the irony of Apple running the famous Super Bowl ad for the Macintosh gets deeper. They should try running that ad again in the Apple boardroom to remind themselves how much they’ve lost the plot.
Heil Stevie.

RE: 1984
By Smilin on 12/1/2010 11:54:17 AM , Rating: 3
Quiet proll! stop your crimethink and bellyfeel that jobs is doubleplusgood or joycamp for you!

256MB capacities
By wordsworm on 11/30/2010 8:13:34 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't even know they made them that small any more.

RE: 256MB capacities
By Golgatha on 11/30/2010 8:49:32 AM , Rating: 2
Nice catch!

By mgilbert on 11/30/2010 9:39:12 AM , Rating: 3
Just one more example of Apple's arrogance. I'll never own anything they make. And anyone foolish enough to buy something from them will get what they deserve - an overpriced, dead end product...

Take MFi...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/30/2010 4:14:04 PM , Rating: 1
..and shove it up your ass, Steve.

Let me understand this. You accept me into the program and give me permission to produce devices for your shitty Macs. One can only assume that, at some point, someone from Apple approved of this SSD or at the very least knew about it long before it was ready to go to retail.

Then without warning, and for no reason given, I'm told to stop making the SSD and that if I do not comply, I'll be kicked out of a program who's sole purpose is to allow me to make things for you in the first place!

Given that scenario, why would I want to stay in MFi then if I'm not actually allowed to make things? I'm already out millions of dollars, and who knows how much more in potential sales. Seems like Apple isn't holding up their end of the bargain.

Something about this is so wrong, down to it's rotten core. No wonder there are very few peripherals available for Apple products. What hardware vendor would want to put up with this kind of bullshit?

RE: Take MFi...
By Belard on 11/30/2010 9:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps.... its time for developers to walk away. But the apple user base is large enough to always attract business.

By Lerianis on 12/5/2010 11:16:52 PM , Rating: 3
For an 'uncompetitive actions' lawsuit against Apple.
Anyone else think that too?

If it was Microsoft or even say... Dell, Toshiba, etc. doing this, the FCC would slam down on them like a 2 mile diameter meteor going 3000 MPH!

Not only for Mac
By Jeremy87 on 11/30/2010 6:47:12 AM , Rating: 2
Had planned to put this into my custom built ultra compact computer which can't fit another 2.5"...

By ZaethDekar on 11/30/2010 7:08:27 AM , Rating: 2
Thats all I can say.

I do like Mac products for what they are, but I will never buy one. Let me keep the PC a personal customization instead of a clone.

By damianrobertjones on 11/30/2010 7:45:36 AM , Rating: 2
...and yet, people keep buying Apple products.

I understand the decison from one point of view but from another it's pure idiocy.

Either way, this is pointless as the standard consumer never gets to know these things and buys regardless (Heck, everyone I know didn't even know anything about the iPhone 4 signal problem)

By BZDTemp on 11/30/2010 1:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
But hey - Apple is a big company and behavior like this is what put companies like Microsoft and IBM in trouble.

Sell it...
By erikstarcher on 11/30/2010 3:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think PhotoFast should sell the drive design to someone else that doesn't have to worry about Apple and their MFi license. Than what would the All Mighty do?

By Silver2k7 on 12/2/2010 3:06:24 AM , Rating: 2
Someone I know wanted to buy an Apple computer,
I asked why.. cause they are better than a PC.
ok what is it that's better about the Mac ??

Answer: *Well I dunno, they just are*
Me: Uhmm ok.

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