Apple is perhaps the world's biggest backer of IEEE 1394, also known as FireWire, and has traditionally always made it a stock option on their machines. Many Apple peripherals come with FireWire connectors, and the standard was personally backed by Steve Jobs himself. Thus, it's a great surprise to see that Apple has decided to drop FireWire on their newest Macbooks.
With no real announcement, two newly introduced MacBooks, in the $1300 to $1600 price range, were released without FireWire. This has caused considerable outrage from Apple loyalists. Initially Apple remained silent on why, exactly, they decided to dump FireWire on these new machines. Very recently, however, Steve Jobs decided to comment at least to a few people.
He essentially said that the decision to remove FireWire was because most devices today come stock with USB 2.0 ports. Considering how long Apple has pushed FireWire as a superior alternative to USB, this sudden change is very interesting.