I’ve had a happy time with my 816 cx for quite few years now ( Mac). I agree that It’s time for SB to prove themselves to be serious hardware manufacturers and support devices well past their sell date. It’s true FireWire is on the decline, though any new Mac with Thunderbolt will support it, and USB 2/3 is the clear choice to ensure hardware compatibility, so it makes sense for SB to adopt USB on new interfaces. But there’s thousands of users out there with existing FW interfaces, on existing hardware who want to continue using their devices for the life of their computers… Say another 5 years.
However the question is not whether SB will do the right thing… It’s whether Yamaha will. They develop the hardware and if you’ve had any experience with Yamaha audio tech you know that they ‘move on’ at the drop of a hat. My experience is that they are very uncommunicative and that even higher level representatives ( outside of japan ) don’t seem to know what’s really going on. As a sister company maybe SB get listened to ? Though my recent visit to Yamahas booth at AES in New York made me wonder if anyone at Yamaha knew what a Steinberg was!
To be honest I’m surprised 816 support lasted this long… There’s still a good chance that we’ll see driver updates for new OS revisions and if we do, it will show that there’s a desire to create a professional ecosystem of hardware that can be relied on to perform over a reasonable timeframe. However I can’t envisage any new 816 functionality being implemented. That is out of Yamaha’'s range!
So why did I get the 816 in the first place? For one thing really… the integrated control of direct monitoring which is otherwise impossible on a Mac. I cannot stand the intrusion caused by multiple monitoring interfaces and all the muting etc needed to achieve latency free performance while I’m recording. I’m hooked on it now, so when my 816 inevitably stops working ( I have other work that relentlessly pushes me forward with OS upgrades ) I’ll look at the USB models. The price points are falling so that a new interface every two years seems reasonable! Though maybe an Apollo could lure me away, latency be damned!
Of course I hope SB twist Yami’s arms to get new driver support for a few more years … they have their name on the box and the reputation is theirs to win or lose.