There has been some talk over the weekend about why Apple hasn’t yet moved to adding Blu-Ray drives to its computers. Some seem to think that now that the “format war is over” that Apple should be saddling into the Blu-Ray bandwagon (which they originally committed to at the start of the Blu-Ray format) and sticking them on every Mac.
I can’t really understand this way of thinking for 2 reasons.
1) The format war isn’t over.
2) Another disk format really seems to go against Steve Job’s vision of the future.
Let me explain both points, then feel free to call me an idiot.
On the first point, the format war is FAR from over. In fact, it’s kind of like our current political elections here in the US. (keep those emails to yourselves folks, we’re not getting political here, it’s just an example) The current race between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama is very much like the format war between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. The winner between the two doesn’t become the president (or the dominant disk format) it simply earns the nomination from its party to go up against the other party’s representative.
In the case of the format wars, I’m talking about DVD being the other party. Now that Hi-Def nominees have been reduced to one candidate its time for the actual format war to begin.
DVD and Blu-Ray have a long battle ahead of them, and really, what we’re talking about now is whether Blu-Ray will have time to take over the Disk market before digital downloads eliminate them both. Frankly, with upscaling DVD players these days, I have a very hard time justifying the extra cost for a Blu-Ray disk. I have a 52 inch HDtv with 1080i, and I just can’t see that much of a difference. I know some people can, but I can’t – and I have no reason to upgrade at this time.
Sure, Blu-Ray is a great storage medium for professionals to keep large amount of data on, but you can already buy a Blu-Ray drive for your Mac Pro (or almost any Mac for that matter) right here. Apple making the move to install those from the factory for you would be a good move, I guess, but hardly a big deal. The real deal will be if Apple ever installs Blu-Ray drives into notebooks – which I seriously doubt they will in the near future…if ever.
Steve Jobs has a vision for the future. It’s called the Macbook Air. Sure, the current model is kind of slow, and seems to freak out TSA, but rest assured, that Mac is what Jobs would like to see for all notebooks in the future. No optical drive, minimal ports, and 90% of the data coming in over wi-fi. The Macbook Air, to me anyway, seems to be almost a mission statement from Apple that the future doesn’t have an optical drive in it.
What would be the reason for a Blu-Ray drive on a Macbook or Macbook Pro? One would be to watch movies. Well, we all know that Apple would rather you get your movies from iTunes. Whether we ultimately will or not is another article entirely, but that’s what they’d like to see. As long as DVD is outselling Blu-Ray so heavily there is no reason to fear anti-trust litigation, and Apple can pursue the digital download future it wants.
Macbook Pros are a little different. That same professional that is wanting a Blu-Ray drive for storage on a Mac Pro, may also want it for when he or she is out in the field. That’s a good reason for an installed Blu-Ray drive right? Well, sure it is – but, again, looking at the Macbook Air, Apple has no problem with you carrying around an external drive if you absolutely have to have an optical disk.
Then there’s the disk vs. hard drive argument. Why would a creative professional bother carry around 50gb Blu-Ray disks when he or she can carry around a 500 GB portable external drive for (way) less money than the cost of a current Blu-Ray drive?
It’s not that I think a Blu-Ray drive in a Mac is a bad idea. I don’t have anything against it. It just doesn’t look like Apple is in a hurry to head that way, and when you think about it, it’s not really that hard to see why.
At least, that’s what I think. What about you?