In the past year it’s been more of a wish than a claim that can be backed up with solid evidence. However, Apple is in a position to kill off the optical drive in a very anticlimactic way to which I say “off with its lens!”
No Optical Drive Means A Slimmer, Lighter Mac
Say the day comes when Apple starts phasing out the optical drive — which would come with protests as it should from those who use discs — what would it mean for the Mac? Steve Jobs has said that Blu-Ray is a bag of hurt, and Apple doesn’t seem likely to incorporate it any time soon considering the heavy push on iTunes.
It would mean a slimmer Mac. Look at the MacBook Air, it needed every last inch of space it could grab to achieve its thin design and long battery life. There would be a lot more space for Apple to expand the battery give the smaller MacBook Pro more wiggle room for extra chipsets. Not only could space be better utilized but the overall weight of the machine would be reduced which is sure to entice Apple.
However, he benefits would be greater on the MacBook line than the iMac or Mac Pro but the Mac Mini could have the optical slot occupied by an extra Hard Drive – oh wait, it already does.
The Mac App Store — Another Means To Kill The CD
There are a few reasons why I’m against optical drive, the biggest being they’re becoming useless in today’s download everything world. Aside from pirates, the biggest proponent of downloading media is Apple and 2011 will be have another potential nail in the optical drive’s proverbial coffin: The Mac App Store.
January 6th will be the App Store come full circle in the form of the Mac App Store. Creating a central hub for developers to promote their Apps is one thing but giving them them everything they need from hosting to an audience of millions? Is there any need to keep the optical drive in for much longer when almost any App you can install on your Mac can be downloaded through the Internet?
Dead And Dying Media
What happens once the death of the optical drive comes to fruition? For one, this prediction will be correct and I’ll be sure to bring this post up again. More importantly, nothing. The MacBook Air received some backlash for the lack of an optical drive despite a $100 (then reduced to $80) add-on but sales haven’t plummeted because of no optical drive. Consumers understand the MacBook Air is meant to be an ultraportable Mac shaving weight and thickness wherever possible. It’s a compromise that gives us the MacBook Airs we know today.
Consumers will understand the trade-off of having no optical drive in their latest MacBooks but the pros far outweigh the cons. Besides, I’d rather pay for the add-on if needed and have a slimmer, lighter Mac that can pack more power than a Core 2 Duo.