Monday, 14 April 2008

So long DVD, bye-bye Blu-Ray

Remember when the Apple dropped floppies and introduced USB on the original iMac? The launch of the MacBook Air could augur a similarly bold and radical move.

Mac Predictions thinks that the time might be right for Apple to drop optical drives from all their notebooks, in order to reduce volume, complexity and cost. The launch of the MacBook Air may just have been a start, to test the waters. Apple likes to be bleeding-edge with their design decisions. The original iMac was not just influential in its use of colorful transparent polycarbonates in consumer electronics - Apple’s abandonment of ADB in favor if the then new USB invigorated an entirely new category of USB peripherals, and the rest of the industry eventually followed. At the time, people scoffed that the iMac had no floppy drive, but what self respecting PC manufacturer ships machines with them today?

So it seems altogether plausible that Apple would be the first computer maker to kiss the optical drive goodbye. It would be a fitting coda to the resolution of the whole HDDVD/Blu-Ray nonsense, and what fun for Steve Jobs to present Sony with such a hollow victory!

Of course, it wouldn’t do any harm to sales of movie rentals and downloads on the iTunes Store either…


  1. and what will you use to install osx if none of your computers have an optical drive? flash drives?

  2. Agreed - unlikely that Apple would abandon optical drives from all Macs - I was predicting they'd be dropped from notebooks, so you could still use a desktop Mac to install OS X if you have one (as per the Air). Otherwise, you'd need an external optical drive. In the future, I agree that Flash drives would be a good solution, as Apple moves to selling software for Macs via iTunes.

  3. I think the DVD and Blu-ray discs' days are very much numbered, but I don't think that WiFi or Ethernet downloads will become the sole means through which we access content.

    Small USB drives could easily replace DVD discs. I would much prefer to buy software available on a USB memory stick than DVD disc. I don't care what system I use, but I insist on being able to buy and store programs and other data on some form of physical memory device. I think most of the rest of the world probably agrees with that too.

    So, who knows, we may see a Solid State Drive memory device that's the same size as a credit card and just as thin; or maybe some other as yet unknown technology will come along. One thing is for certain, though, and that is memory formats will reduce in size as soon as the pace of technology allows.