Death Of The Optical Disc?

by Da'Von B.

Seeing Apple strip the Mac Mini of it’s optical drive raised quite a few questions mainly, is this the death of the disc? Not to be overly dramatic but look at the state of media consumption, you can purchase and download games on the XBox 360, Netflix will continue to grow (and a competitor is greatly needed and likely to surface), and music continues to be downloaded to MP3 players that can connect to cars, so the actual question could be posed as, Will Apple lead the way in the death of the disc? Some Pro users could see this as an issue, but film production will eventually be done over high speed networks where footage is already stored on portable hard-drives (some indie film production is done on set with a lot of stable portable toolsets). And it’s very possible that the Blu-Ray consortium didn’t expect the rise of Netflix to be so significant which could also explain why Apple didn’t want to bother with placing a Blu-Ray drive in any of its macs though of course there were other reasons, but this could be one of many. The argument could be made that though digital streaming is popular now, some movies just aren’t offered immediately on Netflix, but to counter that they are offered to rent and purchase on iTunes. It’s not hard to imagine that Apple sees the optical drive as a fossil waiting to get rid of it, remember OS X Lion is (for the moment) a download only option through the Mac App Store, Adobe released Photoshop Elements for $20 less than the physical copy in the Mac App Store, and other major publishers are jumping on board. It’s not hard to imagine that 2012 will show Apple releasing a new line of MacBook Pro’s that could be sans SuperDrive mixing them in or simply unifying the MacBook lineup, a new line of iMac’s excluding the SuperDrive as well leaving the Mac Pros which could also ditch the SuperDrive leaving them as a build to order option. To be fair not too many people would probably miss the optical drive and are looking forward to seeing it go away. Its possible that the Mac Mini was just a precurser to what Apple’s grand vision could be, simply announcing the death of the optical disc, thanking it for the innovation that has been ushered in by it and letting it go into the peaceful abyss of the cassette tape (sorry for the dramatization), it won’t be surprising to see PC manufacturers jump on the bandwagon of such actions with Microsoft’s impending Windows 8 App Store.