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New Mac mini lacks optical drive as Apple continues to ditch the disc

post #1 of 166
Thread Starter 
For the first time ever, Apple's new Mac mini models, released on Wednesday, lack an optical drive for CDs or DVDs, as the Mac maker continues to move away from physical formats like discs.

Apple boasted in unveiling the new Mac mini hardware that the systems were "designed without an opitcal disc drive." The company noted that the Mac mini can access optical drives on other PCs and Macs, and also works with the MacBook Air external SuperDrive accessory.

While the new Mac minis lack optical drives, they did gain Apple's new high-speed Thunderbolt port, allowing it to connect to high-performance storage devices, RAID arrays, and the new 27-inch LED Thunderbolt display.

Apple began to move away from optical drives in its Mac lineup in 2008, when the first MacBook Air was released without any built-in disc reader. But the Air remained a relatively niche product in Apple's lineup until 2010, when the product was redesigned to be thinner and lighter, and was expanded to screen sizes of both 11.6 inches and 13.3 inches, all at a lower price.

For those who bought last year's MacBook Air, the notebook came with a USB reinstall drive for its built-in Snow Leopard operating system. Its inclusion eliminated the need for any optical media to restore the system.



Apple is moving away from legacy formats in favor of digital downloads, and is pushing its own Mac App Store as the default way to obtain software. Apple's new operating system upgrade, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, launched on Wednesday exclusively on the Mac App Store.

To further encourage users to obtain Lion from the Mac App Store, Apple revealed on Wednesday that it will charge twice as much for customers to obtain the upgrade on a USB thumb drive. The new version of Mac OS X will be available on a thumb drive for $69 in August, and for the first time ever the operating system will not be sold on a disc.
post #2 of 166
Unsurprising.

I have a question about the new display in relation to the mini: Will you get 2 separate ethernet ports when you connect the new display to the mini? I imagine yes, you do. That is pretty cool. Also gives the Air a real ethernet port now.
post #3 of 166
Dropping the optical drive will allow them to overhaul the form factor. It will be interesting to see which direction they take this in.

Is this the first time they've had a Mac with a dedicated graphics card for under $1000?
post #4 of 166
The beauty of the external Superdrive is you only need one, to share among all your Macs.
post #5 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The beauty of the external Superdrive is you only need one, to share among all your Macs.

So they removed the optical drive, and the price stayed the same?

I could understand ditching it on notebooks, but ditching it on a desktop machine that is already uber tiny to begin with seems ridiculous to me.
post #6 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The beauty of the external Superdrive is you only need one, to share among all your Macs.

If you need one at all.
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #7 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The beauty of the external Superdrive is you only need one, to share among all your Macs.

Well, booo on the lack of an optical drive. I guess I will be buying a refurb as I still use my optical drive quite often. I really don't want to add on almost $100 to the price of the Mac Mini just to have an optical drive.

In what way is this a good thing? I am okay with the lack of an optical drive in a laptop, but a desktop system????

Now people MUST buy a superdrive to install Windows with Bootcamp...or did Apple remove that as well?
post #8 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

So they removed the optical drive, and the price stayed the same?

Don't you know...it is a great deal!!! Don't think about the details!!!
post #9 of 166
I cannot find specifics on this, but does the new Mac Mini come with a flash drive for OS install or are you completely reliant on the Mac App Store?
post #10 of 166
Awesome! The optical drive needs to die completely. Smart move Apple!
post #11 of 166
The last time I used a disc drive was to rip a CD I bought from a street performer a year ago. Remote disc worked just fine.
post #12 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

In what way is this a good thing? I am okay with the lack of an optical drive in a laptop, but a desktop system????

For what reason do you need an optical drive?

Quote:
Now people MUST buy a superdrive to install Windows with Bootcamp...or did Apple remove that as well?

Come off it. And you'd use the remote installation app for that.

But the purpose of selling Macs isn't to run Boot Camp, so that's hardly any argument.

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #13 of 166
So, why not make this Apple TV? Why have different hardware for this?
post #14 of 166
No Mac Mini drives but "..the Mac mini can access optical drives on other PCs and Macs".
Cool.
Look at my new Mac, can I bogart your drive?
post #15 of 166
Well, the one thing I would be looking for now is a Blu-ray drive of compatible form factor and reduced price for the Mini.

I am not really sure I like the move at this point, since there are still many optical discs that I find myself using, but maybe I am just in a small dwindling market segment?
post #16 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by delete View Post

No Mac Mini drives but "..the Mac mini can access optical drives on other PCs and Macs".
Cool.
Look at my new Mac, can I bogart your drive?

Mac mini requirements: computer with optical drive
post #17 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by sambira View Post

So, why not make this Apple TV? Why have different hardware for this?

Making the Apple TV out of iPod Touch parts let them make it very very cheap.
post #18 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by sambira View Post

So, why not make this Apple TV? Why have different hardware for this?

Thanks for trolling, come back again when you're better at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

I am just in a small dwindling market segment?

Mhmm.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #19 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

For what reason do you need an optical drive?



Come off it. And you'd use the remote installation app for that.

But the purpose of selling Macs isn't to run Boot Camp, so that's hardly any argument.

1. Some people only have one computer. Kinda hard to use remote disc without a second computer. So now the Mac Mini requires either a superdrive or another computer entirely to do the same thing its predecessor did?

2. Windows cannot be installed via remote disc

3. OS X has the built in capability to run Windows so, yes, it is a problem.

I never stated the purpose of selling a Mac was to run Bootcamp. That was NOT my argument at all.
post #20 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

I cannot find specifics on this, but does the new Mac Mini come with a flash drive for OS install or are you completely reliant on the Mac App Store?

Okay, found it. Lion will be available sometime in August on a flash drive which can be purchased from the Apple Store for $69.00
post #21 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

2. Windows cannot be installed via remote disc

Could you install Windows on your Boot Camp partition using vmware + remote disc, then uninstall vmware, unmount the remote disk, reboot in to Boot Camp, and install the correct drivers?
post #22 of 166
This really sucks for everyone who wants their Mini to be an HTPC.

I (like many others) need my mini to have an optical drive to watch DVDs from Netflix. I wanted to mount my new mini on the wall below my TV to look super sexy but now I'm gonna have a superdrive dongle hanging off the side. Yeah right!

This is terribly dissappointing... but at least I don't have to spend cash on a new mini...
post #23 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

So now the Mac Mini requires either a superdrive or another computer entirely to do the same thing its predecessor did?

Tech changes. That's how it goes.

Quote:
2. Windows cannot be installed via remote disc

Could have sworn it could be.

Quote:
3. OS X has the built in capability to run Windows so, yes, it is a problem.

I'm confused how this is any sort of argument.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #24 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by sambira View Post

So, why not make this Apple TV? Why have different hardware for this?

Because Apple TV is $99....
post #25 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

So they removed the optical drive, and the price stayed the same?

I could understand ditching it on notebooks, but ditching it on a desktop machine that is already uber tiny to begin with seems ridiculous to me.

No, the price went down, they used to start at $699.

I like the lower price, but I'm one of those dinosaurs that needs an optical drive. Then again, I can buy one for $40 bucks, so whatever.
post #26 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

... In what way is this a good thing? I am okay with the lack of an optical drive in a laptop, but a desktop system????

Now people MUST buy a superdrive to install Windows with Bootcamp...or did Apple remove that as well?

Only if the mini is the only computer in the house. Otherwise you can use the optical drive of any Mac on your home network.

Besides, this is what you should expect for being so cheap. You are using the cheapest computer Apple makes and you are running two OS's on it. I bet you are running on minimal RAM and have a VGA BenQ monitor attached to it as well.

The only thing cheaper would be switching back to Windows and buying some awful windows box that will last all of a year before it blows up or needs to be upgraded. Maybe that's your future.
post #27 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by sambira View Post

So, why not make this Apple TV? Why have different hardware for this?

Because despite what you might think from reading tech forums, only a very tiny minority of Mac mini purchasers are going to use them as a connection to the TV for media serving. The number one use is desktop computer, followed by server. The hobbyists are much further down the chain.
post #28 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by ort View Post

No, the price went down, they used to start at $699.

I like the lower price, but I'm one of those dinosaurs that needs an optical drive. Then again, I can buy one for $40 bucks, so whatever.

Ahh, OK. Thanks!
post #29 of 166
Maybe this is a silly question, but I was considering an iMac and now wonder if the Mac Mini may be more cost effective. Aside from the gorgeous display, how does the Mac Mini compare to the iMac in terms of performance? I have a 24" Dell monitor that's still working great. Is the iMac that much faster? What about the video cards? Would an app like xplane be far far superior on the iMac vs the Mini?
post #30 of 166
Not having an optical drive is tough imo. DVDs will be hanging around for years to come. One can be an external one, but that destroys the aesthetic, no.
post #31 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

For what reason do you need an optical drive?

We run a large theatre program in the Seattle area. All of our shows are sold to the students on DVD so that they have a memory of their production. How do we distribute these 80-100 purchases? Using DVD's of course. What other method is there?

I see a need for the DVD to be around for a little longer than Apple is forcing on everyone.

Final Cut Pro X ---- Don't even get me started on that one!!!
post #32 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

1. Some people only have one computer. Kinda hard to use remote disc without a second computer. So now the Mac Mini requires either a superdrive or another computer entirely to do the same thing its predecessor did? ...

Except you are leaving out the part where the new one is hundred dollars less than the old one, and that you can buy an optical drive to attach to it for .... a hundred bucks.

So ... crisis, what crisis? Tempest in a teapot fuelled by ignorance is all.
post #33 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Well, booo on the lack of an optical drive. I guess I will be buying a refurb as I still use my optical drive quite often. I really don't want to add on almost $100 to the price of the Mac Mini just to have an optical drive.

In what way is this a good thing? I am okay with the lack of an optical drive in a laptop, but a desktop system????

Now people MUST buy a superdrive to install Windows with Bootcamp...or did Apple remove that as well?

Apple knows best. How dare you question them....
post #34 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

For the first time ever, Apple's new Mac mini models, released on Wednesday, lack an optical drive for CDs or DVDs, as the Mac maker continues to move away from physical formats like discs.

Ok who's gonna say it... ooh it looks like it'll be me then... The Mac mini bundled with Snow Leopard Server lacked an optical drive. So that phrase "For the first time ever" needs to go!
post #35 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Could you install Windows on your Boot Camp partition using vmware + remote disc, then uninstall vmware, unmount the remote disk, reboot in to Boot Camp, and install the correct drivers?

This assumes the ownership of a second computer. I know it can be done with a disc image and parallels. You idea sounds solid as well. But you need a second computer and I actually know several folks who only have one system.
post #36 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

Not having an optical drive is tough imo. DVDs will be hanging around for years to come. One can be an external one, but that destroys the aesthetic, no.

Nope. Spinning discs are dead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by circling View Post

We run a large theatre program in the Seattle area. All of our shows are sold to the students on DVD so that they have a memory of their production. How do we distribute these 80-100 purchases? Using DVD's of course. What other method is there?

I see a need for the DVD to be around for a little longer than Apple is forcing on everyone.

Final Cut Pro X ---- Don't even get me started on that one!!!

And you seriously burn every single DVD on a Mac Mini? Really?

Buy a tower disc duplicator, for heaven's sake. Alleviate your headaches. No computer needs an optical drive.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #37 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Only if the mini is the only computer in the house. Otherwise you can use the optical drive of any Mac on your home network.

Besides, this is what you should expect for being so cheap. You are using the cheapest computer Apple makes and you are running two OS's on it. I bet you are running on minimal RAM and have a VGA BenQ monitor attached to it as well.

The only thing cheaper would be switching back to Windows and buying some awful windows box that will last all of a year before it blows up or needs to be upgraded. Maybe that's your future.

So, you assume I am cheap and not:

1. a student, who needs a computer

or

2. poor, but still needs a computer

or

3. BOTH

To answer your rather rudely stated questions:

Yes, I am running Snow Leopard and Windows 7 (student giveaway) on 2GB of RAM. No, my monitor is a 17' NEC Multisync LCD 1770GX (about 4 years old). I had a Windows machine that I built back in September of 2006, which I gave to a student friend who needed a computer after I bought my Mac Mini. That "awful Windows box" still runs beautifully after 5 years of heavy use.

Stop being such a rude jerk.
post #38 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Now people MUST buy a superdrive to install Windows with Bootcamp...or did Apple remove that as well?

Um, no. Even MS has had Windows 7 USB install capability since 2009.

Who wants to install from DVD anyway??? The DVD needs to die! Why take a car across country when you can take a plane?
post #39 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Nope. Spinning discs are dead.

And you seriously burn every single DVD on a Mac Mini? Really?

Buy a tower disc duplicator, for heaven's sake. Alleviate your headaches. No computer needs an optical drive.

Sorry for the confusion... We don't use mini's to create these disks... I was thinking about the students that buy the disks. If a student gets a new mini, then they have to spend more money to see their show.
post #40 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheinside View Post

Um, no. Even MS has had Windows 7 USB install capability since 2009.

Who wants to install from DVD anyway??? The DVD needs to die! Why take a car across country when you can take a plane?

What part of "some people only own one computer" doesn't make sense? If that one computer were the new Mac Mini, then HOW would they make such an install USB drive without a optical drive or easy access to another machine? If the Mini had an optical drive so that I could make the install USB drive...then I wouldn't need the USB drive.

Why drive instead of flying?
Afraid to fly, get sick when flying, cheaper to drive, etc.
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