Originally Posted by Half Nelson
Ok, so I get that the thing is $100 cheaper, but I have always felt that the Mini was priced just a bit too high. I know you can get external drives (i have an external BR hooked up to my iMac), but I do understand the feeling of those miffed by the exclusion of an optical drive. I fully get it on a laptop machine, but just don't understand it on the desktop. Last years model of the Mini, they offered with an OD (the standard model), and without(the server version). Why couldn't they have continued the same system, and just allow the those who want the server chassis (space for two drives) to order it with the non-server version of OS X.
I agree. The server version obviously had little need for an optical drive so the exclusion on that model always made sense in favor of a second HDD, but on the consumer version it still made sense. While Apple has pretty well killed the audio CD via iTunes a lot of people still watch video DVDs. There are still a lot of films not available to download legally online. If that weren't the case Netflix wouldn't still have so many people subscribed to a DVD plan. Physical discs are certainly on their way out and most people agree that by the end of the decade that DVDs will largely be phased out, but I think dropping the optical drive is a bit premature for Apple particularly on a machine that a lot of their users liked as a HTPC.
I will agree that very little software gets installed off of discs anymore, but until iTunes, Netflix, etc. have largely shuttered production of video DVDs I still see a lot of interest in an optical drive on a consumer computer.
I like the hardware upgrade, but I think that they are going to hear a lot of complaints about the elimination of the optical drive and telling people that most software is online isn't going to assuage them as that isn't going to be their complaint.