Will Apple phase out Optical drives and go with SD?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I hope so.



I don't even use the CD/DVD drive in my macbook anymore. It's just wasted space. Movies can be downloaded off the web now and music CDs are pretty much dead. So whats the point?



Apple could switch all their software install disks to an SD card. Seriously. I think that is their thinking. Or at least I hope it is. Their white macbook should get an SD slot next like the Macbook pros. And who knows, maybe they can squeeze one into the Macbook Air as well.



Sure, some people will still want the optical drive. But I think most won't miss it at ALL. Maybe some pros need to burn DVDs on the road, but most people don't. You can always use an external DVD burner. And with the speed of the internet and the "cloud" DVDs are becoming so last year anyway. :-)



I'd rather have lighter macbooks with space for other things than a huge ass slot that is just sitting there doing nothing.



Even places that rent physical DVDs....like those REDBOX kiosks....could store more movies in their booths if they were on SD cards. SD cards can hold TONS more info than DVDs.



Well....thats what I was thinking about. What do y'all think?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member
    I still see SD as being too expensive. Software delivery ( physical) needs storage that costs less than a buck.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    Didn't we do this exact same thread a few months ago? There are so many things wrong with this idea that it isn't even funny. Just because Apple has some weight in the mobile arena, and can guide the market, don't think that they can influence PCs the same way. Firewire and it's lack of adoption is proof of that. They can't even get other manufacturers to adopt Mini DisplayPort and that's a totally free standard.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    In this regard what I mean is that an optical drive makes the most sense in the larger machines and should be standard in the 17" machine for now. In the 13" machine it should simply disappear, the 15" is a toss up though.



    In regards to usage, the few time I've used the drive in my 15" MBP has been at the desktop where an external drive would be fine. Between USB sticks and flash cards I don't use the drive for much at all. More importantly for the vast majority of users I don't see the drives being used at all.



    Laptop design is a big issue too. Get rid ofoptical drive and you free up space for innovation in design. Especially the small machines which serve different needs than the larger laptops. Especially the 13" machine which could easily become an ultra mobile.





    Dave
  • Reply 4 of 27
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by regan View Post


    I hope so.



    I don't even use the CD/DVD drive in my macbook anymore. It's just wasted space. Movies can be downloaded off the web now and music CDs are pretty much dead. So whats the point?



    Apple could switch all their software install disks to an SD card. Seriously. ...



    I have no idea where you go this idea from, but you will do will to send it back. SD cards make for a very expensive replacement for single-layer DVD, a hard-to-find replacement for dual-layer DVD, and a problematic replacement for single-layer Blu-ray. SD cards cannot currently replace dual-layer or higher density Blu-ray at any price.



    As a hard drive replacement, Flash drives are expensive. However, it does have its compensations. As a CD/DVD/Blu-ray replacement, there is no business case for SD.
  • Reply 5 of 27
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    This is in fact a good example of an idea that keeps coming back. It is also interesting that different poster start the threads and the wide response from the forum. The thought expressed in these threads are the result of real needs and wants.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by infinitespecter View Post


    Didn't we do this exact same thread a few months ago? There are so many things wrong with this idea that it isn't even funny.



    What is funny is people clinging to huge optical drives in what should be compact machines. The reality is the drives waste lots of space in a laptop and the smaller the laptop the greater the amount of wasted space.

    Quote:

    Just because Apple has some weight in the mobile arena, and can guide the market, don't think that they can influence PCs the same way. Firewire and it's lack of adoption is proof of that.



    It isn't like we are asking that they drop support for optical drives, you still have USB and Firewire for that. Besides in this regard Apple would be following PC manufacture that are already dropping internal optical drives from their more innovative products.



    If we were to take a poll right now which would you think would draw the most interest. A 13" MBP in it's current form factor (with optical) or an ultra thin 13MBP that weigh half what the current one does that also has extended run time.



    The point is dropping the optical gives Apple the opportunity to innovate designwise. Frankly for the 13" MBP the need to innovate because the hardware isn't as competitive as it could be physically.

    Quote:

    They can't even get other manufacturers to adopt Mini DisplayPort and that's a totally free standard.



    I don't get why you are hung up on adopting when we are talking about deleteing. That is get rid of the Optical drive and put the space to better use. Where better could be a larger battery, space for another secondary storage device, space for an expansion card slot or anything that comes to Apples mind.



    It is pretty simple right now if I had a choice between a laptop with an Optical drive and one with two or more internal bays for storage devices I'd go for the unit with the extra drive space. It is simply more useful than an internal optical drive.
  • Reply 6 of 27
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post


    I have no idea where you go this idea from, but you will do will to send it back.



    It is a perfectly good idea that is why it comes up. Besides these response don't seem to indicate an understanding of what is being asked here. That is that optical drives be removed from MBPs, at least some of the models. NOBODY is saying that Apple should drop support for optical drives in the OS.

    Quote:

    SD cards make for a very expensive replacement for single-layer DVD, a hard-to-find replacement for dual-layer DVD, and a problematic replacement for single-layer Blu-ray. SD cards cannot currently replace dual-layer or higher density Blu-ray at any price.



    On most counts you are wrong. Either avenue you take, SD or USB stick, in the long run flash memory is cheaper simply because it can be reused many times. As to Blu-Ray disks they are under the gun right now and affordable flash devices are not that far away.



    This doesn't even get into the waste that one gets with trying to burn CDROMs and the like.

    Quote:



    As a hard drive replacement, Flash drives are expensive. However, it does have its compensations.



    Just as USB sticks and SD flash have their uses.

    Quote:

    As a CD/DVD/Blu-ray replacement, there is no business case for SD.



    Well you really blew it with that last line. At work every engineer has at least one flash USB stick hanging around his neck. Try to give somebody a CD and they look at you funny. The fact is USB sticks and SD cards are faster and far more reliable than and optical disk.



    Dave
  • Reply 7 of 27
    resres Posts: 711member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    If we were to take a poll right now which would you think would draw the most interest. A 13" MBP in it's current form factor (with optical) or an ultra thin 13MBP that weigh half what the current one does that also has extended run time.






    Aren't you describing the Macbook Air? The last time I checked it was selling nowhere near the numbers of the Macbook Pros...
  • Reply 8 of 27
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    What is funny is people clinging to huge optical drives in what should be compact machines. The reality is the drives waste lots of space in a laptop and the smaller the laptop the greater the amount of wasted space.



    Totally, 100% disagree. Looking at the HP Envy line versus the Macbook Pro (both 13 and 15") the computers aren't dramatically smaller or lighter despite using similar materials and construction with external drives. I hate to keep using this example, but when I can order a 13" Vaio with an optical drive and SSD RAID in a 3lb package, I don't see the problem.
  • Reply 9 of 27
    you don't even use the CD/DVD drive in my macbook anymore.?i can
  • Reply 10 of 27
    I've only used my optical drive ONCE since buying my macbook in the summer of 2008. and it was to upgrade to fricken snow leopard! i agree, I would rather have more room for another HD or a slimmer overall body than to have this outdated POS taking up the entire right side of my laptop. everyone downloads everything now. and although probably only Blu-ray may be the reason why I could see why some people and Apple wanting to keep optical drives due to it's ability to store lots of data cheaply and securely, Apple rarely even has Blu-ray drives on their laptops! You can put as many optical drives on a Mac Pro, i could get a rat's ass about that. But on notebooks, it's just unnecessary. It's much easier for consumers to download content off of fast internet connections as they need it than to carry around DVDs with their laptops. Leave Blu-ray and DVD to the living room dwellers. Why would anyone want to watch Blu-ray movies on a fricken tiny laptop screen anyways? What's the point? Laptops are about portability and semi-cloud computing. You can even boot from USB now. So what's the deal?
  • Reply 11 of 27
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Res View Post


    Aren't you describing the Macbook Air? The last time I checked it was selling nowhere near the numbers of the Macbook Pros...



    The problem with the macbook air is that Apple designed it so it could be "the world's thinnest notebook". Instead of being more practical, and jointly optimizing the design so that it would be the thinnest/lightest/not-the-most-expensive *cough* SSD *cough* that at the same time offered the most features/specs, they decided to only care about making the thinnest laptop with a full keyboard. I would have preferred some sort of middle ground. But Apple didn't care. It figured since everything is or would be in "the cloud", they could try to make something super thin and forsake not only the optical drive metaphor, but also HD space, battery life, ram and processor. After Apple began cutting into these crucial spaces, people became uninterested. Instead of creating something revolutionary yet minimalist *i.e. - exactly what we need and nothing more*, Apple created an expensive vanity piece of portable computing that could do little more than word processing and spreadsheets (I mean, let's be honest...). 128GB HD space max? You've got to be kidding me...



    If they had just left enough room in the body for a decent capacity, regular spinning hard-drive and filled up the rest of the space with battery and processor/ram, I think they would have a great product, and I would buy it. But that just wasn't their agenda and isn't even now. They're making way too much money on iPhones, iPods and iPads right now.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    I would happily pass on a built in optical drive as long as Apple either a) reduced the price accordingly, or b) bundled an external optical drive for the same price.
  • Reply 13 of 27
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    This would be great for the hardcore "optical drive is dead because steve says it" Macheads, but comes with a lot of risk. If they're wrong and people want that optical drive, especially for movies, it could potentially be disastrous for Apple. Remember that most of machines Apple sells are ordinary users and most of those are sold to ordinary people, not rabid Apple enthusiast.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    On most counts you are wrong. Either avenue you take, SD or USB stick, in the long run flash memory is cheaper simply because it can be reused many times.



    That assumes the user is able to reuse the SD card or USB stick for software purchases and its not shrink wrapped.
  • Reply 14 of 27
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    It's only a question of when Apple drop internal optical drives from their laptops. I'm confident it will happen with the next major redesign of the MacBook, probably in 2011. I believe the MacBooks Pro will follow sometime after that.



    The MacBook Air analogy is not apt because it involves many compromises other than the optical drive.



    I was surprised and disappointed that Apple didn't drop the internal optical drive from the MacBook when it was redesigned in 2009.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    It's only a question of when Apple drop internal optical drives from their laptops. I'm confident it will happen with the next major redesign of the MacBook, probably in 2011. I believe the MacBooks Pro will follow sometime after that.



    The MacBook Air analogy is not apt because it involves many compromises other than the optical drive.



    I was surprised and disappointed that Apple didn't drop the internal optical drive from the MacBook when it was redesigned in 2009.



    As was I. Make the Superdrive external if you must but the size of a optical drive is simply too large for today's emphasis on mobile computing.



    I'm not interested in a Macbook or Macbook Pro with 2 drive bays. OS and Apps would reside on a fast SSD and large scale storage would be on a 640GB plus 5400 rpm drive (since we're talking large scale datafiles times do not matter as much)
  • Reply 16 of 27
    momusmomus Posts: 54member
    I am from the dark ages and am currently unwilling to give up optical media. The second someone makes a 9mm slot-loading BD drive I'm slapping a SATA-to-IDE adapter on it and sticking it in my MacBook Pro.
  • Reply 17 of 27
    hudson1hudson1 Posts: 800member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    If we were to take a poll right now which would you think would draw the most interest. A 13" MBP in it's current form factor (with optical) or an ultra thin 13MBP that weigh half what the current one does that also has extended run time.



    No, you can't lighten a laptop computer 50% by removing the optical drive.



    As for others' comments about music CDs and movie DVDs being "dead", well... better look at the data. They are anything but dead. The beauty of DVDs is that every DVD player can play them. Everyone has a DVD player and it's permanently attached to their TV. It doesn't get any more convenient than that.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    trobertstroberts Posts: 702member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Res View Post


    Aren't you describing the Macbook Air? The last time I checked it was selling nowhere near the numbers of the Macbook Pros...



    Not quite because the MacBook Air only has 1 USB port, no FireWire, and the audio is out-only. Removing the optical drive in the 13" MacBook Pro would make room for better cooling, dedicated graphics, separate audio input and output, a third USB port, ExpressCard slot, and an eSATA slot. If that does not float Apple's boat then they could put in a second battery for even more not-plugged-in time.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    reganregan Posts: 474member
    I really think this will happen. Especially considering that the latest update to the 13" macbook didn't get the new i3, i5 or i7 because there was no room inside for them, so Apple stuck with the Core 2 Duo.



    I think the Macbook Air was the trial run. But was too limited for pros, and too pricey for consumers. Now that the ipad is out, consumers have a super thin web surfing tablet, and I feel that the next evolution is for the macbook pros to get rid of their optical drives. They won't become as thin as the airbook perhaps, but with the extra space, they will become alittle thinner and there will be more room for pro features.



    The writing is on the wall. There is just no need for optical drives to be in laptops. Movies are being streamed and downloaded. Music CDs are already all but extinct. I've never burned ANYTHING onto a CD or DVD on my last laptop. Not ONE thing. I'm not alone. It's really a waste of space.



    I Believe the next Mac OSX will be available in CD and SD versions. The SD slot didn't suddenly appear on all the macs for no reason. The airbook tested wireless software loading. If you look...I mean REALLY look at what Apple is doing, it doesn't take much imagination to see where they are going. It's obvious that they are paving the way to phase out the optical drive.



    The new generation of SD cards can hold TONS more data than DVDs. CDs and DVDS are the floppy disks of today. Sure people still buy DVD movies. And "Blue Ray" is the last gasp of a dying format. It'll be around for home rentals for years, but even for home use, more and more people will begin to download movies and stream them to their tvs. Rumors abound that Apple is working on an actual flat screen tv. Now all these things will take time, but thats where it's moving.



    But for mobile use, it just doesn't make sense anymore to carry around dvds nor have optical drives taking up valuable space in laptops when SD drives can do the job much better. The ipad although not a full fledged computer will really show people who consume content, that there is NO need for ANY physical media anymore. Downloading and streaming movies and audio is the future.



    I don't know WHEN it's gonna happen, but it's gonna happen. It IS happening.



    I imagine the "new" redesigned macbooks will come out next January. Wether one or all of them come without optical drives who knows. The macbook airs are great, but they are still pricey and underpowered compared to their macbook counterparts. Perhaps testing out the 13" macbook without an optical drive will satisfy the need for a thinner lighter laptop without sacrificing power.



    Should be an interesting year. Lets see if my predictions turn out to be true. :-)
  • Reply 20 of 27
    resres Posts: 711member
    Remember folks, removing the DVD drive only saves about 160 grams (5.6 ounces) in weight, and since they are the same 9.5mm in hight as the hard drive, removing it would not make the laptop any thiner. The screen size determines the other dimensions, so unless you are taking about Apple making an 8-10 inch netbook (which they won't), removing the optical drive will not shrink the laptops at all. It would, of course, make room for some other components (which nixes any weight reduction).



    I do think that DVDs are going to go away, but not in the near future. For one thing, flash memory is still far pricer than DVDs. For the cost of a 4gb SD card you can get 50 4.7 gig DVDs. The cost of DVDs are so low that we give them out without a second thought (when I need to give someone a bunch of pictures or other large files, I just burn a DVD and give it to them -- it costs me about 20 cents. Using a $10 SD card instead the DVD is just not an option). Due to the added cost, software companies will also be very slow in changing over to SD card based distribution (internet software distribution is moving along, but it will be years before it replaces physical media).



    For most people their laptop is the only computer they own, and a lot of them do watch DVDs on their laptops (my father watched about 30 of them over the past two months). They rip their CDs, they make home movies then send DVDs of them to their parents, etc. It would not make any sense for Apple to do away with optical drives in their laptops now, or in the near future (although I could see them doing so with one model). Eventually it will happen and they will go the way of the floppy disk, but I think optical drives will be around for several more years.
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