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

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 163
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 163
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,254member
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 163
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    The beauty of the external Superdrive is you only need one, to share among all your Macs.
  • Reply 4 of 163
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,611member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 163
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 163
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member
    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?
  • Reply 7 of 163
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member
    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!!!
  • Reply 8 of 163
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member
    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?
  • Reply 9 of 163
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Awesome! The optical drive needs to die completely. Smart move Apple!
  • Reply 10 of 163
    patsfan83patsfan83 Posts: 156member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 163
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 163
    sambirasambira Posts: 90member
    So, why not make this Apple TV? Why have different hardware for this?
  • Reply 13 of 163
    deletedelete Posts: 48member
    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?
  • Reply 14 of 163
    ajmasajmas Posts: 584member
    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?
  • Reply 15 of 163
    ajmasajmas Posts: 584member
    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
  • Reply 16 of 163
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 163
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 163
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 163
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member
    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
  • Reply 20 of 163
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    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?
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