With each new release of a product off the Apple line, it becomes more apparent that Apple wants to have nothing to do with optical discs, or drives for that matter. The new Macbook Pro and Macbook Air models have no optical drives installed, and the same goes for the latest version of the iMac. If you must have a drive and have to use a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray, Apple offers an external one you can bundle as an add-on. It’s an obvious anti-optical disc statement. Here’s your unit with all the essentials included; but if you must have your crutch, here’s an external optical drive.
Now that it has been established that Apple is anti-optical disc and unashamed about it, we’ll come to the reasons why. According to Apple’s Vice President of Global Marketing Phil Schiller, the company is abandoning the optical drive because it inhibits the industry’s potential by a long shot. Apple argues that the technology found in optical drives is already outdated; the industry just wants to cling to it out of familiarity. The company continues on stating that it’s possible to manufacture products that will replace the optical drive, products that will use less space, power, and material. But because of the industry’s heavy dependence (with the exception of Apple), most companies don’t even attempt to develop alternate technology that would be far more efficient or updated.
The main problem of optical drives is their mechanical nature, which contributes to their bulky size and significant power consumption (compared to say, flash-dependent products). Having mechanical parts also means that the drives worry consumers with the possibility of parts wearing down or breaking way before a unit has gotten its full use, all of which translates into wasted money and wary consumers. This naturally leads into the other reason why Apple abandoned optical drives – business. Apple product consumers, thanks to the lack of an optical drive, get most of their digital content fix through iTunes, Apple’s very own store. And the more consumers use iTunes, the more profits Apple can rake in. Without the presence of optical drives transferring all that profit to other hands (optical media manufacturers), Apple is there for the taking.
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