Lack of a DVD drive option is terrible. Agree?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by darkgoob, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. darkgoob macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2008
    The point of minimalism is to make things simpler, not to eliminate fundamental and necessary features like a DVD drive. The point is to reduce things to the bare minimum, not go below the minimum.

    When the original iMac removed the floppy drive, everyone panicked, but it still had a CD drive in it. At that point in time, few people ever used floppies anymore, anyway.

    But in the case of the removal of the DVD from the Mac Mini, it's very different because CDs and DVDs are still commonly used on a daily basis by most people. When you buy most software it comes on DVD. A lot of software asks for the installation DVD to be inserted to verify ownership (such as Digital Performer or Reason, which my friend purchased his Mac Mini in order to use, because he could not afford a more expensive Mac).

    DVDs are also by far the cheapest and easiest way to backup large sets of data or save them in a format that can be sent to someone in the mail. Many people do not have the ability to cheaply transmit 4GB or 8GB files to one another via any other means. Most places that scan film or burn memory cards to disk provide the results on DVD.

    It's wrong of Apple to inflict its will upon us by forcing people to buy a computer without a DVD. My friend wanted to buy a Mac because our band records using Digital Performer, which is only on Mac. But he also needs to run Windows due to his work. He only had $800, so he chose the Mac Mini because that is the only option that Apple offers if you have less than $800.

    So my friend was essentially given no option but to buy a Mac with no DVD drive, and not because Apple couldn't afford to put a DVD drive in the computer, but because Apple wants to inflict its vision of the future on the rest of us who are living in the present. Apple wants to force us to use online software, music, and movie distribution because Apple makes more money when we do that. So Apple then removes the DVD drive as an option, which is a terrible thing to do to your users who cannot afford an iMac or MacBook Pro. Terrible!

    "Just buy an external DVD drive," you might say.

    There is no way to launch Reason or Digital Performer on his Mac Mini without the external DVD drive. Trying to install Windows 7 on boot camp has resulted in forcing the purchase of a USB stick and external DVD drive, AND it resulted in the reformatting of my hard drive due to this bug in Boot Camp Assistant 4.0.1 that I detail in this thread on Apple's Discussions site. I have now lost important data (not very much, since most of it was backed up, but still, it is incredibly inconvenient, and I could easily have been much less fortunate).

    In that thread I also posted links to many other posts where people are having a heck of a time getting Windows to install, since it forces you to use an external USB volume that it reformats and uses to create a weird Windows 7 install volume from an ISO disk image that you must provide. Apple provides no instructions on how to obtain this ISO image and it proves to be a heck of a complex task.

    I am very saddened by the direction that Apple is taking. The worst part is that that thread is about the fifth or sixth bug report I've had to write about Lion in less than one day of using it. I am under the very strong impression that Lion is by far the worst Mac system release ever, and I have been through them all going back to System 4 on the 512ke.

    I feel like many Mac users are so defensive about any negative criticism regarding the Mac that the initial response this thread will inevitably get is, "You are wrong," "You must be doing it wrong," "There must be something wrong with your Mac," "Lion is perfect," etc. But the sad fact is that tons of problems exist and as long as we users keep blindly waving the flag then Apple will not correct its course.

    So far I have yet to find one single redeeming feature in Lion that is something that I as a user would actually want, coming from Snow Leopard. Meanwhile I have seen bug after bug, along with several worthless modifications to existing features that essentially broke them. None of the new features I've seen are any kind of "upgrade;" mostly they are gimping of existing features or entire removal of them. The addition of gestures is no excuse for a point-upgrade. "Full-screen" apps have existed since the Apple II. The encryption features are cool but how many people use that?

    I have heard from many people that they have had the same experience and are very sick of it. I was hoping that all the bad stories I'd heard about Lion were wrong, but now I have found out that it's actually worse than I could have possibly imagined. I wonder how Apple intends to fix this?

    I have also sent this message to Apple.
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    It is annoying, however, Apple is trying to move away from optical media altogether (not selling it in their stores anymore). They do offer the MBA superdrive as an add on, and while it is expensive, the option is there nonetheless. I still use mine on occasion to rip a cd or play a dvd or game, and I definitely prefer to keep it, but the external really isn't that big of a deal if the computer doesn't move. It would be obnoxious with my MacBook since I move it around and have limited USB ports, but you just leave a Mini on the desk and it's got plenty of ports.
  3. dborod macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_5 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8L1 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Personally, I rarely have the desire to use optical media for anything, the software I buy is downloaded, and I happen to be very happy with Lion.
  4. aziatiklover macrumors 68030


    Jul 12, 2011
    Location: and
    Nope I have move to over the cloud stuff and usb for years now. It's been like what 3 years that I have not used any optical drive at all.
  5. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Some folks still miss 8-track tapes. Optical media is fast becoming unnecessary.
  6. darkgoob thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2008
    Yes as I have detailed, the lack of DVD drive creates horrible problems if you need to use Boot Camp. It also means extra purchases and added complexity, whereas the point of the Mac Mini is to be the simplest solution to the problem.

    I feel that Apple should not try to force users to go along with its maddening quest away from optical media. This is a huge point of contention. Apple is taking a big gamble that users will not care about losing optical drives, but I am personally very upset about this and I think it's a huge deal.

    This is all about Apple's profit margins and using a strong-arm tactic to push its vision of the future on users. For a laptop to sacrifice the DVD drive is acceptable because there is the option of buying a LESS expensive MacBook Pro which comes with a DVD drive.

    However the Mac Mini has no lesser expensive option. It actually is deceptive marketing because it ends up costing more money to own and operate the Mac Mini, which users generally buy because they cannot afford an iMac. So they are already on a budget, and Apple is raping them on RAM upgrades and HD upgrades, then not even putting in the DVD drive they will need to run many common software applications and games, or use Boot camp.

    Yes, using Boot camp will not only require the purchase of a DVD drive to read the Windows 7 DVD, but also an external USB memory stick on which to install the ISO image of that DVD. If you spent your maximum to upgrade the Mac Mini to the faster version, then you might not have enough left over to buy these items, and you might be rather upset that your formerly minimalistic computer is now a mess of cords and cables and really, less simplistic than a PC would have been.

    Apple's shunning of Blu Ray has been a huge thorn in Mac users' sides and remains a big advantage of buying a PC. I imagine that Apple simply does not like doing business with Sony, who it sees as a direct competitor in several areas. Apple does not want to pay licensing fees to the Japanese for anything. Much to the detriment of anyone who owns a video camera, Apple has failed to natively support the most common HD video standard, AVCHD, and only just now adds a common HDMI port on Mac Mini only.

    The real truth is that Apple wants to force us to buy software, music, and movies from its online store. It does not care what users want. It thinks it knows what is best and wants to force us to go wherever it knows is best.

    And I'm starting to get mad.

    Apple could really care less that my friend, who made a big leap to switch to Mac from using Windows his whole life, has have an existing library of software, movies, and music on DVD and CD, and only switched to Mac under the belief he could install Boot Camp and use these. He actually did not even know his computer lacked a DVD drive because he just assumed that was a basic feature that ALL computers included.

    Adding an external DVD drive would not have even been THAT big of an issue except for the fact that Windows 7 cannot be installed from it, and in the process of attempting this, it resulted in the reformatting of my external hard drive due to a bug, and then I learned that many users have been having tons of problems just trying to get Boot Camp set up on their Minis.

    Apple is shooting itself in the foot because many PC users refuse to pay more than $1000 for a Mac. Even $700 or $800 seems high to them compared to PCs. So when these people switch, then have to go through the trouble that I've been having to go through today, I suspect that they will simply return it or sell it on craigslist rather than deal with the hassle. Seriously.

    There was a time where Apple seemed to get it, and it wasn't that long ago. They really seemed to be moving forwards, and supporting standards like USB and DVI, including SD readers in computers, even thought they might go to Blu Ray.

    But now it's obvious that Apple is reverting back to being the Apple of the early 90s, with inbred, retarded software ideas (CoverFlow in the Finder? reverse the scroll bars? Eliminate scroll arrows? It's like a nightmare!), lack of good support for standards like SLI, USB-3, HDMI, AVCHD, introduction of proprietary ports like ThunderBolt and MiniDisplayPort, failure to have interoperability with PC hardware (there are almost NO options for PCI-E graphics cards that Apple will allow to work with the Mac, because Apple refuses to let those companies like NVIDIA write graphics drivers for the Mac), lack of games for the Mac (Apple went back to not caring), the list goes on and on.

    With the cash that Apple has in the bank, it could utterly destroy the PC market if it wished. It could introduce a mid-level, modular Mac with PCI-E slots, USB-3, Blu-Ray support. It could work with game developers and GPU developers to bring world-class gaming to Mac. It could even sell Mac Minis for a loss at Wal Mart and Best Buy for a couple of years and simply take over the marketplace entirely, then raise its prices back up.

    But Apple continues to play this silly game... with their recent success, who is to criticize them? Who is to say they are on the wrong path? Look, my view of things is simple: whenever a company stops serving its customers, and starts becoming greedy and self-serving, when it tells its customers they are wrong for having the needs they have, and when it offers shoddy solutions for those needs, then that company has a problem.


    How do you watch 3D movies? All mine are on Blu-Ray. Do you know of another way to get 3D movies?

    Also I have to wonder, how do you watch 1080P movies? Or don't you?


    I use optical all the time at work, when we burn customer's memory cards to disk at my camera store.

    Also I have a lot of software that will require a DVD to be inserted, such as Digital Performer or Reason, as well as certain games (especially on the PC side, not that I game that much anymore but still).

    I realize that some people don't need this capability. That's fine. But for those who do need it, then Apple should offer the option, not force them to shove it while offering no viable alternative. That's just wrong.
  7. darkgoob thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2008
    Rarely... or never? How rarely?

    Look let me ask you something. If you want to make some music on your Mac with an audio workstation software program, like Garage Band, Logic, etc., then make some CDs and sell them at your band's shows, how are you supposed to do that without a CD/DVD burner?

    You might say that you should just sell your music online, but can you name for me one single way to sell music online where drunk people can pay cash? People at my band's shows are ready to buy the CD because they just heard the music, many of them are drunk, and they have cash. But they will probably never go to our website no matter how hard we have tried.

    There is also the fact that people LIKE buying a CD because it has the cover art etc.

    You see my point is that Apple views us as consumers of media but not as producers, even though it sells us these machines that are essentially made specifically to produce media (music, photos, movies). So once I have produced my music, photos, and movies, personally I like to put them on DVDs to send to my family. My grandmother does not go onto YouTube, nor do I want to have to go through the complex process of setting up private viewing lists so that only certain people can view those videos. Also most people want to watch movies on their TV, not on their computer.

    So Apple gives my friend who buys his Mac Mini no way to read any of his existing media library, nor any way to burn it onto physical media, without attaching an extra device to do this. They are sending the message that they own all your content that you create with their computer, because guess where it's going to end up? On their servers, iCloud. What happens if it's content that they don't approve of? Hmm?

    I wonder.
  8. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago

    I have the portable which I bought with my Air. It's fine, I still author DVD's but I don't use them for backup or archiving purposes any more.

    With HDD prices so low, and NAS solutions galore, AND the fact that DVD's have a shelf life, it's far far better to use a different backup medium.
  9. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If you need to use BootCamp (i.e. Windows), how is the simplest solution buying a Mac in the first place?
  10. robanga macrumors 68000


    Aug 25, 2007
    When Apple did away with the floppy there were lots and lots of floppies still in use and zip drives etc. (There was a Mac with a zip drive option for a while remember?)

    There are going to be niche reasons such as your friends, that eliminating the removable media is painful agreed. But those are so relatively small percentage wise, why not lead once again and eliminate the optical drive? Is it really going to drive many people not to buy Macs?

    One other thing is thumb drives, they are getting cheaper and cheaper. Many companies now distribute data and software on them. For now they are an option

    Its going to be a long sunset but lets face it - BlueRay is not ever going to do what DVD's did in volume. There are plenty of cheap BlueRay players on the market. ...and i am willing to bet Apple will be selling that external drive for years.

    I'm also not certain that distribution of movies to grandmothers without computers or internet access is that big of a market. Sure it exists, but overall not that big. They do have an option for that. The external drive. Or better yet, buy her an iPad :)
  11. aziatiklover macrumors 68030


    Jul 12, 2011
    Location: and
    True and the option is the USB superdrive that they offer it at $69 or $79 I can't remember! Anyways, look at floppy disk and VGA port! They are long gone from Apple computers, and I'm glad that they removed it! Seriously look at how Windows users still have the VGA port in there laptops and you think they even use it? I'm sure they all switch to something better like HDMI port.

    This my man! ;)
  12. Halon X macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2005
    Malibu, CA
    I think Apple's vision of the future has for the most part been pretty accurate!

    Would this thread have existed if Apple had included a Superdrive with the Mini and raised the price by $80? It's not much different than having to pay to check luggage really!

    I make my living with computers and have not used a DVD other to restore my OS in at least 3 or 4 years now. Internet recovery is brilliant!

    I have been issuing Macbook Air's to all my employees (technical and non-technical) for the last 2 years. Once someone is shown how to do away with using DVD's, the lack of a Superdrive becomes a non-issue. In reality I'm going to guess this is the case with most people and that those that have strong opinion against the lack of a Superdrive are in the minority.

    No amount of email to Apple will bring back a built in Superdrive on the Mini!
  13. MrSmith macrumors 68040


    Nov 27, 2003
    A general move from optical media and not needing to burn CDs/DVDs for the next few years of my computer's life are two completely different things.
  14. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
  15. aziatiklover macrumors 68030


    Jul 12, 2011
    Location: and
    Yea get it while you can right now the FUTURE hahaha
  16. MrSmith macrumors 68040


    Nov 27, 2003
    Easy to be flippant when you don't need it yourself. My aging mother on the other side of the world simply isn't going to get a computer. I'm guessing there are many others like her, too. Until I can send my home movies across the Internet directly to her TV, this problem will remain, regardless of SJ/Apple's vision of the future.

    The present. Get used to it.
  17. darkgoob, Oct 3, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011

    darkgoob thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2008
    We use Digital Performer in our band. It only runs on Mac. He wants to be able to mix down our sessions, I told him he'd have to get a Mac to do it. I explained that with Boot Camp, he could boot into Windows should he ever need to. He has a rather large collection of Windows software, mostly games. He also has a very large CD collection.

    It really would have been simple if Apple supported installing Windows from an external DVD drive... yet another thing they can't be asked to do...

    ...then they make a buggy Boot Camp Assistant that reformats random external USB devices. Great.

    Look, shoddy software always sucks, no matter who made it. Apple is perfectly capable of making crap, look at Lion. It's full of bugs, breaks many existing programs, has ridiculous default settings for scroll wheels... and they didn't care, they put it to market anyway. As long as they can force-feed their Kool-Aid to you then they're happy.

    Just because they made a few visionary products does not mean that EVERY idea they have is visionary. There were some truly visionary ideas, but things like the lack of a DVD drive is not visionary, it's totalitarian. It's Apple trying to force their business model on us.
  18. darkgoob thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2008
    I agree that DVDs are not very good as a back-up medium. That's not what I'm saying really.

    I'm saying that MOST people already have tons of DVDs and CDs. Also, a DVD drive is something that you simply expect a computer to include. Adding one on at extra cost is a very inelegant solution. I'm all for it if Apple wanted to have two versions of Mac Mini, as they have done: one with, and one without the DVD drive. But to just have one without, is plain wrong...

    ...ESPECIALLY since it does not support Boot Camp installation from the external CD drive... and doing a Boot Camp installation any other way is a huge pain in the butt. Yes, it would have been simpler for my friend to just let me build him a Hackintosh, rather than deal with this nightmare of trying to install Windows via USB stick. Jeez.
  19. kbfr08 macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2007
    My one gripe with the mini's lack of a CD Drive is the lack of a front USB port. Every time I need to plug a flash drive into mine, I need to pull the unit out and crane my neck to align my usb stick with the port. Not all that convenient, but a short USB extension cable solved the issue.
  20. darkgoob thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2008
    ... You don't live in the real world, you live in Techieverse. You live in an isolated reality that VERY few people have access to. It's a reality where you don't have to deal with regular people.

    Every single day I have to deal with the general public. Old people. Kids. People that are on vacation. People with dogs. People that come in with bikes. They bring in their digital cameras and need to clear off their memory card to a CD or DVD, a format they can take with them. They bring in old 8mm movie film or VHS tapes to be converted to DVD so they can watch them on their TV. Or they bring in digital files on a CD or DVD that they need to print out. Or they bring in a roll of film (yes it still exists) and they want it developed onto a CD.

    Never, NOT ONCE, has ANY of those people EVER said to me, "Oh, I don't use DVDs anymore, in fact my computer can't read them. Can't you just upload them to my Cloud?" Seriously. It takes about 5 minutes to burn someone a 4.4 GB DVD of their files, and I can have three or four burning at once if I really have to. It's not uncommon to have to burn two or three DVDs for a customer, since digital camera files take up so much room now.

    Do you have any idea how long it would take to upload a 16GB SD card to a server somewhere? Do you have any concept of this?

    My customers expect me to be able to give them a DVD in about an hour. It would take almost an entire day of maxing out my cable modem internet at work to upload that kind of data at our shoddy 250 k/sec upload speeds that we get. Even if it was ten times that fast, it would still take nearly two hours.

    The internet and cloud storage are totally impractical for regular people to store all their files. You will find this out when the nightmare of Apple's iCloud begins... just wait. If you bought everything from iTunes, it won't even sync it... it will just sync a list. But if you're like me, and you have 1.5 TB of photos and music, how's that going to work exactly? I routinely add 50 or 60GB of photos to my computer at a time, not to mention each recording session of my band is about 4-7 GB of multitrack, uncompressed audio.

    I just don't know what kind of weird Techieverse some of you people live in where optical media just "can be done away with" with a flick of the magic wand. But it seems like you're living in a world with no music, no photos, and no movies... or at least none that you don't store in low resolution or highly compressed forms...

    How on earth do you deal with 1080/60P video? LOL. Even Blu-Ray barely has the capacity for that, but it's a standard feature on many digital cameras sold today. Most DSLRs have such high quality video now that you are lucky to barely hold 30 minutes on an 8GB card -- and that's at a fairly high compression rate. It's not going to get any less.

    Apple is content to assume everyone is taking pictures only on their little iPhone cameras and shooting highly compressed 720P video with that. If that's you, then OK. iCloud to your heart's content.

    But anyone who shoots video, takes pictures with a real camera, or is a musician -- i.e. Apple's main demographic, creative people -- we need optical media. Macs should all come standard with Blu-Ray so you can burn your HD movies from iMovie into a format that can actually play back in HD. (Otherwise how exactly do you send them to your relatives in HD?)

    I mean really the Mac Mini should have built-in Blu-Ray, not DVD. But the Blu-Ray argument is such a dead horse around here that I wasn't even going to go there.
  21. darkgoob thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2008
    Or perhaps the future is a bunch of Hackintoshes running Snow Leopard :D

    Frankly, Apple may be sitting pretty right now because of its whole App Store profit margin thing, and as a shareholder I'm also happy about this.

    But they have become disconnected from reality as a result of this success. And they have started to do things that are indicative of someone who has drank their own kool-aid and started to believe their own bull.

    I spoke for quite a long time with a very nice Japanese man who works for Sony Japan. In Japan, it's common for people to record TV shows to Blu-Ray, just like you would on a VHS deck in the 80s. Blu-Ray is very common in many parts of the world, but especially due to companies like Apple's refusal to do business with the Japanese on Blu-Ray, then it's failing. I told him Sony is shooting themselves in the foot by asking for licensing fees, that they should let the format expand instead of trying to milk every manufacturer. Make their money on selling the movies, not the chips and drives.

    But Apple is really just insisting on the lame online distribution model which has inferior resolution, depends on internet service (which can often fail if you have Comcast!), has worse sound quality, etc. ... it's annoying. They're both wrong, both Apple and Sony.

    They need to kiss and make up IMHO. They used to be such good friends, back in the 3.5" floppy and Trinitron days now. But now Apple is dating some Chinese or Taiwanese chick.
  22. sapporobaby macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2007
    3 earth minutes from your location....
    Hi dude. I'll go you one better if you will. I bought an external DVD drive for about 15 dollars. It rips everything, works well and lies in a draw about 99% of the time. In the last 6 months, I've used it twice. Apple is moving away from optical media in the same way they moved away from floppy disks. It's called progress. While not always pretty or handy, it is the way forward.



    You really need to get over writing massive paragraphs. To be honest, I don't even bother reading what you say because you tend to drone on and on. My answers are actually in reply to your answers. Trying being concise as opposed to bloviating. You make some valid points (I guess based on how others have answered because I didn't bother to read your books) but can't you sum it up in one simple paragraph?
  23. mac jones, Oct 3, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011

    mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    You can if you happen to be 'Future Man' . (my day job) :)

  24. aziatiklover macrumors 68030


    Jul 12, 2011
    Location: and
    @ OP wow dude just go ahead and write a novel/blog damn son I ain't reading all that. We know you got your point and we got our point as well. If you are not happy don't get a mac mini instead get an iMac then or whatever windows PC that have a optical drive pretty simple. Life goes on brah.

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