MacBook Air may signal decline of disc drive

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacBytes, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. MacBytes macrumors bot

    Jul 5, 2003


    Category: Opinion/Interviews
    Link: MacBook Air may signal decline of disc drive
    Description:: The compact disc, the computer age's last nod to the notion of an archive that you can hold in your hand, seems to be spinning toward oblivion.

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    Approved by Mudbug
  2. Adokimus macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2007
    Boston, MA
    The title kind of disregards flash drives and external HDDs. We won't be living in a "cloud" world anytime soon. People still like to have an archive they can physically hold on to, it's just taking a different form yet again. The only difference is that external drives don't slide into your computer.

    Regardless, this is a common notion, but I still don't think physical CDs and movies (whether DVD or BR) will go away within the next ten years. Takes people time to let go of these things, especially those without a high-speed broadband connection.
  3. zainjetha macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2007
    just the same way it happened with floppy it wont with other macs.. this will be the one exception.... the world depends on cd drives, dvd drives, and now bluray is coming up.. how do you expect people to gain access to high-quality entertainment and games which require high-powered graphics? the games will require DVDs to run...

    it will happen maybe very slowly if ever at all but not for a verrrrry long time to come...
  4. InLikeALion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    Greener places than I used to live
    Why IMac? It may be a small detail, but these bland articles that can't even get something right like a simple case change of a pop culture icon, really irk me. Irk might be a strong word. They lose any respect they stood to gain.
  5. shadowfax macrumors 603


    Sep 6, 2002
    Houston, TX
    ... A small detail like using a before a word beginning in a consonant sound rather than an? :p
  6. mklos macrumors 68000


    Dec 4, 2002
    My house!
    I don't think the world absolutely depends on optical media. There's a growing trend of getting things electronically. Software, movies, music, etc are all now obtained electronically. This is just a start of things to come. There will be a day where computers no longer include an optical drive. You can bet on it. People said the same things you said about the floppy when it was on its way out. I do think that it will escape Macs before PCs. I rarely ever use CDs or DVDs in my iMac.
  7. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    Just a sensational title. The main problem with recordable media (CD-R, DVD-R) is that they are a very bad choice for archives with a dangerous habit of failing. CD/DVD-ROM's may be stable because of their pressed manufacturing, but require runs of 500 or more to be economical.

    I normally do 3-4 different DVD-R versions of any critical data that goes on optical recordable media, because I expect to have problems. I've had problems with files on an expensive commercial CD-R I bought from a digital map company, and just last week had issues with 2 CD-R's I recorded in 2003.

    As hard drive prices have dropped (just bought 2 @ 1 TB external drives for $225 each), they make optical drives uncompetitive (if you have to triple duplicate each optical to guard against failure). Plus a key to long term archiving is to migrate the data every few years - compare copying one BU hard drive to a new HD a few years from now to loading 250 DVD-R's and transferring that same data from optical.

    One should instead argue that the main reason recordable optical media is disappearing as as a archival media is because it fails to do that archiving job.
  8. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    I think it signals discussions about the decline of disk drives :D
  9. mdntcallr macrumors 65816


    Aug 1, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    ridiculous, we need disc drives. for cd-rom or dvd-roms.

    and now Blu-Ray discs
  10. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    I don't see the death of a personal, local archival storage anytime soon. It may switch from mechanical (HDD) to solid state (flash drives), but a dumb terminal connected to the cloud, while convenient, raises all sorts of new issues.

    The problem with the article is that it confused two completely different functions of optical drives -

    1. Providing an inexpensive delivery for short-term consumables (like movies, files, even computer programs). The CD/DVD-ROM did this very well, but the task is also very well suited to a downloadable model. This stuff does not need to be on anyone's HD, because you can redownload it in the future.

    2. Archiving personal/unique data that is not available elsewhere on the web. CD/DVD-R's did a POOR job of archiving, and people have switched to new media types (currently HD's) to accomplish this task.

    So the article talks about the disappearance of optical drives, but fails to note that they only fulfilled one of these tasks well to begin with.
  11. Scott24 macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2008
    So the first iMac had no floppy drive, and floppy drive were kinda popular then. I was in school at the time and we could see no way of getting work around! Now of course there are loads of options.

    Different thing you may say, because CD's and DVD's are more mainstream than the floppy's were in the entertainment world. Fair enough.

    My personal belief is that software will soon not come on optical media (maybe OS? who knows...) but movies/games etc will continue for a short while.

    Playstation Store and whatever the XBox equivalent is, along with iTunes is proof that optical won't be around for very much longer. Although i don't (yet) have one, i think :apple:TV is a great concept.

    Of course HD content is different you say, but internet connections are only getting faster.

    Flash memory for file transfers out of a network, Hard Drives and soon SSD for backups.

    All that being said, someone did suggest to me recently to give them something on a floppy disk! I was concerned... I guess it depends on individuals!
  12. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    "Decline?" yes. The Air signals a decline that was already happening long before.

    But "decline" does not mean "disappearance," it means that discs will continue to be relied on LESS.
  13. PhotoPhoenix macrumors member


    Nov 29, 2007
    New York City
    true, but look at film photography. same thing is happening. people are in such a rush to get rid of analog.
  14. montex macrumors regular


    Jan 17, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    I think they got it at least half right. Although I disagree that the disc drive is in decline, I do think that internal disc drives are likely to be displaced from inside laptops. Apple was absolutely prescient to remove the disc and put it into an external USB enclosure. This plan allows people to use the drive as needed and not have to drag it with you where ever you go. That's where the future is.
  15. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Apple's not the first to make the optical drive external so you can leave it home. (They may be the first not to force you to BUY it--that I can't say.)
  16. MikeTheC Guest


    Apr 26, 2004
    Gallifrey -- Capitol City, Prydonian Sector
    Can't tell you who the first was, but I can tell you Sony has Apple beat in this regard by several years.

    It's been like two years since I worked there, and IIRC the first series to ship without internal optical drives came out either just before I started (2001), or just shortly thereafter. Then, like maybe a year or so later they tried it again. Memory's just too fuzzy at this point, but I'm thinking one of the "Picturebooks" would have been sans-optical drive.

    The first time they did it, they interfaced the optical drive via a proprietary PC/MCIA card. The second time they did it, it connected to USB. In both cases, however, you had to use a Sony optical drive, and that's because (well, obviously because they designed it that way!) both had slider switches on their bottom sides to toggle the drive between "boot drive" mode and "normal" mode. You could use any optical drive you wanted, whether connected via USB or "i.Link" (aka IEEE 1394a, aka FireWire) as a standard optical drive (CD, DVD, optical writer, what-have-you).

    Now, I honestly don't remember, but one of them shipped with the drive, and the other made it an optional purchase. In both cases, we had a fairly large number of incidents where people needed to install something, or they had something go wrong at another office and needed to nuke-n-pave, and then of course they couldn't because, you guessed it, it never occurred to them to take the drive with them.

    And then, to make matters worse, we didn't keep making the drives forever, let alone the PC/MCIA adapter, so there came a point where people had to basically junk these otherwise-useful computers because, well, there was simply no way for them to install software, or erase them, or supply a Windows 98 disc when called for due to adding a system component, or what-the-he**-ever.

    As a total side note: if ANY of you ever have the opportunity to work in a call center, here's your free piece of advice for the day: DON'T.

    But anyhow, no, Apple isn't the first to try this. Arguably, they're picking a better point in the history of technology to do this kind of thing than Sony did, but I still view it as obnoxious. Of course, I can't really get my head that far up my lower intestinal tract to see things from the "yuppie executive" point-of-view who'd actually buy one of these things, but that's another story. :p
  17. thejakill macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2005
    as usual, people are missing the point. it's not an either/or world. you don't have two choices: to have optical drives or to not have optical drives.

    there is a third option, the one macbook air uses and the one i think will win out in the end:

    optical drives will become external. you won't buy a laptop with one inside it, you will buy an external drive if you need it, or don't buy one if you don't. just like floppies are today.
  18. MikeTheC Guest


    Apr 26, 2004
    Gallifrey -- Capitol City, Prydonian Sector

    No, actually you really do only have two choices.

    1. You have an optical drive.
    2. You "slightly" have an optical drive.
    3. You don't have an optical drive.

    Oh, waitaminit... Nope, I just realized, you're right. Sorry. Never mind.
  19. Analog Kid macrumors 68040

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    Yup. I don't know why people make such a big deal about the external CD on the Air. I'd love to have my Powerbook CD/DVD external. Put a second hard drive in there if you want to boost storage or use Time Machine on the go. I really only use the optical disc for program loads these days-- and fewer of those. Archiving is done on a second hard drive.

    All this talk of "cloud" computing is just moronic. Identity theft and corporate espionage made easy, I say. It's a way for companies with bandwidth to start controlling your data, scan it, and then profit off of it.

    Back to my Mac is the first step in what I hope is a growing trend. I don't want to store my documents at Google. I want to store them at home. If I need them on my iPhone, let me connect to my home machine and get to them. It would significantly reduce the amount of music and pictures I'd want to carry in an iPod as well...
  20. TFM macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2008
    It would take much more than this to weed out a component that is so prevalent in the tech world. Eventually we'll move beyond CD/DVD - but not yet

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