Will Apple remove the optical drive from future models?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by whitedragon101, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. whitedragon101 macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2008
    I just opened the back of my macbook pro to give the fans a blast with compressed air, and I noticed something....

    The optical drive takes up a HUGE amount of space. The whole motherboard, CPU,GPU and cooling is squished into a very small space. I was wondering what people would think if apple removed the optical drive and replaced it with extra cooling to allow for higher TDP CPU and GPUs.

    A straight exchange:

    Optical drive ~ Much faster CPU and GPU

    Would you want it? Do you think they'll do it?
  2. crazyrog17 macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2009
    I don't think a faster processor or more cooling would be the reason they eliminate it...

    I think Apple would focus on making it thinner, have a longer battery life and possibly add more storage.

    Although the current hard drives are 9.5mm high, it's the same for the optical drive so I don't see the thinner part coming in until SSDs take over the world.

    Also, they could cool down the current design better by utilizing liquid cooling routed to the lid of the laptop. Apple has pattented the idea but has yet to implement it. I think it'd be tough to keep the hinges from leaking, myself.
  3. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Probably eventually as technology changes and more things are cloud oriented and delivered

    Not any time very soon
  4. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    The optical drive is the new floppy.

    It will go the way of the Dodo in a few years and I would be surprised if Apple weren't the first to totally ditch that archaic artifact called an optical drive in their entire lineup of notebooks.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    How will apple provide OSX then? I mean will they start selling OSX on a thumbdrive or SD card? This will seriously impact the ability of Macs loading windows into bootcamp.

    I don't see this happening until a medium that exceeds the optical drive's ability occurs. There's nothing in the near future that will make this possible, current technology means serious of back bending maneuvers for the consumer to deal with a computer without an optical drive.
  6. devilstrider macrumors 6502a

    May 12, 2010
    Bingo. Untill evey company figures that out disc drives are here to stay.
  7. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    Apple had huge problems with coolant leaks on the top end Power Mac G5s a few years back. I'm not sure they will be in any rush to use it again, especially in a laptop.
  8. MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    besides, heat pipes are almost as effective if not more effective then water.
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Given apple's track record for liquid cooling (the G5 PowerMac), I seriously doubt that apple will embrace liquid cooling for their laptops
  10. hdsalinas macrumors 6502


    Aug 28, 2006
    San Pedro Sula, Honduras
    The optical drive on my mac died a year and half ago, honestly I barely miss it.
    Instead of removing them, Apple should just add a bluray drive.
  11. DarkVinda macrumors regular


    Sep 9, 2010
    Manchester, UK
    dont see apple adding bluray - there more swinging towards the whole d/loading of films ie appletv etc and see the internet as a more viable option...bluray on a mac - cant see it really

    it would be very nice - my boss has a bluray ripped from a dead laptop we bought in for parts as an external one and does burn to it...but its mainly his uni projects...
  12. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    When and if Apple starts making Macs without optical drives I don't think they would care about how you install Windows on their Macs and that shouldn't be their priority anyway. The Macbook Air is one example of it already. You can plug in an external optical drive for stuff like that. There will be plenty of external drives for years to come.
  13. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 22, 2010
    one of the reasons i got a macbook pro was because it had a built in optical drive. an optical drive is nothing like a floppy drive. I need it to install 90% of my windows software, and also to watch Movies straight from a DVD. I take my mac book pro with me and having an external DVD drive i would need to carry with me and plug in would defeat the mobility and purpose of a laptop.
  14. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    A few years ago, I figured that USB Thumb Drives and the like would replace the optical drive.

    However, now I'm not so certain. It seems more and more organizations/companies are disallowing use of these wonderful devices. Now, in some cases the only way to transfer large files is via a CD/DVD.

    Cloud computing may one day provide an alternative. While moving in that direction we're not there yet.

    So for the time being I don't see the optical drive disappearing anytime soon. Maybe in 3-5 years this will change.
  15. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    optical is the new floppy?

    Until flash memory is cheaper than optical media, it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

    Can you just download it? Well, yeah, many software houses have made their apps available online. However, ISPs in countries around the globe (well, except maybe Japan and Korea :p) are upping the speed of the pipes and lowering the amount of data you can transfer in said pipe. Comcast has a 250 Gb "soft" cap today, but before it was "unlimited" within reason (or atleast no stated cap before Florida reared their ugly head). ATT, same deal. Cable ISPs (with users "cutting the cable" and enjoying iTunes or ill-gotten contents) won't allow content providers to give up the goods over their pipes for free ; telco's are also seeing gold in per-byte billing.

    I would love a cloud based computing experience but it doesn't seem like we'll get there in this country with greed running the show.
  16. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Good point.

    But the problem also deals with security concerns in that in many cases you cannot connect a USB Thumb Drive (or external HDDs via USB) to a computer. So that leaves us with the Cloud which is not ready for prime time IMHO. So by default, the optical drive still is needed for large data movement.
  17. Pulpdiction macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2010
    I think Optical drives are here for the 2011 cycle. After that I think they may well go, with a move to SSD as standard for the HDD and we'll have USB3.0 by then so loading an OS from a USB3.0 drive will not be an issue. This gives them a number of options in terms of increasing battery life through a bigger battery, or doubling up on SSD whilst also having the ability to reduce the overall unit size. It does also give them the option to maintan the unit size for their base MBP and do something with fancy gfx as well and move to core i3/5/7.

    Edit: The other option is to sell a USB based licence dongle which allows the d/l of the OS via the internet, with some fancy dongle encryption.
  18. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    Laugh all you want, time will tell.

    In a few years you will see that shift with notebooks sans optical drive.
  19. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    May 6, 2010
    New York
    I might actually like it IF...

    1.) They gave us some good spec upgrades but kept the price points the same.

    2.) Drop the price of the external Superdrive down to $59 or $69 or something like that. I believe it's currently $99.

    3.) Put a 3rd USB port at least on the MacBook Pro, if not on the MacBook too.

    I usually don't need the Superdrive, unless I'm ripping music, or installing something from DVD. And occasionally burning a CD. None of which I do THAT often. But it would be easy enough to carry around the Superdrive in your laptop bag for when you need it. I'd just definitely want that extra USB port so it's not taking up my other two when I am using it.
  20. itripped macrumors member

    Apr 25, 2010
    I am pretty sure Apple will remove it on future revisions, it just doesn't make sense not to. For the occasional uses a customer can pick up an external superdrive. But I doubt it will arrive before USB3. At the same time the SD slot will probably be improved to support newer, faster and higher capacity cards.

    The extra room will no doubt be used up in a variety of ways to make it smaller, faster and cooler. Nobody will miss the added weight.
  21. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    I never said they wouldn't go away. But do you use floppies these days? Can you even buy floppies? I havn't seen one, but i've bought plenty of software packages lately that still come on disk, and I can still buy up CD/DVD/BR(±R,RW) disks. So, for now, Optical(disks) != floppy.

    There are plenty of barriers to a diskless world that have yet to be addressed. Including but not limited to:
    Content delivery over IP - Soon to bump into ever decreasing caps
    Ubiquitous flash storage that's cheaper than its Optical equivalent per byte and reproducible en masse.
  22. Lunchb0x8 macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2010
    Aberglasslyn, NSW, AU
    I would like to see MBPs, MBs and MBAs with 3G network cards (or 4G) and perhaps GPS etc, just because a lot don't need it, doesn't mean the few who would use it won't do backflips over it!
  23. lotzosushi macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2007
    Don't forget about Apple's 'Remote Disc' feature that works on both OS X and Windows. The only downfall is that you'd have to find or have another computer to install the OS with.
  24. DVD9 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2010
    External Optical Drives are Dirt Cheap

    You can order external DVD drives for around $30 online. That means Apple could buy in mass for $15 each and include one in the box with the laptop.

    As for playing DVDs, this should be a joke. It's called "dvd decrypter". Rip and encode like the rest of the world. Or just download rips. That's called bittorrent.

    The removable of optical drives began with the introduction of netbooks and other ultraportables. This end is not only inevitable, it actually should have occurred already.
  25. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    I would like 2x HDD/SSDs and additional cooling in place of the disc drive. Apple will also get more space for a dedicated GPU in the 13" model so no more excuses.

    They could easily bundle an external drive in the box but if they ever did remove it, they would probably sell it as an accessory and overcharge us for it.

Share This Page