How Long Before Apple Drops the SuperDrive from the MacBook Pro?

Poll: When will the MacBook Pro lose its SuperDrive?
Total Votes: 20
The SuperDrive will be gone by spring
1
The SuperDrive will be a BTO option in the next update
6
The SuperDrive still has a couple years life left
13
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    Posted: 25 October 2011 11:46 AM

    Apple updated the MacBook Pro lineup this week with faster processors and better video cards, but didn’t change the body design or remove the SuperDrive optical drive. The SuperDrive was never part of the MacBook Air, and plenty of people think it’s short lived in the MacBook Pro now. How long do you think it will be before Apple goes SuperDrive-free in the MacBook Pro?

         
  • Posted: 25 October 2011 12:11 PM #1

    DVDs… how should I put this… are “Good enough.” Which usually trumps Better.

    As my job has me working with decently tech aware elementary school teachers… no, no the optical drive is not going away. Just as the DVD has not keeled over and meekly slunk into the shadow of BlueRay. “Burning” has been with us over a decade in a very reliable and user friendly way… at least with Apple.

    I believe XKCD had a comic to something like this effect.

    http://xkcd.com/949/

    While that’s flash drive a DVD or CD works just the same and can, believe it or not, be mailed to luddite family members for playback in whatever setup they have. The death of iDVD is one I consider a serious loss to the iLife Suit. Every year like clockwork I assist teachers in the lower grades prep-and-burn copies of the Kindergarten and 1st grade “promotion” events for the proud parents. Many of whom do not have home computers nor any way to use a USB flash drive.  DVDs still make more sense in a wider world outside the tech-centric on this site (and others like) belong to.

    Could I setup a service where some of these parents could download the video to their “smart” phone. Possibly, but that assumes both the Parents and the School IT are up to finagling that as opposed to just following current practice of hard media. Very few schools and districts are up to this task, let alone dealing with Parents who couldn’t find their way out of a wet paper bag if the instructions were being yelled at them over a megaphone. Handing them a cheap DVD is by far the easiest “it just works” solution for them. And as long as I (as the guy helping prep the DVDs) put the same attention to detail (making sure there are chapter breaks at good spots) that Apple general shows, then we have a Win that the parents will remember for years and hopefully be more engaged with us as a school.

    [ Edited: 25 October 2011 12:15 PM by Dorje Sylas ]      
  • Posted: 25 October 2011 12:35 PM #2

    It’s just like SMS on a cell phone. There are apps like TextMe and iMessage/BBM but because everyone has SMS if they have a cell it’s the defacto go to standard, like dvd.

    DVD players are like $25.00 at wal mart, if a family needs one they just go purchase one. But your average family doesn’t go by a PC/Mac just to view home movies of a relative.

         
  • Posted: 25 October 2011 02:02 PM #3

    The Superdrive will last until after your AppleCare runs out (but only if you have AppleCare).

    External DVD burners/readers are just fine:  just don’t put them in a USB box.

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  • Posted: 25 October 2011 02:51 PM #4

    I don’t know what Apple will do, but personally I wouldn’t miss it if they got rid of optical drives. I use them so rarely that it would not be a problem to occasionally plug in an external or share a drive from another Mac.

         
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    Posted: 25 October 2011 03:15 PM #5

    David Nelson - 25 October 2011 05:51 PM

    I don’t know what Apple will do, but personally I wouldn’t miss it if they got rid of optical drives. I use them so rarely that it would not be a problem to occasionally plug in an external or share a drive from another Mac.

    I agree. I’ve used the one in my 2008 MacBook exactly twice. To install Snow Leopard and last month to do a repair with the SL disk. With Lion I believe I wouldn’t have needed it for either. The popularity of MCE’s OptiDrive kit that replaced the DVD with a second hard drive shows that its importance is fading.

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  • Posted: 25 October 2011 04:48 PM #6

    The data transfer rate over USB2 isn’t good enough for the highest-bitrate HD-DVD or blu-rays to play back smoothly.  Once there are Thunderbolt external drives for that or USB3 comes to Macs (har har) then no worries.  But for now the only way to ensure proper performance from such a drive is to install it internally, which is necessarily an unsupported hack.  I’m a little peeved given the very, very low price of licensing for BR (compared to when DVD was current) that Macs don’t just include them as a matter of course… it won’t be long before any internal optical drive supports all standards, just like you never see a stand-alone new internal CD-ROM only drive anymore.  A casual user should never have to compromise on the quality of their Mac’s performance—it should “just work” the way it usually does.  Right now, for movie downloads it’s almost there, but for something as ubiquitous as BR is becoming, it’s not.

         
  • Posted: 19 November 2011 04:44 AM #7

    i think Apple should change optical drivers situations.

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    [ Edited: 06 September 2012 01:06 PM by asaymonds ]      
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    Posted: 21 November 2011 04:54 PM #8

    Ross Edwards - 25 October 2011 07:48 PM

    Once there are Thunderbolt external drives for that or USB3 comes to Macs (har har) then no worries.

    You laugh, but I’m expecting Ivy Bridge to bring Thunderbolt to Windows and USB3 to MacOS X next year.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I expect that we’ll see Apple ditch the Optical disk before they go to BluRay. Apple is in direct competition with BluRay as a streaming/download content delivery system, while thumb drives and memory cards are better , faster, and ultimately cheaper than BlueRay when it comes to convenient data transfers.

    While I won’t lose sleep over the loss of BluRay (I watch those on my PS3 anyways), the thought of transferring 15 years of optical storage to hard disk is not something I’m looking forward to.

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  • Posted: 03 December 2011 08:35 AM #9

    CanadianThomas - 25 October 2011 03:35 PM

    It’s just like SMS on a cell phone. There are apps like TextMe and iMessage/BBM but because everyone has SMS if they have a cell it’s the defacto go to standard, like dvd.

    DVD players are like $25.00 at wal mart, if a family needs one they just go purchase one. But your average family doesn’t go by a PC/Mac just to view home movies of a relative.

    I totally agree!