When Will Apple Incorporate Blu-Ray Drives in Macs?

With Apple sitting on the Blu-Ray Disc Associationis board of directors, many industry watchers expect the company to adopt that format, rather than the rival HD-DVD medium, in Macs. The question is when that will happen, given consumer confusion over the war between the competing formats.

MacCentralis Jim Dalrymple sees the company first incorporating Blu-ray into the Intel-based version of the Power Mac successor, and analysts agreed with him. Jupiter Researchis Joe Wilcox commented: "Appleis past practices favor bringing new optical technologies to professional systems first. DVD-RAM and DVD-R formats are excellent examples."

NPD Groupis Ross Rubin, however, sees Apple incorporating the drives into pro machines in January, despite the fact that many expect the company to introduce an Intel-based Power Mac, likely called Mac Pro, at next monthis Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. "The timing for that would work out pretty well," Mr. Rubin said.

Tim Deal, of Technology Business Research, added that he expects Apple to avoid putting Blu-ray drives in any of its consumer Macs for the time being. "[The format war] will cause confusion in the market which will ultimately mean slow acceptance of the technologies in the consumer market," he told Mr. Dalrymple.

Mr. Rubin doesnit expect Apple to support Blu-ray and HD-DVD, as some film studios are doing with their DVD releases. "Apple is an active participant in the Blu-ray consortium, and they didnit let the last format war between DVD- and DVD+ stop them from moving ahead with the drive," he commented. "I donit see them rushing to support both -- typically Apple supports one and they support it well."