Apple Patent: Thinner MacBook Pro with Optical Drive

One way to make the MacBook line thinner is to omit the optical drive, as with the MacBook Air. However, a new Apple patent reveals that the company is also thinking about how to reduce the thickness of a MacBook Pro that keeps its optical drive.

According to Patently Apple on Thursday, Apple has produced a patent that bypasses the traditional technique to secure the optical disk to the turntable. This traditional technique uses up more vertical space, the z-axis, than is desirable. Apple’s patent describes a technique using magnetism to hold and center the optical disc and is, thereby, much thinner on the z-axis.

The ultra-thin MacBook Air has put the PC world in a tizzy because it has no optical drive, and some believe that Apple will deprecate optical drives for all future Macs. It has also been predicted that the next generation MacBook Pros will also ship without an optical drive. One result of all this has been Intel’s US$300M Ultrabook project designed to ignite PC makers into new ways of thinking.

Patently Apple

Source: Patently Apple

This patent doesn’t mean that Apple will ship such a product, as we all know, but it does suggest that Apple is keeping its options open for those mobile customers who will still need good old-fashioned DVDs, but want a stylishly thin MacBook Pro.

Just which direction Apple will take, no one knows for sure. But it’s good to see that Apple is thinking about user needs rather than abruptly leaving a potentially useful technology in the dust.