Apple Defends Decision to Remove Optical Disc Drives from Macs

Apple: Old Technologies Like Optical Disc Drives Holding Us Back

by Anton Shilov
10/31/2012 | 05:16 AM

Apple was the first company to get rid of floppy disk drives with its Macintosh systems over ten years ago and it looks like the company will be the first to get rid of DVD optical disc drives (ODDs) as well. In general, Apple is not afraid of removing various legacy devices from its PCs.


“These old technologies are holding us back. They are anchors on where we want to go. We find the things that have outlived their useful purpose. Our competitors are afraid to remove them. We try to find better solutions – our customers have given us a lot of trust,” said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, in an interview with the Time.

It is unquestionable that DVD standard is completely outdated, but instead of building Blu-ray disc drives into its iMac computers, the company earlier this month introduced new iMacs without ODD at all. According to the company, BD standard does not provide good-enough user experience and mechanical drives are just holding the company back.

“Blu-ray has come with issues unrelated to the actual quality of the movie that make [it] a complex and not-great technologies. So for a whole plethora of reasons, it makes a lot of sense to get rid of optical discs in desktops and notebooks,” explained Mr. Schiller.

While it all makes sense, optical discs are still used for backup as well as for watching movies or listening to music. Eliminating them naturally causes troubles for the customers. Nonetheless, Apple is confident that sleeker designs as well as modern technologies provide at least two perfect excuses for eliminating legacy devices that are still utilized by hundreds of millions of customers and are rather future proof when it comes to capacities, reliability and so on.

“In general, it us a good idea to remove these rotating medias from our computers and other devices. They have inherent issues – they are mechanical and sometimes break, they use power and are large. We can create products that are smaller, lighter and consume less power,” said Mr. Schiller.

While Apple wants to eliminate older technologies once and for all and probably the next step will be getting rid of hard disk drives, the industry wants to tailor legacy devices for the modern world. Intel Corp. this year called makers of HDDs to introduce 5mm thick drives and asked manufacturers of optical drives to design 7mm thick DVD/BD readers for ultrabooks and all-in-one desktops.