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The End of the Optical Drive
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Spheric Harlot
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:10 PM
 
And thus it begins:

What’s in the box

11-inch MacBook Air
45W MagSafe power adapter, AC wall plug, and power cord
Printed and electronic documentation
Software Reinstall Drive
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:13 PM
 
That's hot.
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:14 PM
 
No different than the previous MacBook Air that used Remote Install to restore with.
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
No different than the previous MacBook Air that used Remote Install to restore with.
Ahuh?

How exactly is it NOT different? (Other than that it still supports Remote Install?)

Explain please, how including a complete software restore package on an SD card is NOT a new development, and a sign of things to come.

I wouldn't expect the next generation of Macintoshes to come with install DVDs anymore.
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:22 PM
 
Just noticed that Eug beat me to it in the MBA thread - I felt this was significant enough to warrant its own thread, as it affects all hardware eventually.
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Ahuh?

How exactly is it NOT different? (Other than that it still supports Remote Install?)

Explain please, how including a complete software restore package on an SD card is NOT a new development, and a sign of things to come.

I wouldn't expect the next generation of Macintoshes to come with install DVDs anymore.
Because software companies have been doing this for years (it's a USB drive BTW). I think that the App Store for OS X is a sign of things to come, not an install on a flash drive.
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
(it's a USB drive BTW).
Oh, dangit.

I'll go to bed now and let this thread die a quiet death.
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:27 PM
 
Yeah, the 11.6" MacBook Air doesn't even have an SD card slot
     
turtle777
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Because software companies have been doing this for years (it's a USB drive BTW).
I'm curious: what software companies had their operating system (or OS restore software) supplied on a USB drive ?

-t
     
olePigeon
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:32 PM
 
I'm sure there's a Linux distro that does that.
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you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:32 PM
 
The IBM systems at my workplace have restore images on flash drives, no physical media.
     
turtle777
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
I'm sure there's a Linux distro that does that.
Oh, the mass market, I see.

-t
     
turtle777
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:34 PM
 
Bottom line: in terms of consumer laptops/computers, Apple is again the first.

Like they killed the floppy drive first.

-t
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Bottom line: in terms of consumer laptops/computers, Apple is again the first.

Like they killed the floppy drive first.

-t
Actually, some of the Toshiba Satellite models come with a restore flash drive. I'm sure there are others.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:44 PM
 
I don't need the optical drive on my MacBook Pro either. I'd prefer they take it out and either add more battery or shave off some more grams from the total weight.
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turtle777
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Actually, some of the Toshiba Satellite models come with a restore flash drive. I'm sure there are others.
Really ?

Didn't know that. Do those have no optical drive either ?

-t
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:54 PM
 
From what I can tell, at least with Toshiba, a mixture of ultra-lights without optical drives and higher-end notebooks with optional optical drives or an extra battery/HDD.
     
voodoo
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Oct 20, 2010, 07:30 PM
 
Well well, seems I stepped into La-la land here... optical media drives on ultra niche super-portables means the death of the optical drive in this land, I see.

Considering the MBA is a flop (so far) I'm not feeling it. Considering it is and always will be a super-niche product, I still don't feel it.

When Apple 'killed' the floppy it was in the mainstream iMac.

I think the thread starter has had too much kool-aid.
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starman
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Oct 20, 2010, 07:34 PM
 
Killing the floppy was easy.

Killing the optical drive is going to take a long time.

Now excuse me while I install WoW on my MBP using the DVD...

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Maflynn
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Oct 20, 2010, 07:52 PM
 
That's both cool and scary at the same time.
Cool feature but scary insofar as how long will that drive last sitting on a shelf and what are the odds of losing such a small device. At least with CDs/DVDs its hard to lose them.
~Mike
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 20, 2010, 07:57 PM
 
Just keep it with your MBA box like most people do with any other restore media.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Oct 20, 2010, 08:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Most people keep the box
     
Brien
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Oct 20, 2010, 08:23 PM
 
Hey, I do. In the closet, I have:

- iPod 3rd gen 15GB box
- iPod 4th gen 40GB box
- iPod 5th gen 60GB box
- 2 iPhone 4 boxes
- 1 MacBook Pro 13" box
- 1 MacBook Pro 15" box
- Mac OS 7.5.5, Mac OS 8, 8.5, 8.6, 9, 10.1, 10.2, 10.4, and 10.6 boxes
- Some old games, mostly Blizzard (WC3, Diablo II)

I had 13" MacBook and a 12" iBook boxes, but tossed 'em when I got rid of the computers.
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 20, 2010, 10:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
What the heck? Thanks for completely rearranging my statement.
     
Person Man
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Oct 20, 2010, 10:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Brien View Post
Hey, I do. In the closet, I have:

- iPod 3rd gen 15GB box
- iPod 4th gen 40GB box
- iPod 5th gen 60GB box
- 2 iPhone 4 boxes
- 1 MacBook Pro 13" box
- 1 MacBook Pro 15" box
- Mac OS 7.5.5, Mac OS 8, 8.5, 8.6, 9, 10.1, 10.2, 10.4, and 10.6 boxes
- Some old games, mostly Blizzard (WC3, Diablo II)

I had 13" MacBook and a 12" iBook boxes, but tossed 'em when I got rid of the computers.
While I didn't keep any of the pre-OS X boxes, I have all the boxes from 10.0 Public Beta to 10.6, my iPhone, my iPods, my Mac Pro, my MacBook Pro, my PowerBook G4, and my QuickSilver Power Mac G4. I used many of the bigger boxes when I moved. Very handy and saved me from buying boxes from the moving company.
     
Brien
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Oct 20, 2010, 10:52 PM
 
Oh, I forgot that I have the boxes for my Performa 6290CD, StyleWriter 1600, Power Mac G4, and 15" Studio Display at my parents house. I think they're using them to store Christmas decorations.
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Oct 21, 2010, 01:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Killing the floppy was easy.

Killing the optical drive is going to take a long time.
Killing the floppy took ten years.

Marginalizing it into virtual irrelevance took two or three.

I think that's realistic.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 21, 2010, 02:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Well well, seems I stepped into La-la land here... optical media drives on ultra niche super-portables means the death of the optical drive in this land, I see.
I think we're all expecting things to go bottom-up here. I think the last time I've used my DVD drive is when I installed Aperture right after getting the machine. That's it. I don't need an optical drive, certainly not on me all the time.
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Considering the MBA is a flop (so far) I'm not feeling it. Considering it is and always will be a super-niche product, I still don't feel it.
Ditto. I've seen plenty in my line of work on conferences, for instance, and just gotten my boss one a few months ago. He is a bit of a pragmatic when it comes to technology (it just gotta work), but he has complimented on the machine several times now.

It wasn't a mass market product, but IMHO a successful niche product.
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
When Apple 'killed' the floppy it was in the mainstream iMac.

I think the thread starter has had too much kool-aid.
Apple expects the MacBook Air to be a mass product now (`we expect that all notebooks will look like this'), i. e. that most people prefer a MacBook Air to a MacBook. Let's see if they are right, now that the two are similarly priced.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
numbers25
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Oct 21, 2010, 03:37 AM
 
i was just about to post the same thing, gladly i took a little time to search if it was already posted.
Here's some review i think has a good point of view.
Yep, Apple Killed The CD Today
     
Eyenigma
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Oct 21, 2010, 04:07 AM
 


Still pining for the zip disk. I've spent a fortune over the years on blank media, anyone remember Jaz drives? Optical drives wont fully die until regular DVD players do. There will still be a (small) demand to burn movies to watch on the T.V. for those less technically inclined.

But I guess we'll have "trucks" per Uncle Steve
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Oct 21, 2010, 04:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by numbers25 View Post
i was just about to post the same thing, gladly i took a little time to search if it was already posted.
Here's some review i think has a good point of view.
Yep, Apple Killed The CD Today
Ah - the App Store being the other part of the story making optical media irrelevant for software distribution.

Good call.
     
Phileas
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Oct 21, 2010, 06:07 AM
 
I can count on the fingers on one hand the times I've used the optical drive on my MBP. Slow, unreliable, a pain in the ass. Give me cloud based sharing every day, if that's not possible just USB media.
     
Maflynn
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Oct 21, 2010, 06:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Apple expects the MacBook Air to be a mass product now (`we expect that all notebooks will look like this'), i. e. that most people prefer a MacBook Air to a MacBook. Let's see if they are right, now that the two are similarly priced.
I think the competition is not with the plastic MacBook but the 13" MacBook Pro

In comparing the 13" MBA with the 13" MBP, they are very similarly spec'd but the MBA with 4 gig of ram and a 125GB flash is 1,399 but the MBP is 1199. With that 1,199 you also get an optical drive, firewire port and the ability to upgrade to 8gb of ram and upgrade the hard drive. From the looks of it, I'm not sure you can easily or if at all upgrade the flash drive.

If I were to get a mac today and I was thinking of the MBA before the refresh, I'd opt for the 13" MBP. I was hoping to see that bad boy go to an i5 but with the whole nvidia gpu licensing/apple not wanting intel gpu, I think we'll not see an i5 in there any time soon
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Maflynn
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Oct 21, 2010, 06:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
I can count on the fingers on one hand the times I've used the optical drive on my MBP. Slow, unreliable, a pain in the ass. Give me cloud based sharing every day, if that's not possible just USB media.
Agreed, over the past few years the optical drive on my computers are only used to install the OS.
~Mike
     
Phileas
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Oct 21, 2010, 06:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn;

In comparing the 13" MBA with the 13" MBP, they are very similarly spec'd but the MBA with 4 gig of ram and a 125GB flash is 1,399 but the MBP is 1199. With that 1,199 you also get an optical drive, firewire port and the ability to upgrade to 8gb of ram and upgrade the hard drive. From the looks of it, I'm not sure you can easily or if at all upgrade the flash drive.
I honestly don't think that the vast majority of users will ever think about upgrading a laptop, beyond perhaps maxing the ram.
     
subego
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Oct 21, 2010, 08:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
From the looks of it, I'm not sure you can easily or if at all upgrade the flash drive.
FWIU, the "drive" is flash chips on the mobo.
     
Oisín
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
Agreed, over the past few years the optical drive on my computers are only used to install the OS.
… and rip CDs to iTunes.

Originally Posted by voodoo
Considering [the MBA] is and always will be a super-niche product
“Super-niche”?

So that would explain why I’ve been seeing them regularly around universities and cafés, right alongside MBs, MBPs, and PC laptops, then? Sure, they’re nowhere near as common as MacBooks or MacBook Pros—obviously—but they’re a far cry from being a “super-niche” product. A niche product, perhaps; but no more so than a regular netbook. I see just as many MBAs around town as I do netbooks.
     
Phileas
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:26 AM
 
And this new MBA will expand that niche nicely. Hell, I want one, and I have no real use for it.
     
Maflynn
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
… and rip CDs to iTunes.
I haven't done that in years. The iTunes store has satisfied all of my music needs

So that would explain why I’ve been seeing them regularly around universities and cafés, right alongside MBs, MBPs, and PC laptops, then? Sure, they’re nowhere near as common as MacBooks or MacBook Pros—obviously—but they’re a far cry from being a “super-niche” product. A niche product, perhaps; but no more so than a regular netbook. I see just as many MBAs around town as I do netbooks.
I have yet to see an MBA in the wild, not in starbucks, the airport, Panera Bread, no where. I also work for a research hospital that has many Macs for the scientists, not just the high end, but all flavor of macs. With that said, I've not seen one MBA.
~Mike
     
Laminar
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:32 AM
 
I think it's funny when people think what they've seen personally is relevant on a larger scale.
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:34 AM
 
No shit. The first iPhones I've seen were this year.
     
Maflynn
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
No shit. The first iPhones I've seen were this year.
I've only seen one iPad on the subway/coffee house but I've seen the kindle on a daily basis - go figure.
~Mike
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think we're all expecting things to go bottom-up here. I think the last time I've used my DVD drive is when I installed Aperture right after getting the machine. That's it. I don't need an optical drive, certainly not on me all the time.
Well anecdotal story time! I have not used iPhoto, Garage Band or Pages in years. I certainly don't need them, yet they come with the machine and Apple *wastes* money on making and maintaining these apps I don't need.

Now, anecdotal silliness aside. Optical media is by far the cheapest and most reliable way to store 50GB units of data down to the CD. It is universally known. It is universally accepted. It is used for a variety of things, not just to install Apperture (which incidentally is an app that nobody uses, so obviously it is obsolete) but to store data, movies and sound.

Internet as a replacement is slower by far, more unreliable and quite expensive. Flash drives are only available in Spherics mind as a viable replacement - sure they technically could replace optical media techically, but like the hard-drive they are far more expensive (no less than $100 for a 50 GB flash drive and well a BD is way cheaper)

The great thing about computers is versitility, flexibility and user control. In essence they are a tool that you can apply as you need - you clearly don't need optical drives any more than I need the mini DisplayPort on the MBP (which I've never ever used) - but granted it is useful for many people.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Ditto. I've seen plenty in my line of work on conferences, for instance, and just gotten my boss one a few months ago. He is a bit of a pragmatic when it comes to technology (it just gotta work), but he has complimented on the machine several times now.
Oh I've seen one MBA in the wild, but in a very Apple-centric and rather wealthy crowd. It is the Cube, it is a flop - a complete and utter flop - but like the Cube, Steve has crush on it. Only this time Apple is rolling in cash and can easily justify spending money on a loss-maker such as the MBA, just for the heck of it. But mostly because, like with the Cube, Steve thinks this is the future.

It isn't.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Apple expects the MacBook Air to be a mass product now (`we expect that all notebooks will look like this'), i. e. that most people prefer a MacBook Air to a MacBook. Let's see if they are right, now that the two are similarly priced.
Exactly right, Apple does expect the MBA to be a mass product now, but it's still the MBA that was dying a slow painful death, only less upgradable and less powerful.

Let's see what happens, but my bet is on the one with the optical drive. And upgradablility.
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Oisín
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
I think it's funny when people think what they've seen personally is relevant on a larger scale.
Well, it kind of is, if you accept a city as a ‘larger scale’.

I realise that the fact that 75 per cent of the laptops you see in cafés and university libraries are Macs does not mean that Macs have 75 per cent of the laptop market share; and I realise that there are vast differences between countries and probably even cities within a single country. But that doesn’t mean that when you, as a single person, observe something over a long period of time, in a lot of different places in the same general area, it has no relevance to the general picture (in that area).

So yeah. If you can accept Copenhagen and surrounding areas as a ‘larger scale’, then I would suspect that the fact that I keep seeing MBAs in cafés and such places is actually indicative of the MBA not being a ‘super-niche’ product on our larger scale here.
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
So that would explain why I’ve been seeing them regularly around universities and cafés, right alongside MBs, MBPs, and PC laptops, then? Sure, they’re nowhere near as common as MacBooks or MacBook Pros—obviously—but they’re a far cry from being a “super-niche” product. A niche product, perhaps; but no more so than a regular netbook. I see just as many MBAs around town as I do netbooks.
MBP/MB consitute at best 20% of all laptops and you see some MBAs among these 20%. So it's what, one in ten of these Mac laptops? 2% of laptops you see.. well fine don't call it a super-niche, but I think it is a fair description.

(2% of all Mac laptops is far more than I've ever seen of MBAs, so I'm being nice here)
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Oisín
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:48 AM
 
Optical media is by far the cheapest and most reliable way to store 50GB units of data down to the CD. It is universally known. It is universally accepted. […] Flash drives are only available in Spherics mind as a viable replacement - sure they technically could replace optical media techically, but like the hard-drive they are far more expensive (no less than $100 for a 50 GB flash drive and well a BD is way cheaper)
You mean kind of like floppy disks were by far the cheapest way to store 650 MB of data, back when CD burners and blank CDs were in their infancy and insanely expensive and slow?

Remember that time? When burning CDs was neat enough for those few select who had the cash to buy CD burners and spend their time getting coasters, but creating very cool home-made CDs at the end? That’s sort of where we are with flash drives now. In a few years’ time, though, it’ll be a different ballpark altogether, and beginning to remove emphasis on optical drives (since they’re the logical victims of the flash drive, just like the floppy disk was the logical victim of the CD) now makes good sense, if you’re expecting flash drives to be economically viable alternatives in a couple of years.

Apperture (which incidentally is an app that nobody uses, so obviously it is obsolete)
Uh, yeah, sure. No one.
     
Phileas
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:53 AM
 
^ Dude. Consider the source.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 21, 2010, 10:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Now, anecdotal silliness aside. Optical media is by far the cheapest and most reliable way to store 50GB units of data down to the CD. It is universally known.
About 30 % of the DVDs I've burnt now have some unreadable files on them. And if you add the time it takes and the limitations (breaking up directories and things by hand), I think it's much cheaper to use hard drives (I still remember when I burnt my whole movie collection to DVD, an experience I don't want to repeat).
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
It is universally accepted. It is used for a variety of things, not just to install Apperture (which incidentally is an app that nobody uses, so obviously it is obsolete) but to store data, movies and sound.
I haven't burnt a DVD in probably 3 years. I use my iPod, SD cards or USB sticks to transfer files. Or my Dropbox since more and more of my friends are getting one. To transfer single or very few files, CDs and DVDs are very, very expensive, because unlike external hard drives, flash storage and the cloud, they're not rewritable.

In any case, you can get an external DVD drive from Apple which isn't terribly expensive, so it's not as if Apple has taken away the ability to burn DVDs and CDs now. The optical drive is a technology that has had its day: people tend to rent movies online, share files online and store files on external hard drives.
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Oh I've seen one MBA in the wild, but in a very Apple-centric and rather wealthy crowd.
Well, I'm in science so it's a particular crowd. But in this niche, it seems to be very successful.
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
It is the Cube, it is a flop - a complete and utter flop - but like the Cube, Steve has crush on it. … Only this time Apple is rolling in cash and can easily justify spending money on a loss-maker such as the MBA, just for the heck of it. But mostly because, like with the Cube, Steve thinks this is the future.
How do you know Apples makes a loss with the MacBook Air?
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Exactly right, Apple does expect the MBA to be a mass product now, but it's still the MBA that was dying a slow painful death, only less upgradable and less powerful.

Let's see what happens, but my bet is on the one with the optical drive. And upgradablility.
To be honest, if you ask me, I'd very much like upgradeable memory and especially upgradeable storage. However, I think the majority of people don't touch the innards of their machine and keep it as is. And as a second machine, the MacBook Air would make sense for me. Honestly, I think this is the future direction of computers: smaller, lighter, less upgradeable, but more than capable enough for the majority of the population. My predictions: the optical drive is on its way out and upgradeability will become more limited. The computer will become more of a commodity akin to a car: most people don't change the engine or replace the fuel tank, they just want to drive it.

What we still need is a better `synchronization' between portable computers and desktops. The best thing for me would be a MacBook Air that `docks into an iMac' or syncs with it so that I can seamlessly continue working with either machine.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
Status: Offline
Oct 21, 2010, 10:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Flash drives are only available in Spherics mind as a viable replacement
That must be why Apple is shipping the new MacBook Air with restore DVDs.
     
olePigeon
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Dec 1999
Status: Offline
Oct 21, 2010, 11:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Killing the floppy took ten years.
It's not dead yet. Many, many servers and desktop PCs require a floppy disk to manage BIOS.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
 
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