Apple’s Phil Schiller Explains The Reason For Removing Optical Drive From New iMacs

Apple unveiled the ultra-slim iMacs along with the iPad mini and 4th generation iPad at the media event on Tuesday.

Apple managed to make it 80% thinner than the previous generation iMac (just 5 millimeters in depth) by removing the optical drive and using new display technology. 

Even though Apple had launched the MacBook Air back in 2008 and the Retina MacBook Pro earlier this year without optical drives, it did come as a surprise that Apple removed the optical drive even from its all-in-one desktop computer.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief, in an interview with Time‘s Harry McCracken explained the reason for removing the optical drive from the iMacs and they will likely never come with native Blu-ray support.

“It actually comes from similar thinking as with the portables,” Schiller said. “In general, it’s a good idea to remove these rotating medias from our computers and other devices. They have inherent issues — they’re mechanical and sometimes break, they use power and are large. We can create products that are smaller, lighter and consume less power.”

Schiller pointed out that one major application for optical drives, software distribution, has gone largely digital. As for video, he said that “Blu-ray has come with issues unrelated to the actual quality of the movie that make [it] a complex and not-great technology…So for a whole plethora of reasons, it makes a lot of sense to get rid of optical discs in desktops and notebooks.”

His preferred Blu-ray alternative? iTunes, of course, which lets you buy a movie and then watch it on all your Apple devices.

Once upon a time, people assumed that Macs’ lack of Blu-ray was a delay, not a permanent decision to fast-forward past it. I told Schiller that I imagined folks don’t ask about it much these days. “Correct,” he said.

Users who want an optical drive or Blu-ray drive can buy Apple’s external SuperDrive or external Blu-ray drives.

Do you think the lack of an optical drive or Blu-ray drive in an all-in-one computer like the iMac is a deal breaker?

[via Time]

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