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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  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.l.phil Jason Phillips

    Physical media is going bye bye.

    • Zangpakto

      Not for me and my company.

      The repair industry unfortunately will need it to support repairs on older units :)

      Apart from us though… your right… what is the point of DVDs etc anymore?

  • Robin A.

    Still no BluRay support on Mac… By an movie on iTunes. What a deal. Did Apple take an overview on the prices on the market’s in the reality? Did they noticed that original media from the store are often cheaper in with much more bonus stuff?
    And did the noticed that other countries still not having Full HD movies in the iTunes Store to buy? I life in Germany and the support around movies is disgusting from apple.

    • http://SaephanServices.com/ Kao Saephan

      Bluray was dead on arrival. They can keep pushing it, but adoption just isn’t growing. Apple will do what they think is best for them. Just go with whatever solution works best for you, that’s what’s important. If Apple starts operating at a loss, they’ll rethink their strategy. So far it’s working out great for them.

      • David Smith

        Making people buy from iTunes when some people don’t have a fast Internet connection or bandwidth limits isn’t right if someone spends 2 grand on a computer I expect a optical drive atleast and apple needs to get blu ray on there computers and stop worrying that it will hurt your dumb apple iTunes Store

        • http://SaephanServices.com/ Kao Saephan

          They’re not making anyone buy anything from iTunes. You have a choice and that choice is to spend your money elsewhere. I’m not worried at all. If a product didn’t meet my needs, I’ll just buy something else that does. It’s called common sense.

      • tony

        Blu-ray is, in no shape or manner, dead on arrival. Maybe Apple would like all to think that way so we can buy from their store, but it is far from the truth.

      • bsarules

        What data are you looking at? Blu-ray adoption is growing, as players are about $100 now a days and include additional functions not to mention blu rays can be had for a few dollars more than DVDs. Also Playstation 3 uses blu-ray for its games.

  • Dave

    My parents live in the country and don’t have high speed internet. They have satellite internet, which is plagued by the “fair access policy”. They are only allowed to download 320MB/day (and they pay $85 a month including equipment rentals). For them, downloading these programs is almost impossible. There are tools that allow the programs to download during off peak hours, which is 1-4 in the morning I believe. But they don’t know how to use them, and most of the programs wouldn’t be finished in three house because the internet is so slow. So a cd rom drive is a must. I mean, take it out of a laptop, but its a desktop computer! Why does it have to be thinner and lighter! Are we going to hold it in our hands?? Do people EVER look at it from the side?? Who cares how thin it is! Ever since Steve jobs passed, it seems like they have hit a revolutionary wall. They don’t know what they are doing so they keep trying to “refresh” the crap they have and make it seem like it’s something great. Like the mini ipad- you know, the same size that Steve Jobs said should have sand paper for people to sand their fingers down in order to use it. And for $329? Anyways…I’m ranting now. Apple has lost me as a customer…I’ll buy the phone but that’s about it. Not that it will make a difference to them at all.

    • Hmmm?

      Steve passed just a year ago. I think these have been in the works for quite a while. And the iMac is 5mm at the edge. They are quite good at advertising by not actually giving a full view of the Mac. It is still thin but not as remarkably thin as some people may believe.

    • http://SaephanServices.com/ Kao Saephan

      The new imacs are obviously not designed for folks like your parents. There are plenty of alternatives. If they insist on an imac, they can opt to buy an external optical drive. Otherwise, I would suggest getting what works for them and not worry about what Apple thinks will work for the masses.

    • http://rounak.me/ Rounak Jain

      *This wouldn’t have ever happened under Steve Jobs* DRINK!

      Seriously though, if the CD ROM is so essential to certain people, they can always buy a $79 super drive http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD564ZM/A/apple-usb-superdrive

      People buying a computer for more than a thousand dollars, surely won’t have a problem spending 80 bucks more to get functionality the require or depend on.

      • David Smith

        If I spend over a Grand on a computer I expect a blu ray drive or atleast a dvd/cd Bruner drive apple is getting to dam greedy by making u buy a external drive I don’t care what the apple external drive cost they could atleast include the external drive for free when buying a iMac . Well I’m off to buy the new HP all in one with windows 8 and guess what it’s $500 cheaper with a blu ray burner and a 2tb hdd

    • bsarules

      I feel your pain dude. Have dealt with satelite internet for 11+ years. Also I feel buying music isn’t as fun on iTunes. I would check cellu;ar internet options availible at your location. If you are lucky enough to have 4G LTE, take it and run. It is MUCH faster than satellite.

      Thankfully external optical drives comperable to the super drive are about $25-$30. This doesn’t justify not having one though and for the $1615 I paid for last years model I should have gotten a fast blu-ray drive. Oh well, it is a shame Apple couldn’t include a superdrive but then how would they make things smaller than they need to be.

  • http://SaephanServices.com/ Kao Saephan

    I don’t have any DVDs and never adopted Bluray. With out of the box support for most peripherals (updates can be downloaded), we really don’t need an optical drive. I’m sure there will be plenty of people who will argue it just as they did when Apple stopped including floppy drives.

    • David Smith

      Well your a lame

      • http://SaephanServices.com/ Kao Saephan

        You should be embarrassed and ashamed of yourself. I feel sorry for your parents. They obviously did a poor job of raising you. Grow up kid.

        • David Smith

          Shut up fat a** apple should pay you for being a d**k sucker but then again prostituion is illegal

  • Eugene

    I hardly ever used any CDs or DVDs, until I bought a video camera to film my son growing up. Now I need to burn them movie clips on DVD in order to send them to my grand parents who can watch those movies. Thought I would buy this iMac but isn’t gonna happen now

  • melvarius

    Personally, and I might be showing my age here, I’d rather have a physical copy of a movie/ software. They just take up too much god-damn space on a hard drive.

    Apple don’t half come out with a load of crap. The scary thing is the amount of people who believe every word of it without question.

    Sure I’ve had optical drives fail on me but they were cheap and cheerful ones. You get what ya pay for. The quality drives I have are still working flawlessly and they’ve out-lived several PC upgrades.

    I think Apple are just creating yet another smokescreen to funnel everyone who uses a mac into the monopoly that is i-tunes and making it awkward for those who prefer a choice / have optical disks.

    I have a large collection of DVD’s etc and I have no intention of buying them all again from i-tunes or purchasing an external drive.

    Thanks Apple but I think I’ll pass.

  • Juan

    Come on guys, I don´t remember the last time I used a CD or DVD on my computer, its obsolete, and I don´t think its going to come back anymore

  • Wayne

    Typical apple; form over function.

  • Tony

    If you dont like it dont buy it, STFU already with the complaints, they wouldn’t sell it if it wasn’t successful.

    • David Smith

      It shouldn’t be but dumb apple cum swallowers will buy a computer for 2 grand with no optical drive its nothing but a big iPad

  • http://www.facebook.com/warmseth Seth Clark

    No but I’d venture lack of a bluray or optical drive of anysort in the mac mini is a downer if not deal breaker I would guess the vast majority of users have one for a home theater media box.

  • Apel P

    That’s just plain stupid

  • Que

    here’s a thought. why not make the bottom of the stand a dvd drive?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003893033373 Сергей Игоревич

    5mm? how is it possible?

    • http://www.iphonehacks.com iPhoneHacks

      Yup, its incredibly thin, it’s 5mm at its edge.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Felix-Davila/1059225273 Felix Davila

    see how people are brain washed by apple they say a that a optical drive is not necessary and if you want one pay extra for it next they will sell imacs without a monitor and say it’s not necessary and if you want one it costs 500 additional and dumb people are going to say if apple says so it’s ok.how people are stupid jeez.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Felix-Davila/1059225273 Felix Davila

    check this out the next gen ibook will sell without a hard drive to make it thinner it will cost 4,000 and if you want a external drive it will cost an additional 1,000 for a 500gb and 2,000 for a 1tb drive stupid buy a PC for 500 with blueray and a 1tb drive and a 24inch monitor and save 1,500 for better use don’t be so brain washed. p

  • http://www.igeeksblog.com/ Jignesh Padhiyar

    There are mixed reactions to this whole thing but I think Apple has made one of those important, rare and leap-frog decisions that’s made once in a blue moon. Yes, it is going to hurt a few people who are either too accustomed to using physical drives but change hasn’t always been great for all.