Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, January 24, 2021

While the tech world was all agog by last week’s unveiling of the silly-thin MacBook Air, Matt Mason noticed a key missing component from Apple’s new portable, with potentially paradigm-shifting consequences:

The MacBook Air has no CD drive. When the original iMac lost the disc drive, the floppy quickly went the way of the Dodo. Now Apple have done the same thing to the CD, and quite possibly hastened the demise of the DVD too.

An additional sign of the shift in digital media since Apple’s last drive-streamline: When the iMac was released without the then-standard floppy drive, Wintel manufacturers roundly derided the move as premature and not reflective of consumer needs. That proved hollow soon enough, as within a couple of years every other computer maker dropped the flop as well.

But today? No one even batted an eye at the Air’s lack of front-loading drive. That’s because file transfers via the Web, via wireless and via USB drives is so commonplace that no one’s relying upon shiny discs for that sort of heavy lifting.

I’m not sure there’s still not cause for concern. While computing work has largely bypassed the DVD drive, it’s still used quite a bit for movie disc playback. Digital delivery of movies/television shows is progressing, but the convenience and affordability of retail DVDs means those discs still loom large in the mainstream. So I see people clinging to the DVD drives a little longer just for that, meaning that the phase-out might not happen as quickly as it did for floppies.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/24/2008 11:23pm
Category: Tech
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