Reports this morning indicate that the next Mac OS X update will be distributed via the Mac App Store. Although an optical disc will still be available for users that just absolutely love nostalgia, all roads point to a future filled with streaming bits. Next up: a DVD burning party at Comiskey Park. Long live the new flesh! Sorry- strong-arming references here.
The news follows on Apple’s announcement that the next version of Final Cut Pro — the amazing-looking “X” that has skipped a few versions for good luck — will be available for download next month, also via the App Store (Final Cut Pro X increases temptation to switch from Adobe Premiere Pro).
Not surprisingly, word is the next MacBook Pro refresh will also do away with the SuperDrive, in turn making more room available for larger batteries and slimmer design; both mighty fine trade-offs in my books. I can’t recall ever using the optical drive on my MBP.
It feels like 1998 (or 1979) again.
We’ve seen this before. A similar scenario went down when Apple ditched the floppy drive when it introduced the original — candy colored — iMacs. They came only with a CD-ROM. At the time it was yet another aggressive, forward-thinking move by Steve Jobs. There was some short-time pain. A lot of software back then was only available on floppy (imagine!). Nevertheless the decision was prescient.
This time, however, I don’t think there will be any backlash when the SuperDrive and optical discs in general disappear. Here’s why.
We already live just fine without discs
Two of the most popular devices today are smartphones and tablets (i.e. the iPad). Neither have optical discs… obviously. Do we miss them? Not one iota.
Bandwidth is fat and plentiful
Remember when CDs first came out? We were told that we could store an entire encyclopedia collection on one disc! HD video, however, was just a sci-fi fantasy. Who would’ve imagined, aside from someone like George Gilder perhaps, that we’d be streaming 1080p video with nary a hiccup?
Cloud computing is here, for real
I get a laugh when I hear fearful stories of storing data in the cloud. Well, that was until the Amazon and Sony (especially) fiascos. Then again, we already store our most valuable personal information in the so-called “cloud” — on servers owned by others, not on our laptops. It’s our banking information, financial records.
As a bonus, I offer another reason that going disc-less makes perfect sense: the price of gas. The cost just to drive to your nearest retailer to pickup your favorite software (Portal 2) can alone incur costs equivalent to the purchase itself.
Mac OS X Lion (10.7), the eighth major release of OS X, is scheduled for a summer release. Boogie shoes not included.