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back to article Lone config file in Mac OS X SIGNALS DEATH OF THE DVD

An avid Mac OS X 10.8 rummager reckons Apple may give the boot to optical drives - a suggestion based merely on the contents of a configuration file. The fanboi found the .plist file in the latest version of OS X, Mountain Lion. The document refers to future iMac and Mac Pro machines and includes options for booting, say, …

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Dupe

Thanks Chris but this very same thing was already pointed out last week, right here in an El Reg article:

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/08/10/apple_files_reference_mac_pro_imac_updates/

In comments, it was also already said that the same plist file also lists other models WITH optical drives, so the whole speculation is based on, well, nothing. Two articles about nothing is maybe a bit too much, even for El Reg standards.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Dupe

"it was also already said that the same plist file also lists other models WITH optical drives"

I'm not sure how that makes a difference; the point is some file has listed USB booting so OBVIOUSLY Apple is going to ditch optical drives. I think the cynicism is clear.

(As for the HardReg dupe, Chris's angle is on the storage side rather than possible new expensive laptops.)

C.

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FAIL

Re: Dupe

The only OBVIOUS* thing is that Apple is dropping booting from internal optical drives for some models, probably the ones that don't come with optical drives, this doesn't exclude USB optical drives.

It could of course be more to do with their strategy of not selling the latest versions of OSX on optical disk rather than not having optical drives at all (I don't belive Lion is/will be available to purchase on DVD).

Perhaps ElReg has jumped to the wrong conclusion, or at least not considered all the facts?

*p.s. why must you shout? either your point is valid, in which case it will speak for itself, or it's not and you're adding weight it doesn't have, and of course, it makes you sound like a petulant child, perhaps use less invasive tags which adds empasis and looks a little more professional?

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Dupe

"it makes you sound like a petulant child"

Well, guilty as charged.

C.

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Facepalm

Re: Dupe

Yes, obviously you should have used italics and finished it off with a cheeky ;-)

...otherwise it isn't quite so obvious, obviously.

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Useful and cheap

I still find DVD drives good for chucking a lot of stuff on when you need something easy and inexpensive.

I suppose I could use budget flash drives each time but they aren't as handy to have stacked up by the dozen on one's desk.

So for me a DVD drive is still going to matter and I would rather not have to plug in an external one.

I can see how it would make for sleeker machines but I am not too keen to strip out useful parts in the cause of slimlining.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Useful and cheap

@Lord Voldemortgage: "I still find DVD drives good for chucking a lot of stuff on when you need something easy and inexpensive."

I formerly used my DVD drive that way too. But over the years, the huge volume of data I work with has made the capacity of a DVD seem minuscule. The only practical option has been flash drives and/or external hard drives. I realise this won't be the case for everyone (yet) but I think my experience reflects a growing trend.

And those who don't create a lot with computers (think people who would be happy with an iPad), the cloud is a realistic option for backing up and sharing documents. Copying to an optical drive is often beyond their capacity to learn or implement.

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Anonymous Coward

Given the broadband speeds in my area...

...the cloud is pretty much unusable for me, and large software downloads, e.g. OSX, take all night. So dropping DVD support is irritating. I also sometimes watch old DVDs on my iMac.

As an aside, I bought the last OSX upgrade on USB stick, only to find that it wanted to download a further 1.5G of patches post upgrade. You can imagine the curses. Nice one Apple.

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Thumb Down

Uhm?

Like booting Windows from a USB stick? Why should this mean they're dumping anything?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Uhm?

It's also the case that (net connection aside) the only way to even purchase Lion or Mountain Lion is on a USB key...

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Joke

Re: Uhm?

Mac decides to allow something that PCs could do for 15+ years! "They never give us something for free, and we figure losing the DVD drive is the least painful," says mournful fanboi.

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Gimp

Big Deal

Apple to get rid of optical drives? So what?

Apple drives are notorious for failing anyway (both drives in my Mac Pro no longer burn). You can buy an external for a few quid and if it goes pop there's no big deal if you need to replace it.

Also external Blu-Rays work just dandy. And Apple isn't ever going to build Blu-Ray drives into their machines. If they thought they were worth having Apple would have included them way before anyone else. Doesn't make Apple right but that's the way they work.

I'm not convinced the DVD will go the way of the floppy though. Retailers have too much interest in trying to push physical media.

Me? I quite like DVD and Blu_Ray for viewing. But for data I fear their days are numbered.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big Deal

"I'm not convinced the DVD will go the way of the floppy though. Retailers have too much interest in trying to push physical media."

DVD will, although some other physical media may or may not replace it.

If you watch a lot of the major software houses they are moving away from retailer supply to online shops with downloading, this is beneficial for them, as they get the full chunk of the wedge, rather than having to give a slice to the retailer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big Deal

"Apple drives are notorious for failing anyway (both drives in my Mac Pro no longer burn). You can buy an external for a few quid and if it goes pop there's no big deal if you need to replace it."

Why single out Apple for selling computers with DVD drives that fail? Of course Apple doesn't make their own optical drives--they use the same drives as any PC manufacturer. Typically the DVD drive is the first thing to fail in my PCs too.

I also welcome the idea of iMacs with no internal DVD drive. It's easy enough to buy an external drive for $30 which can be shared between all your computers, and when it breaks, no problem.

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Boffin

Re: Big Deal

"Why single out Apple for selling computers with DVD drives that fail? Of course Apple doesn't make their own optical drives--they use the same drives as any PC manufacturer. Typically the DVD drive is the first thing to fail in my PCs too."

True, the main reason being is the stress they can be subjected to. IIRC optical drives can spin at up to 10,000 RPM, more than a consumer hard disk and without the guarantee of a balanced disc that's rigidly bolted to the axle. Plus the laser is guided on a screw that can wear over time and the "laser" itself is nothing more than a cheap diode behind a piece of moulded plastic.

There's some days I'm amazed they work at all!

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Silver badge

Re: Big Deal

I have a tower duplicator with 7 Pioneer drives in it. By my reckoning each drive has burnt approx 500-600 discs each over 4 years. I'm only now starting to see the occasional glitch. They are just off the shelf drives but have proved exceptional.

The Apple drives both managed no more than 30 burns each. Go figure.

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Pint

Re: Big Deal

"...the DVD drive is the first thing to fail in my PCs..."

<< My optical drives have NEVER failed. What are *you* doing wrong? >>

^ Absolutely joking. The << above >> is a typical mindless reply and I thought I'd toss it out there just to mock the nitwits that make such posts. Cheers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big Deal

If you're only using the drives for duplication then I assume you only put new discs in the drives. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the wear and tear and malfunctions of DVD drives are due to unbalanced discs as a previous poster mentioned.

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Silver badge

Re: Big Deal

"Why single out Apple for selling computers with DVD drives that fail? Of course Apple doesn't make their own optical drives--they use the same drives as any PC manufacturer. Typically the DVD drive is the first thing to fail in my PCs too."

It is worth singling out Apple on this. They make machines that are hard to repair, charge a very high price, give the stingiest warranty possible (sometimes worse than local laws demand, e.g. in Italy) and you end up with something that doesn't have a correspondingly higher build quality. Poor value for money.

At least a PC and most PC laptops it is quite straightforward, cheap and effective to repair them when something goes wrong.

Beyond that I don't care whether a Mac has an optical drive or not - I'd never buy one these days.

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I only use DVDs...

...for backing up folks data when I recover it from a knackered HDD.

As long as its 20GB or less then they supply me a HDD.

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Or

It could just mean any USB device so that could include a USB optical drive.

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Anonymous Coward

People missed floppy drives at first, then realised they didn't need them. Well, except for installing drivers for awkward RAID controllers.

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Silver badge

Indeed. I remember people moaning and it was ironically an era where I was having to spend time zipping files up across multiple floppies. 1.44mb wasn't enough!

We soon had cheap recordable CD's and PC BIOS's that would boot from CD.

But I don't think DVD is quite the same. Floppy became obsolete because of capacity. Optical currently is cheap and has enough capacity. But flash is dropping by the day to the point where rather than use a dual layer DVD I'll use a stick instead (dual layer take forever to burn).

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Silver badge

Flash is NOT a backup technology. Not by today's reliability, that is.

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Linux

Nonsense.

People were pining for a replacement to floppy drives for a good long while while any number of non-standardized wannabe's try to displace them. They all turned out to be worse than "obsolete tech" in some way or another, sometimes horribly so.

Older tech will disappear when people no longer find them useful and they are replaced by something else. This happens on it's own and has nothing to do with Apple's attempts to force the issue.

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Anonymous Coward

Optical drive is still useful for me...

...for burning CDs from iTunes to play in the car. I only recently acquired a car that was CD capable: cassettes before that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Optical drive is still useful for me...

My CD drive in the car eventually gave up the ghost, plus all the home burn CD's eventually died in the car temperatures. I went for a cheap £5 SD/USB to FM transmitter that makes use of the cigarette lighter socket.

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Silver badge

Re: Optical drive is still useful for me...

How about ripping CD's to itunes? Does anyone remember that that's how Apple got going again? Got any DVDs? You wouldn't be able to watch them on your Mac.

There might be some justification for it on an ultraportable, but on an imac? I don't think so. Having said that, there's no ethernet on a macbook.

The FDD/USB switch provided something better - Apple now seem intent on making things worse. I'm not setting up multiple WAPs around my house so I can stream mpg2 files over wireless, I just want a cable. If apple had brought in lightpeak with a network switch and made long optical cables cheap enough to use, I'd say they are driving something useful, but their current direction seems like a madness I don't want to join in with.

Until blockbuster rents on USB keys and music doesn't come on CD, I'll keep my optical drive thanks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Optical drive is still useful for me...

Apple isn't taking away your ability to buy a $30 external DVD player and plug it in via USB, which is my preferred solution anyway since DVD drives always break anyway and I already have an external player for my laptop.

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Gold badge

Never liked Bluray

Maybe that's a general thing with optics, but it takes them a looong time to get ready for work. Spinning up, reading index tracks (and with Bluray more happens, although I don't quite know what).

On the other hand, I think it'll be some time before they have truly gone, if for no other reason that I'd have to find something else as coaster..

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Silver badge

Re: Never liked Bluray

That's the player booting up. Many units are terrible and I assume it is down to slow processors or bad code.

There are some newer units that start much faster.

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Re: Never liked Bluray

Not to mention the DRM stuff and nasty Java based menus etc.

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Windows

Security air gap

CD / DVD drives are really useful for moving files across an air-gap network where USB drives are forbidden. They're also easy to shred once done.

Not that Apple give a damn.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Security air gap

I think you'll agree that is a niche, if not outdated, scenario. Why would you need an optical drive in every machine just for that?

How about starting to use encrypted USB sticks, which are safer - no risk of losing the CD before shredding it - and more ecological.

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What does author mean by 'upcoming' MBP not having optical drives...

The author said there were rumors that an upcoming 6th generation MacBook Pro might not have an optical drive. Am I missing something here? I thought the current MacBook Pro w. Retina display already didn't have an optical drive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does author mean by 'upcoming' MBP not having optical drives...

That's only the 15" MacBook Pro. The 13" and 17" models are also MacBook Pros and still have optical drives.

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Devil

Re: What does author mean by 'upcoming' MBP not having optical drives...

Speaking of the new Macbook Retinas (on which I am typing this) I needed to burn a DVD. So I got my little external Samsung burner and its two headed USB lead (it needs two ports to suck enough power).

Due to some ingenious design the 2 USB ports on the Mac are on opposite sides of the laptop which isn't close enough for the cable. So, no burning on the Samsung drive then!

I can't work out if this is just another escalation in the Apple v Samsung war or if it's just bad luck. :-)

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Happy

@Mr C Hill - Re: What does author mean by 'upcoming' MBP not having optical drives...

Try a USB extension lead to get to the far side for the second plug. From memory there's even a diagram of this setup on the Quick Start guide.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does author mean by 'upcoming' MBP not having optical drives...

Have you tried burning a DVD with just one of the USB connectors plugged in? This works a treat with my 11" MacBook Air. I would be very surprised if it doesn't work with your larger MacBook.

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Linux

Re: @Mr C Hill - What does author mean by 'upcoming' MBP not having optical drives...

Sounds a bit Pythonesque.

Of course the problem with USB DVD drives is that they take more power and require a second USB port and if your hardware doesn't put 2 USB ports together then you are kind of boned. You end up needing an extension cord just to power up your DVD drive.

The setup quickly becomes more bothersome and less portable.

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Silver badge

Hmmm, nothing to do with Apple having iTunes and the App Store around, eh? Come on, this is 2 + 2 stuff. Of course they're going to ditch optical media. Given the chance, they'd ditch the USB ports too. Then the only way to get anything on or off the machine is through their overpriced service.

I like my DVDs and BDs over online gear for this very simple reason: they're mine. Mine mine mine mine mine, and you can't have them.

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Happy

In Words

Yes, you've said what I was trying to write and then I gave up. 'They' are angling and to what end?

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Anonymous Coward

Not so

Was posted on Macrumors that after investigation the file has been in bootcamp since 2011. So nothing new...

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Just use an external one.

I recently built a new PC and decided not to go for an internal optical drive. This was because it would take up an ESATA connection I may well want for a hard drive and because, in my experience, optical drives seem to become hit-and-miss after a few years anyway and require replacement. So, I bought an external DVD drive for watching DVD video* and I use USB drives for everything else I would have used an optical drive for.

The only time I could see myself wanting a laptop with an optical drive would be on holiday to use as a DVD player but in that case I'd be carrying DVDs anyhow so a small external drive is no hardship.

I am certainly no fan of Apple but I think this is a smart move. Not necessarily because I think optical media are going to disappear in the next couple of years but because I think they are used less often, and you can usually plan for it, and external optical drives are two a penny. It allows Apple to make a sleeker machine (or put more in) and the user to replace their optical drive easier when it fails (since it'll have to be external).

*(In fact, if the movie and TV studios would get their collective Ass's into gear I wouldn't need an optical drive at all)

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Silver badge

Re: Just use an external one.

I recently built a new PC and decided not to go for an internal optical drive. This was because it would take up an ESATA connection I may well want for a hard drive

Must...not....nitpick...

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Linux

Re: Just use an external one.

eSATA? It's the same connection on the motherboard.

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The hipster's of tech, never mind your data backups...

Do they think Hard Drives and USB sticks are now reliable enough to replace optical storage?

I've known people to lose hard drives then while transferring to the replacement lose the back up drive too before the transfer was complete. I've also had friends say if not for the CD/DVD back ups on some things they'd have lost everything. Yeah, even in 2012.

If Apple is looking to discontinue optical drives on their products, it seems to me they're a bit cavalier about their customer's personal data storage and backup. Either that or they're trying to hard to be the techno-hipster about how their technology looks at the expense of your data storage.

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Re: The hipster's of tech, never mind your data backups...

>> If Apple is looking to discontinue optical drives on their products, it seems to me they're a bit cavalier about their customer's personal data storage and backup.

Surely the responsibility for the customer's personal data storage and backup rests with the customer?

Anyone needing a DVD drive can buy one for about 10quid online, Apple's computers will work with any USB drive, you don't have to buy their overpriced shiny one!

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FAIL

Re: The hipster's of tech, never mind your data backups...

You think home burnt optical storage is reliable...

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Anonymous Coward

The hipsters, and also we normal people,..

...use OSX Time Machine software to multiple NAS servers. I'd bet the average OSX user is better backed up than the average Windows user. Does anyone really use DVDs now for backup?

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