New IMacs?

Well, Ol’ Bessie, my faithful Macbook, has been growing long in the tooth, and after a frustratingly failed attempt to upgrade to Snow Leopard (yeah, I know), I thought it might be time to look for something younger, thinner, and sexier.

Speaking of sexier, my dad finally joined the computer age and bought an IMac desktop over the summer. In fact, I’m writing this post on it right now, watching the letters cascade over this gorgeous 27-inch monitor as I type them.

My Macbook was my first laptop, born out of necessity for a portable computer. Since then I’ve bought an IPad, and I’ve come to realize that it aptly handles most of the portable issues I had before (and will be even better if I get Scrivener on it hint hint). My Macbook rarely leaves my desk anymore.

So I loaded up the truck and went to town to peruse the desktops. And I saw the new models. At first, I thought, “Cool, they’re even thinner.” But then I noticed they’ve removed the optical drives. Now I’m a little hesitant.

The simple answer is that I can buy an external drive. I remember way back in Ye Olde Days when I bought my first external CD burner and felt like a god among mortals. But that was back in Ye Olde Days and this is the present. I had half-hoped that the next stage would be Blu-Ray drives or something to that effect, but this just seems like we’re going backwards. It may seem like I’m nitpicking on a trivial issue, but I have a very good reason for not wanting to buy an external optical drive: I just don’t wanna.

Still, it left me curious as to why Apple chose to make this move. Are they expecting optical drives to completely phase out over the next couple of years? Did they remove it purely for aesthetics, so they could make an even thinner model? Is there some scheme that Apple hopes if you don’t have a CD/DVD drive you will resign to shopping more in the App Store and on ITunes? Is it all of the above? Am I just missing that nerdy guy in the turtleneck too much?

I went looking at the new IPhone 5 a few weeks ago (since I still carry a dumb phone), and the big sales pitch was something similar. What’s new? Well, it’s…thinner. Well, I suppose that makes sense. It is a rather bulky phone to carry around with you.

Then I see these commercials for the IPad Mini. Personally, I love the size of my IPad, and all I can thing about the Mini is if you want a smaller screen, then just go buy an IPhone. I don’t get the allure of the Mini. It can’t be cost, because it’s still more expensive than comparable tablets and only $70 cheaper than the regular IPad.

Which brings me back to the desktop. My dad’s desktop is maybe 2 inches thick and has a DVD drive. The new IMac is certainly thinner, but no DVD drive. Is there such a thing as too thin? I wasn’t really worried about it being any lighter considering I wouldn’t be toting a desktop around. So I’ve decided to think on it for awhile and look around at other desktops.

What do you think?

Well, now …

My last few incarnations in MacLand have been: (1) a generation 1 17" MacBook Pro, with a DVD drive; (2) a generation 1 MacBook Air, no internal DVD drive; (3) a late 2010 MacBook Air, no internal; (4) a late 2011 17" MacBook Pro with an internal DVD drive.

On (1), I used the drive to begin with, but then the poor thing fell off a chair, the case got slightly damaged, which put the drive out of alignment with the slot in the case with the result that when I next used it on extracting a DVD the disk got scratched and rendered unusable. So I took over an external that my wife had bought for some reason but wasn’t using. At the time, I needed a burner, as I was doing a fair amount of voice-over recordings and needed to burn them onto CD to get them to the client.

On (2) I reached the point where lugging the 17" (moveable desktop!) around every day was becoming unbearable and the Air came out, so I got one for taking to lectures and having with me all the time. My external DVD burner was firewire and incompatible with the Air, so I lashed out on the external, which I still have. I think I’ve used it 5 times in 3 years.

On (3) I can use the external that I bought for 2. I think the last time I used it was on this one to watch a DVD, as I didn’t have a DVD player in the flat I moved into in Dec. 2010. I keep thinking I should handbrake one or two of my DVDs onto this so I can have something to watch when I go back to China, but I can never be bothered.

(4) of course, has the internal DVD … it’s never been used.

So, for me, having an internal DVD is a matter of no moment. Of course, as I am personally laptop (moveable desktop) oriented, slimness and lightness is much more important, and an external does the job just as well when needed. My wife has an iMac with an optical drive. I don’t know how much use it’s had, but as she works on a website for which she is responsible for a lot of video media, being able to use DVD to transfer large projects with collaborators is necessary. But for that, an external is just as good.

So, unless you’re going to be watching a lot of DVD movies on your iMac, I think an internal is becoming a matter of history. You don’t install software that way any more; music and video is more and more downloaded, rather than purchased on optical media … But if you really want one, why not see if Apple have any refurbished last generation iMacs available, which will save you money anyway, money that you can spend on DVDs to go in it! :laughing:


Just buy yourself an iMac like your dad’s. That same model will probably be cheaper now, since they’ll be pushing the sexy newcomer. Also, since you are at Uni…a student…uurrgghhh!!!, you’ll qualify for an Educational discount…I think.

Back in the day (07), in a failed attempt at kicking my ME into touch, I invested in 17in iMac; posh reclining swivel chair; Writing Course, and Scrivener…naturally.

It soon became apparent, that as far as the object of the exercise was concerned…I was pissing into the wind. Poorly educated, and possessed of a rouge brain, apart from fannying about aimlessly with bits of nonsense, I never had any need to use my iMac’s Superdrive to back up my work (that’s work as in misnomer). In fact, I never used the drive to burn anything at all. Two month outside the John Lewis two year guarantee, it packed up. Wouldn’t accept the discs. I’d watched three Harry Potter movies on it, and played about thirteen classical music CDs. I suspect it was a software problem, not hardware, because the motherboard packed in, mid Dec in 2010.

Point being, young fella, if you have a serious amount of work to back up externally, apart from the Time Machine thingy, external hard drives with terabytes of capacity abound as well as the now ubiquitous cloud based storage…like drop box, etc.

As Mark says, if you’ve lots of discs: movies&music etc., that you watch on your computer, then with an iMac like your dad’s, you’re sorted for the next three years if you get Apple Care. By then we’ll probably all have computers implanted in our rear ends and there’ll be no laptops and desk tops. Just arse based computing,

Dad’s iMac!! Way t’ go, young ‘n’. :wink:

Sad to say ('cos I love a good argument) but I generally agree with both Vic and Mark. In fact I’ll go further than Mark and say that physical media is becoming history. Apple now believe that people will buy (or stream) their digital media online rather than on disc. I still remember their shock decision to remove floppy drives from their iMacs - radical move and, according to many pundits at the time, a big mistake - turns out the pundits were wrong and Apple just read the market. Similar logic now applies to CD and DVD.

For myself, I still occasionally watch my old DVDs on my MacBookPro, but I can’t remember the last time I rented or bought one. Our house is almost entirely free of physical media: we stream TV shows on our computers (we don’t even own a TV anymore) and we download or stream movies (iTunes, YouTube, Crackle, etc). Despite the almost infinite resources of the internet, I have heard tales that there are people who still buy physical CDs for their music and DVDs for their movies. However, we don’t personally know anyone who does.

So would I buy a computer without an internal DVD drive? In a heartbeat - especially if it was one of those shiny new iMacs with a Fusion drive. Would I buy an external drive? Probably, because I still have the box set of Star Wars on DVD to re-watch occasionally*, but it wouldn’t get a lot of use.

*because without a TV it’s difficult to watch the real Star Wars box set on VHS.

There was a similar argument years back about the iMac and floppy drive.

A few things.

(1) With no optic drive they have less heat and more space.

(2) Without the Optic drive you are less apt to install a program via disc and purchasing that disc from a 3rd party and instead will probably go for buying from the App Store where apple and the developer can make more profit ( no shipping, no disc making or retail packaging, no printing, just all digital.) This profit is an incentive to developers and also to Apple.

(3) Since no optic drive if you do want one you will need a 3rd party one. This drives more demand to 3rd party developers and more accessory sales. This makes 3rd party manufacturers happy and making more products which in turn creates more consumer attention because there are more “options” when it comes to accessories.

  1. Set your old laptop up as a “shared” optic drive.

  2. The optic drive is just not used like it was (except for some industries like audio/video) for average users. Flash Drives, cloud storage, and networked transfers are more common. Apple is making a move for many reasons but they can drive change like that a lot faster than their competitors. It is a smart move on their part and users still have the option to buy a 3rd party drive so there still is an optic solution. With the native (since 10.4) shared optic drive Apple is not leaving anyone completely in the dirt making the new hardware transition.

The Audio/Video people are mainly using Mac Pros (which need a refresh bad) so Optic drives will probably stay in those models because that is where the most usage will probably come from.

Yeah, it’s probably just me then, because I have an older computer with no cloud or app store. Oh well. I’m going to put off buying a new computer for a few months and look around at what else is out there. If I go Apple’s route than I might as well just get an Air even though I don’t want another laptop.