The end of optical media? Goodbye Blu-ray…

Ben metcalfe has a blog post about Apple’s move to remove all optical drives from there new range of laptops.

You can install an operating system from any external drive – it doesn’t have to be a DVD, it can be a USB disk, external hard drive or even an SD card. But you do need some kind of external disk, in case you can’t boot into the laptop, leaving the OS as the only piece of software that needs to be delivered via physical medium.

You can already download iLife and iWorks via the internet and license them online. And with the announcement of the App Store for Mac, Apple is clearly signaling the end of physical distribution of software.

Tell the truth although I quite like the idea of optical drives, I’ve lived without them for years. I had a Toshiba tablet PC back when I was in university/college and it had no optical drive but lots of flash media slots. I guess now the Mac supports SD its a lot easier to imagine the ability to remove optical drives.

So in one mind, I’m thinking great but something also comes to mind, and ben’s on the money with this.

Finally, if you subscribe to the Steve Jobs way of consuming media, the CD and DVD also dead there too. All the music, tv and films you could ever want are available for download via iTunes – be it to your Mac, iPhone or AppleTV.

Even if you consume your media independently, the Amazon MP3 store, music-on-demand services such Pandora and the continued widespread use of p2p all support the end of the physical distribution of media. NetFlix (probably anticipating this) are about to release a streaming-only service very soon too.

If you subscribe to the Steve Jobs way of thinking. Well I don’t but I’m interesting in the battle between online media and optical drives. Steve Jobs has always seemed to hate Blu-ray and I’m wondering if this strategy will shift to the desktop machines too? I’m sure control over all entertainment media is in Steve Jobs master plan somewhere?

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.