July 26, 2011

Apple Taking Hold Of A Future Without DVDs Or Blu-ray

Lee Rannals for RedOrbit.com

Have you ever purchased a new electronic device only to find out on the drive home that it has already become obsolete?  Well, don't get to attached to that Blu-ray player, because it seems as if Apple has snubbed it entirely.

Apple Inc. is known for its innovation in the technology department, but the high-tech company has also been known to lead the pack in cutting obsolete technology.

About 13 years ago, Apple became the first company to take the bold step of leaving out a floppy drive in its first iMac.
Its iMac G3 featured a CD-ROM drive, arguing that floppy disks were obsolete due to their lack of capacity and the growing pace of the Internet. 

Many users were appalled at this back then, wondering what the future held for their boxes of 3 1/2-inch 1.44-megabyte floppies.  Apple's solution to this complaint was for these users to buy an external floppy drive, which met its end a few years later.

Apple is paving the way, yet again, for another piece of technology to become so obsolete we may look at it 10 years from now as if it was a fossil that archaeologists unearthed that speaks of simpler times.

The company has been sneaky, almost in Willy Wonka-type fashion, by taking optical storage devices out of its computer line. 

Apple did not include any form of optical storage for its Macbook Air line that was introduced in January 2008. 

A few critics were apposed to the idea, while most understood that a DVD-ROM drive would just add more bulkiness to the "World's Thinnest Notebook," which lacked the CPU strength to really take advantage of big software anyways.

Now, Apple has stricken its Mac Mini of optical storage with its latest refresh.  This is a line of computers that has been around since 2005, not some new device marketed as thin.

Apple also skipped Blu-ray altogether, a technology that has been slowly trying to outpace DVDs. 

It seems this company, who has plowed the row for many years with new innovation, understands that the future is not in the form of some physical media anymore, but is held in the form of cloud computing.

Apple unleashed its Mac App Store in January this year, which is an online store similar to its App Store for iPhone applications, but specifically made for computer software.

Apple has also been slowly taking more software off its shelves at its brick-and-mortar stores across the country.

The difference between this change and the transition 13 years ago is that Apple seems to be moving away from having any need for a form of storage media format at all.

This move could trickle down and effect more than just computers. 

Computers, TVs and the Internet have become increasingly unified over the past few years.  With streaming services like Netflix and Hulu gaining momentum, this move by Apple could be the first by a major company to say hasta la vista to the need for any type of disc-storage devices completely.

The future for watching movies at home might be dependent on devices like Apple TV, or Sony's Google TV.  These devices boast its entertainment through applications downloaded through the Internet rather than a using a disc. 

Samsung and other big television manufacturers are giving their TVs the ability to download applications.  Even Blu-ray players are being shipped with the ability to download applications that stream video.
Between taking away floppy drives, introducing the iPod, creating the iPhone, and developing a new-type of market with its iPad, Apple definitely has been the pack-leader when it comes to innovation.  Whether it be the introduction or a devices, or the termination of old technology just past its prime, other companies seem to follow each of Apple's successful steps.

Though some may call it crazy here in 2011, one day we could look back at the laughable 50 gigabytes of storage capacity on a Blu-ray disc and ask ourselves "how did we ever manage with that?"


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