Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 20th Jul 2011 22:01 UTC
Apple It's still Apple time over here. Apple has not only released Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, but it has also refreshed several pieces of hardware. Both the MacBook Air and the Mac Mini have seen spec bumps, and most interestingly, the Mini no longer has an optical drive (about time - that thing has become useless for me anyway; not even my workstation has one). They also got Thunderbolt ports, of course. Apple also unveiled a new Cinema display, called the Thunderbolt Display, for which a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac is required. Also... The plastic MacBook is no more.
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Plastic MacBook
by Elv13 on Wed 20th Jul 2011 23:06 UTC
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Heard this one before and it was back two month later. Every time Apple killed it until now they reverted their decision. The difference now is that the MacBook Air is not overproced anymore, it's only a 1k$ NetBook.

But I still think the Plastic MacBook have it's place in the line up. Even if I bought a MBP last time I went for Apple and will do the same if I ever do it again.

Reply Score: 2

Optical drives
by malxau on Wed 20th Jul 2011 23:11 UTC
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I noticed the demise of the optical drive in the mini (and MacBook), and wonder if this is Apple's not-so-subtle way of encouraging us to buy content from them. Whether software, music or movies, Apple-controlled digital distribution becomes simpler compared to traditional distribution without an optical drive.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Optical drives
by ourcomputerbloke on Wed 20th Jul 2011 23:21 UTC in reply to "Optical drives"
ourcomputerbloke Member since:

...wonder if this is Apple's not-so-subtle way of encouraging us to buy content from them...

No wondering needed. That's exactly what it is. And seeing as though it's apparently easier for everyone to distribute their software these days via the net, and therefore a level playing field according to numerous anti-patent posts over the past few weeks, nobody should have any problems with them doing it. Maybe they should provide links in the default Safari install to some of the other online stores just to cover their butts from those who would cry foul, if they don't already.

And the white MacBook will still be available strictly to education markets, sort of like they did with the eMac - to get rid of stocks ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Optical drives
by darknexus on Wed 20th Jul 2011 23:45 UTC in reply to "Optical drives"
darknexus Member since:

I noticed the demise of the optical drive in the mini (and MacBook), and wonder if this is Apple's not-so-subtle way of encouraging us to buy content from them. Whether software, music or movies, Apple-controlled digital distribution becomes simpler compared to traditional distribution without an optical drive.

So long as you can still use a USB optical drive, it probably doesn't matter over much whether there's one built in or not. Are the new Minis smaller, or did they put a second hd in that space? It would be foolish to waste that space, though doing so might help the heating issues Minis often have.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Optical drives
by wocowboy on Thu 21st Jul 2011 10:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Optical drives"
wocowboy Member since:

The new minis are the same size but they now have discrete graphics instead of an on-board thing, they now have Thunderbolt as standard equipment, and best of all, they now start out at $599, which is $100 cheaper than the past iteration. This is good to me, as I can buy more RAM since it's easily replacable.

As far as losing the optical drive, I couldn't care less, as I have not used the optical drive in my old computer in years. I don't see this as an evil plot by Apple either, I have not bought software on a physical CD or DVD in years either, for my Macs or my PC's. Software distribution is digital these days, get over it. The only physical copies I need of any software is a backup on an external hard drive.

Reply Score: 2

BlueofRainbow Member since:

Going back over the years, it appears that it usually took around 15-20 units of the removable media of the day for the full (uncompressed) back-up of an average user's hard drive - i.e. 360 Kb floppy and 5 or 10 Mb hard drive, 1440 Kb floppy and 32 to 65 Mb hard drive, 100 Mb ZIP or 120 Mb SuperDisk and 1 to 2 Gb hard drive.

CD-R/W drives started to really become affordable as the typical hard drive capacity was going through the 32 Gb mark. DVD-R/W drives did the same at the 125 Gb mark. The only removable media which could fill this role with a current 500 to 1000 Gb hard drive would be Blu-Ray (the 50 Gb variety).

However, Blu-Ray R/W drives are not yet quite affordable and will likely never be. The historical trend-setter (Apple) has refused to adopt them and now has also obselessed the concept of an optical drive.

Yes, it's possible to go fully for digital software distribution and the "cloud" for content back-up. However, has anybody looked at the global network bandwith requirement when the ~50 million iPads sold per year (and ~100 million other Macs) suddenly dial-in the mother server for the just-announced upgrade to OS X 10.8 (likely a 25 Gb download) a couple of years from now? Would we be getting the digital equivalent of the overnight lining-up at the Apple Store to obtain the just-released Apple device?

Right now, global network bandwith appears unlimited. However, as more and more stuff gets onto it - HD movies, OSes, etc.....the limit will be reached and everybody will be crawling.

Reply Score: 1

zima Member since:

I don't think ZIP and similar were ever a "removable media of the day" (so, overall, the supposed pattern is much weaker; plus, backing up whole HDD on media of such type would be a bit superfluous - with the amount of disc juggling in any possible restore, you could as well plan for a hypothetical reinstall of most everything and just back up important data)

Bluray should displace living room DVD players fairly soon, just via a "natural" rotation of equipment. At which point economies of scale might mean BD players (recorders?) finally arriving en masse at least in typical "desktop replacement" laptops...

And particularly "historical trend-setter" might be imprecise / Jobs seems to agree
Obsolescence of optical media not being quite here with the bandwidth issues around the world that you mention, vs. very cheap (in production / not like cost reductions would get eagerly passed on "consumers" in any variant) mass stamping of polycarbonate discs. But anyway, when the time for streaming HD movies arrives, we will probably (hopefully?) do it with some sensible approaches to network architecture.

Reply Score: 1

by WorknMan on Wed 20th Jul 2011 23:52 UTC
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Does the Thunderbolt connector have enough juice to power the display, or do you still need a separate power chord?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Thunderbolt
by broken_symlink on Thu 21st Jul 2011 00:03 UTC in reply to "Thunderbolt"
broken_symlink Member since:

Based on this image it looks like you need to plug it in, but it looks like the thunderbolt cable also has a magsafe connector on it, so you won't need to plug in your macbook separately.

Reply Score: 2

Link broken
by osborn on Thu 21st Jul 2011 05:21 UTC
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The Mac Mini link has an extra double quote before href="...

Reply Score: 1

No optical?
by FunkyELF on Thu 21st Jul 2011 13:37 UTC
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I was just about to start piecing together a HTPC.

Just moved from Florida to North Carolina and we are trying to go without cable / satellite.

We have internet and netflix. And have been managing, but there are new services coming out all the time that a random Samsung bluray player won't support.

For example, it does Hulu Plus but not Amazon Video.
We wind up watching History Channel on the laptop in bed.

I have come to the realization that for now... If you want to watch everything that you can watch on your computer on your television, you really need to hook a computer up to your television and support Adobe Flash.

Sucks, but that's the way it is.

Oh yeah... optical drive.... I'd want one if I were to use this as a HTPC. From what I understand Apple TV isn't really spec'd out to be a HTPC.

Reply Score: 1

RE: No optical?
by Kivada on Thu 21st Jul 2011 23:50 UTC in reply to "No optical?"
Kivada Member since:

Yes, for some stupid reason Apple doesn't see that they should merge the quite useless AppleTV with the Mini so that they could ave a decent HTPC/low end desktop machine.

As it stands now, I'd rather build something around the AMD A8-3850 with some decent 1866Mhz+ ram, since the integrated HD6550D is memory bandwidth starved and the fact that AM2-AM3+ heatsinks are compatible with the FM1 socket, so making it ultra quiet is a simple task.

Reply Score: 2