Macrumors started the ball rolling by suggesting that Apple plans a new 15-inch “ultra-thin Mac notebook.” They already has an extremely capable 15-inch notebook (the MacBook Pro), but because of its optical drive and hard disk, it’s not really all that thin. Now, more than ever before, it’s possible to get by without an optical drive and anyone who has experienced the performance boost that a solid state disk offers will know what has been holding their computer back.
Apple has been a game changer when it comes to computing and Steve Jobs was adamant about staying away from Blu-ray. In a world of high-definition video, the puny 4.5GB that a standard DVD-R holds no longer cuts it. Thanks to increasingly fast broadband speeds, software can now be downloaded as quickly as it can be transferred from a DVD-ROM, so tell me again why we need optical media?
The folks at Infinite Loop have been working on weaning their customers off optical media — OS X Lion was download-only (and may eventually be released in flash drive form). Just about every program that counts is available via the App Store — optical media is redundant as long as you have a broadband connection, and for the few people who don’t there are external drives. It makes sense that the next incarnation of the MacBook Pro would look a lot more like its svelte cousins than its hefty predecessors.