back to article Blu-ray dropped from updated iMacs?

Apple has canned plans to integrate Blu-ray drives into its long-rumoured range of redesigned iMac machines, sources close to the company have claimed. Back in September, moles familiar with Apple’s PC plans claimed that the firm had decided upon a series of technical and aesthetical improvements for its iMac range. One such …


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  1. Matthew 17


    If you plug in a BD drive into a Mac could it play it?

  2. Mike Hartley

    Announcement "Later this month" - 22nd Oct anyone?

    OK - Who's willing to have a punt that Apple decide to show off their new toys the day MS launch it's new toys?

    There's only one way to settle this of course - FIGHT!!!!

  3. jason 7

    Well its not needed is it?

    As I was informed about 18 months ago by a Mac using friend who defended the fact that some Macs still didnt come with DVD burners as standard that 'only musicians and video experts needed them!'

    I guess only movie directors need Blu-ray at the moment?

    Dear oh dear.

  4. dave 93
    Thumb Up

    Spinning disks are already obsolete, no?

    No-one told Hollywood though ;-) Seriously, music is about to adopt a solid state format (custom USB memory stick) to compliment online sales. I guess HD movies will follow shortly. Investing in BluRay now just isn't worth it, esp. when Apple want to sell you movies via iTunes!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Well its not needed is it?

    Out of interest, which Macs were these as I've feeling it was longer than 18 months ago or both you and your friend don't know what you're talking about.

  6. Ian 62

    Choose your tinfoil hat

    Currently, you can use a Blu-Ray for data, but not movies. MacOS doesnt have the codec for it.

    2 conspiracy theories on this..

    1) The 'required' encryption on the digital video signal isnt there. You'd be able to get round the copy protection via a DVI/HDMI breakout box. That'll be something the Blu-ray consortium folks will be leaning on apple about.

    2) The more sinister plot... Apple wont support blu-ray as they want you to get all your movie needs via the video iTunes rental market. More cash for them.

  7. magnetik

    @jason 7

    Which models would that be? I don't recall seeing any Mac that didn't come with a "superdrive" (as Apple call them) in the last three years.

    BD definitely should at least be optional on current Macs. I personally don't care much for BD movies (too expensive) but wouldn't mind backing up some data on 50GB DL disks.

  8. Bilgepipe

    So What?

    Who needs it, really? People watch movies on TVs, and for the minority who want this it's not worth riddling the OS with Microsoft-style DRM checks.

  9. Rob Davis

    Blu-ray versus AppleTV

    I think Apple exclude Blu-Ray on the grounds of:

    1) Licensing costs

    2) Competition with their HD AppleTV and iTunes content; they'd rather people spend money with them and buy videos/films online from these than buy Blu-ray

    3) (For notebooks): Power consumption - mobile Blu-ray chipsets is still in early generations and not so power efficient and will impact Apple's headline battery times.

    @Matthew 17 Posted Friday 16th October 2009 10:04 GMT "Codec?"

    If you plug in a BD drive into a Mac could it play it?

    I should think so. Apple application Toast disc burning software supports burning to (external) Blu-ray. The codec for Blu-ray isn't esoteric; it's a matter of someone writing the software if Toast, VLC, Core or others haven't already. Using similar hardware to PCs, Macs are more than adequately able to run such Codecs.

    @jason 7: I think Apple are banking on people obtaining and exchanging content online, assuming that internet speeds catch up. Not the first time that Apple have omitted removable storage from their offerings: think back to the Angle-poise iMac not having floppy discs.

    That said, people may still want the piece of mind of being able to robustly archive large amounts of data conveniently in one place. For that, Blu-ray is a worthwhile consideration: I have an external LG Blu-ray USB 2.0 burner for just that reason: saves me burning several DVDRs when one Blu-ray will hold the same.

  10. Richard 102


    Ha! My MacBook Air didn't come with a DVD Burner! Ha! HA!!!!

    (I think I need to spend some time away from kids and MCSEs.)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    No surprise

    As Jobs said - Blu Ray is a "Bag of Hurt". It's all do with the DRM / Copy Protection and, I suspect, licensing.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @dave 93

    Music and Blu-ray disks are going to be replaced by a solid state USB device? Just think about the cost differentials between production of a disk (pence) and production of a SSD (pounds). Then think again.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mac users - What are they good for?

    It's at times like these that I realise the useful purpose served by Mac users.

    I would like an i7 processor but they're too expensive, and for the same reason you're not going to find any average family PC from HP or Dell shipping with them. There just aren't enough gamers making their own i7 systems or buying Dell's specialist games machines with an i7 to turn them mainstream.

    But because Apple always charge well over the odds for what they give you, they can afford to be early adopters of things like i7 chips and give Intel enough of a regular trickle of revenue to recoup some R&D and lower the price for us PC users in a year or two.

    So for us to be able to pay £140 for an i7 tomorrow, we have to be very grateful to Mac users happily paying £400 for one today.

    God bless 'em. Each and every one of 'em.

  14. qwertyuiop

    It gets better and better

    So Snow Leopard chews your data up and you lose it 'cos you weren't able to archive it to a nice big Blu Ray disc...

  15. Michael C

    HDCP issues, mostly, and licensing

    To "support" and be certified to play BlueRay, the hardware, including all components between the Disk and the screen, must fully support HDCP encoding, just in case an inserted disk uses the appropriate copy protection bits. This is a hardware architectural change requiring different chipsets, compatible graphics adapters, and methods for preventing inline copy of video data in flight.

    Then there's the power draw issues, heat generated from the drive, physical size of the drive (not quite slimline yet), and other infrastructure issues.

    Also, Apple is not really set up for a product lineup to further complicate options. Since very few people want the extra cost of BlueRay on a Mac, that means models in stores likely would not be stocked with Blueray, and this might complicate their build to order timelines as well.

    Of course, there's also significant royaly involved, and other licensing costs, and someone's got to write the software to actually support the device (not just for video playback either). There are VERY few DVD writer/BR reader combos available. They either read only all, or read/write all, so getting a cheap BR reader means typically saccrificing DVD writing capabiltiy, or having 2 optical drives, or popping for the extra cost of a BR writer... then there's the software to author BR media as well.

    It is a bag of hurt. To include BR support may very well be half or more of the design costs of a new product line, complicate their distribution lists, and BR itself (drive prices) are at this point BARELY profitable. It;s a huge expense for the very small percent of people who care at this point, but unfortunately, that percent if not only vocal, but traditionally Macs are known for media, and this is a glaring contradiction.

    With a new line, and new chips, I would not doubt the system is capable of BlueRay at a hardware level. I would be more apt to suggest either Apple is not happy with the full array of softwar ebeing avaialbe, or the drives proviuded did not meet Apple's specs as promised to fit in their new casing design, or had heat/power issues, and had to be dropped until the drive manufacturer came into spec.

  16. Joe Ragosta

    Who needs it?

    "Who needs it, really? People watch movies on TVs, and for the minority who want this it's not worth riddling the OS with Microsoft-style DRM checks."

    While I agree, in principle, there's a practical matter which makes me wish for BluRay on Macs.

    When I buy a movie for my home system, I have to choose between the DVD version and the superior BluRay version. If there's any chance I will want to rip that DVD to my computer to view while I'm on the road, I'm stuck with the DVD version. So it's making me miss out on BR at home, too.

  17. Puck
    Jobs Horns

    Cost, cost, cost, and hubris

    The marginal/incremental cost over a DVD writer, of installing HD DVD, if it still existed, would be negligible.

    This is quite sad actually. Even without a worldwide demand crisis, pre-2007, the extra costs associated with producing Blu- Ray, seemed prohibitive, and likely to constrain the market for high definition DVD products extraordinarily.

    It is extremely ironic that Apple were one of the drum beaters for this unadoptable technology, the marketing of which crushed the rival which had the potential to reach a mass market.

  18. magnetik

    @Mac users - What are they good for?

    "But because Apple always charge well over the odds for what they give you"

    Total bollocks. Try "apple pc price comparison" in Google.

    "So for us to be able to pay £140 for an i7 tomorrow, we have to be very grateful to Mac users happily paying £400 for one today."

    Oh, so you have proof that the *rumour* about i7s in iMacs is true, and you also know the actual prices of said rumoured machines? Again, I say bollocks.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Just say NO to blupay

    Sony has you by their DRM.

  20. jason 7

    Base level Macbooks and Minis

    It certainly wasnt long ago (maybe two years/2007) that the standard macbooks and minis didnt have DVD burning as standard. Was an upgrade option.

    Sure they had DVD/CD-RW combo drives but no DVD burning capability. Rather late to have a feature that had been bog standard for a few years elsewhere.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Macs can play bluray video files ...


    if the DRM is removed. (VLC for one)

    I'm surprised slyfox haven't produced a version of anydvd for the mac.

  22. Christian Berger

    Would be a customer support nightmare

    It's easier if a customer calls you complaining his new computer won't play BluRay, because you can tell them that the computer just cannot do it.

    It's much more of a problem if the customer complains that BluRay used to work, but now it doesn't because of some DRM issues.

  23. Neil Stansbury
    Thumb Up

    Die BluRay Die

    Waste of time, money and DRM.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @ dave 93 @ Michael C

    .....Apple want to sell you movies via iTunes!

    ....To include BR support may very well be half or more of the design costs of a new product line, complicate their distribution lists, and BR itself (drive prices) are at this point BARELY profitable.....

    What a crock! I'm writing this on a 16-month-old dv6000 with BD-ROM, DVD-Multi (extra $250 on making it a $1000 machine) .

    At the time I bought it this 'iTunes Movies' discussion was already ongoing, then it turned out to be 720p ('you'll never see the difference' went the nay-sayers) rather than full-fat HD. Very few people have the broadband connections/tarrif and patience to pull down 30GB files and I still don't know of anyone who has (legally) downloaded and paid for FullHD movie (if this is possible). Some months I only by one film, sometimes I'll get half a dozen in one go. Latency is only how long Amazon take to post from Jersey, how long would it take to get this on a typical UK DSL line?

    Custom USB Memory sticks : what price for a 32GB? £30-40 today for bog-standard, how much for 'Custom'? ('I Saw You Coming').

    No BD on MACs? Epic Fail for a high-end choice.

  25. Matt 13
    Thumb Down

    who needs it?

    yes, who indeed, hell, who needed dvds? vhs prduced an adequate image on the tv of yesteryear....

    Apple arebeng petty... BD is currently the cutingedge consumer high capacity optical disk... Macs target base use to be graphic design and video... if you cant bun HD edits to an easilly transportable medum wht use is an hd editing rig??

    My vaio laptop has a slimline bd rw drive and it doesnt impact battery any more than a dvd burner. so that argument is silly, and hdmi out on the laptop means easy playingofbd films at my pikey friends houses!

    oh and my old powerbookhad a dvd rw in it years ago!

  26. LouDobby

    It’s the disk medium which is dying...

    Not just Blu-Ray, its much easier to download of the web. Increased broadband speeds are killing both DVD and Blu-Ray sales.

  27. Citizen Kaned

    @ Die BluRay Die

    one of the piss poor eyesight lot are you?

    everyone i know thats seen BR movies is very impressed. even the mrs!

    HD is a must on big tvs. not mentioning the superior audio too. and you can buy BR players for under £100 now.

  28. Alex 32

    @Rob Davis & @Citizen Kaned


    Completely agree with the pair of you.

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