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iMac and Mac Pro could ditch disc drives, OS code hints

Apple's desktop computers could be about to lose their optical drives.

Apple's desktop-bound iMac and Mac Pro computers could be about to lose their disc drives, configuration files in OS X Mountain Lion reveal.

An Appleinsider reader noticed the cryptic clue, which appears in a configuration .plist file that's used by Boot Camp Assistant, a bit of software that helps you install Windows on your Mac.

The file details newer models of Mac computers that can boot up an older operating system from a USB drive, handy if your computer lacks a disc drive. While a few Macs in the list do have slots for a CD or DVD, most are models that lack that disc-chomping capability.

Nestled among those models numbers are two that refer to Macs that haven't come out yet, the IM130 -- reckoned to be the next iMac -- and the MP60, which is thought to be an upcoming Mac Pro. It's far from conclusive, but does raise the possibility of professional-grade Apple gadgets devoid of disc holes.

The iMac was notably left out in the cold when Apple recently refreshed its lines of fancy computers, shivering in the snow outside the Apple family home and pressing its nose against a frosted window pane to watch the MacBook Air and all-new retina MacBook Pro dancing around a Christmas tree with Tim Cook.

The Mac Pro meanwhile was given a cursory processor boost and a snifter more memory, but hasn't been given a significant upgrade since 2010. Updates for both are tipped to arrive next year.

Apple appears to be driving out disc drives with its other computers, but would shedding this once-crucial port from its desktop machines be a smart move?

I can't remember the last time I stuck a CD in my computer, but I remember the cruel lesson taught by the browser-only Chromebook laptop -- just because you don't think you use something (like a bit of software or a certain port) very often, doesn't mean it won't prove totally crucial in the near future.

Could you manage with no disc drive? Tell me in the comments or on our Facebook wall.