Apple bans Blu-ray from Macs: Discs are 'holding us back'

Apple has banished Blu-ray from the MacBook and iMac because, it says, discs are "holding us back".

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Apple will never let you watch Blu-ray movies on your Mac, because discs are "holding us back". Apple has revealed the reasons the new MacBook Pro with retina display and the new super-slim iMac ditch disc drives altogether, and it's bad news for Blu-ray.

Apple marketing mouthpiece Phil Schiller told Time Blu-ray comes with "issues unrelated to the actual quality of the movie that make a complex and not-great technology".

Apple's not-like of Blu-ray is just one of the reasons why the very latest Apple computers ditch discs completely: Schiller says rotating discs "have inherent issues -- they're mechanical and sometimes break, they use power and are large. We can create products that are smaller, lighter and consume less power.

"These old technologies are holding us back," he adds. "They're anchors on where we want to go."

Aside from any technical issues Apple may have, ditching discs makes business sense for the fruit-flavoured Californian company. Apple doesn't make any money when you watch a film on a disc, but, because it sells movies as downloads in the iTunes Store, it does create an opportunity to make money when it drives you away from discs.

If you can't stick a Blu-ray or DVD in your new Apple computer, you might download the film from iTunes instead. More money for Apple's coffers, but not so great if you have a large collection of DVDs.

If you can't let go of your little spinning plastic plates for your filmic fix, you can get an external Blu-ray player, or look out for films that include an Ultraviolet version. Ultraviolet is a service that stores a digital copy of selected films you can buy on Blu-ray.

Purchase the disc and it comes with a code that allows you to stream or download the film to your phone, tablet, laptop or computer. In other words, you have the box for your collection, the disc for your telly, and the digital version for everywhere else.

Or you could, y'know, thumb your nose at Apple and buy a proper computer with a disc drive in it.

Do you think Apple should keep disc drives in the iMac and MacBook, or is it time we were freed from the shackles of physical media? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.