DigiTimes is claiming that Apple will cease production of the non-Retina version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro this year as it prepares to launch refreshed Retina models toward the end of the year.

Apple is expected to stop production of the 13-inch MacBook Pro in the second half of 2014 and will replace the product line with thinner models equipped with a Retina display. Meanwhile, Intel will offer second-generation ultrabooks in the fourth quarter of 2014, pushing the notebook industry further into the ultra-thin era, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers … 

DigiTimes doesn’t have the best of track records, to put it politely, but this particular rumor doesn’t seem too unlikely: Apple discontinued the 15-inch version of the classic MBP last October, and there is only $100 difference between the Retina and non-Retina 13-inch models, making the decision an easy one for most people.

While there are definitely those who will miss the upgradability and repairability of the classic MacBook Pros (me among them), most people opt for the higher-res screen and thinner form factor.

If the rumor is correct, it will also be the end of the optical drive, which for most people has been superseded by a combination of USB keys and cloud services like Dropbox.

Apple obviously still offers the USB Superdrive for those in need of a last optical fix.

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32 Responses to “RIP Mac optical drives? Rumor suggests Apple to drop last non-Retina MacBook Pro this year”

  1. alphabetize1 says:

    I would like to see high-capacity USB flash drives sometime take the place of blu-ray when that gets phased out. I’m not a big fan of streaming all my content/digital downloads, and I like the idea of having a physical copy of the content I own. Flash drives I think would be pretty cool.

    • My impression is that the rise of streaming will do more to phase out the use of physical content mediums in general than just optical discs. I’d be surprised if we’d ever see widespread distribution of video content on USB flash drives.

    • I read somewhere they are making a new type of USB that will be reversable, maybe this technology will be the turning point?

      • Tallest Skil says:

        That’s a spectacular joke. “Turning point”. Man, you don’t see that very often…

        Anyway, no, I really doubt that a new USB shape would help this along at all.

    • Jim Phong says:

      Nonsense. Apple is wrong at not supporting optical media formats. It was a mistake to not support BluRay.
      The BluRay Association is going to release a new BluRay format and specification for UHDV 4K contents. Probably BDXL 100GB or 128GB media. Specifications surely to include H.265 as the new codec for 4K.
      Studios are not going to offer high quality, high bitrate 100GB+ 4K downloads of movies and tv shows. And if they would do that would be limited to a single proprietary closed device only.
      Don’t expect to be able to download 100GB+ files on iTunes.

      • Tallest Skil says:

        Thanks for all the ludicrous nonsense.

        Maybe just shut up from now on?

      • 4k looks nice, but for most people it’s not important. 1080 is plenty. It’s not the quality of the video they care about, it’s the content and it’s much easier to get content digitally.

        The people who go out and buy these ultra hd tvs aren’t thinking, “man I really wish I could plug my laptop into it so I could play a disk.” They will buy a blue ray player for their media center – most likely a video game console since. Who buys stand alone disk players? If the consoles that just came out aren’t able to support the new bluRay format I don’t see how it’s not going to get any penetration.

        Eventually 4k content will be streamable as new compressions are developed and internet speeds increase. In the mean time I don’t think people care that much.

      • Dafty Punk says:

        This is dead on though. Streaming looks OK for 99% of the people. 1% of us want quality. (And also buy Apple). I’ll take 50Mbit blu-ray HD any day over 4-7Mbit streaming.

      • People said the same thing about 1080p back in the day and now look where we are. H.265 and future standards will really help make streaming 4K video a non-issue. Hell, Netflix is already planning it out to stream 4K content. They even claimed that the next season of House of Cards will be in 4K. So it is not that far off in the future we’ll have streaming 4K.

      • …to add to my comment (because I can’t find an edit button) we already saw streaming 4K content during CES when they were showing off the new 4K TVs.

      • Jim, you misunderstand th reasons why Apple don’t have BluRay. It is better to check before making nonsense statements like you do

  2. i hope so! I bought the rMPB 15″ and I don’t miss the optical drive at all.
    I think it’s way better to have a bigger battery and a thinner laptop than the useless optical drive!

  3. It makes perfect sense, my rarely used the drive in my 2010 MBP as it is now and Apple is the king of “space management”. I think they want to take the Pro line and effectively give it the same battery life and thinness of the current generation of Macbook Air. And why not?

    • Yeah that’s a nice thought just hope they give us upgradability back to them(personally haven’t upgraded my mid-2012 mbp yet but want to). I understand the small form factor makes it hard but it would be nice to have it back soon in exchange for losing our cd drive fully XD

      • I really wish that just storage was upgradeable. flash storage is expensive and many people don’t think to upgrade it or can’t afford it and then a year later they keep running up against the out space alerts. Having to dump your iPhoto library onto a external isn’t much of a solution. Storage hasn’t kept up with increasing file sizes.

  4. You are not the only one who will miss the upgrade-ability of the classic MacBook Pros. It was nice being able to upgrade the RAM and storage drive aftermarket. There is a good chance I will upgrade to a newly refreshed Retina model either this year or next and whenever I experiment with pricing options I feel inclined to load up a BTO with upgrades to “futureproof” it since I know once I make the order I’ll pretty much be getting a static hardware configuration. And I know it’ll likely cost more than if I could’ve souped it up aftermarket like I usually do.

    My use of the the optical drive is next to nil but not quite nil thanks to some import goods I regularly get still including content on optical discs. I do have an old external USB 2.0 optical drive somewhere that I could dig out so that won’t be much of an issue.

  5. Well if need be when I upgrade again in a few years I can buy a cd drive to use with it. Just hope by that time they make it upgradable again…there’s got to be a way to keep that form factor but allow us to open it up and change what we want to make it better.

  6. aeronperyton says:

    Apple is always ahead of the curve when it comes to phasing out older, less used or less efficient technology (Diskette drives, CRTs, and soon the optical drive). Wonder how much longer they’ll continue to make the USB optical drive.

    And here’s hoping the spinning disk drive will follow shortly.

    • Jim Phong says:

      Optical drives are far from less efficient, less used or obsolete.
      It’s a urban internet myth that of the declining sales of DVD/Blu-Ray discs. If that was ever true then Amazon wouldn’t be selling millions of Blu-Ray discs worldwide continously…. they wouldn’t waste their resources and money on products no one was buying as the urban myth tells people…
      And by the way.. at the very high end enterprise level right now the best storage media is the tape. Ultra high density, ultra fast LTO tapes and drives (and the Sun Oracle proprietary ones,more expensive, even better). Right now LTO6 2.5TByte per tape storage 160MByte/s transfer speed.. with planned LTO7 (6TB+ and 250MByte/s+ speed) and LTO8 (12TB+ and 300MByte/s+ speed).

  7. I have ZERO problem with them dropping optical drives, but it would be great for them to offer full blu ray support built into the OS for those who decide to purchase aftermarket drives.

    • Tallest Skil says:

      It’s better for them not to do that.

      • I don’t think it would be too crazy for Apple to upgrade the superdrive in the future to support blu-ray discs. A few software tweaks and there it is. If you want a disc drive why not have the best? Isn’t that the whole premise behind the Macbook marketing strategy?

      • Tallest Skil says:

        >>I don’t think it would be too crazy for Apple to upgrade the superdrive in the future to support blu-ray discs.

        Then you know absolutely nothing whatsoever about Apple.

        >> If you want a disc drive why not have the best?

        Apple DOES NOT WANT A DISC DRIVE. That is your problem.

      • Dafty Punk says:

        A better way of phrasing that might be “It’s better if 3rd parties start making Blu-Ray playback software for OSX”. Blu-Ray data discs work fine in OSX with 3rd party drives. Does Windows even have native Blu-Ray video playback built in?

      • Tallest Skil says:

        They do! No one cares! Because it’s freaking Blu-ray!

        Seriously; at least two instances of said software exist, and MakeMKV+HandBrake has been able to rip and encode Blu-ray discs since at least 2008.

        You don’t hear more about it because people genuinely do not care about it.

  8. When I travel, I take pictures with a Nikon D800 and post-produce in Aperture. I never have less than 15Gb worth of pictures, no matter how short the trip was. I don’t trust Hard Drives with irreplaceable information, so I back-up to BluRay.
    Having said that, on the other hand I’m ripping all my movies from BluRays into an 8Tb WD Hard Drive, I never have to look for the BluRay, I just stream movies from my Hard Drive to my Apple TV. I also skip watching the ultra annoying previews.
    I believe computers don’t need optical drives anymore, I prefer to have an external optical drive which can be fixed and replaced in case it breaks.
    For people (like me) who back up big loads of important and irreplaceable information, I just wish there was a larger format than BluRay already. Nothing short of 50Gb.
    For me, if you can erase data by mistake, then it’s not an enough safe format. SD Cards are expensive and as trustful as Hard Drives.

  9. Apple’s move is a necessary one and it makes sense, because laptops are facing increasing competition from tablets which coincidently don’t have disk drives.

    Also watching bluray or 4k on a laptop screen is a waste, no? Wouldn’t you want to watch formats like that on a big screen? Most people I believe would and would probably have a cheap dedicated player for that.

    If you are still in need of a drive, there are plenty of third party external drives to choose from including Apple’s superdrive.

    I personally don’t remember the last time I put any disk into my laptop’s disk drive.

  10. After the MBA but before the new MBP retina I speculated the disk drive would be removed from the macbook pro and eventually from all macs. At the time everyone just scoffed.

    oh how the times have changed : ]

  11. Brian Friss says:

    I think it is important to distinguish use cases for optical vs streaming. For viewing, sharing, and collaborating streaming services are plenty for most. For archival properties and compliance physical media such as high capacity blu ray discs are still the way to go. Optical is dead and has been to the average consumer, it is the specific use case that drives the need.

  12. I still need an optical drive as long as every local shop which sells films does so on a DVD. The Computer literati may be able to use USB drives and live in the Cloud, but the man-in-the-street still buys physical media