This year we’ve seen the end of the browser and the death of the web, and the end of the mouse, possibly even the death of the desktop tower. With the introduction of the new MacBook Air we’re seeing the death of the disk. No, not yet the hard drive (though the Air doesn’t have one; it uses flash memory instead). The optical drive.
When you get your MacBook Air and you open the box, you will find exactly zero optical discs inside. Normally, Apple includes at least one back-up DVD to reinstall OS X and other software if your computer fails. But now, that has been replaced with a super-slim USB stick. This stick, packed in with your manual, is all you need to reinstall your system now.
This makes a lot of sense. CDs were replaced by DVDs because they offered a lot more storage. But flash memory cards, such as the one Apple includes with the Air, are already blowing DVDs out of the water when it comes to storage. … But that’s only one half of the future.
The other half is a potentially much bigger announcement Apple made today. While Apple didn’t give a ton of details yet, it appears that this store will work pretty much just as their App Store does on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. There will be free and paid apps. There will be one-click downloads. There will be automatic updates. All that.
What there won’t be are any optical discs. … With the launch of the iTunes Music Store seven and a half years ago, Apple put the wheels in motion to kill the CD. Today, they kicked off their final assault. There will be no survivors.