One of the biggest yet most underrated moves in the history of recorded music was the introduction of the CD-ROM player/burner in personal computers in the middle 90s. As software became more complicated, it was no longer practical to distribute programs on dozens of 1.44 MB floppy discs. A CD installation disc was much smarter. So computers started coming with them.
The unexpected effect was that these units could also play and rip normal CDs to hard drives. And we all know where that led, right? So if you're looking for someone to really blame for the rise of piracy and the downfall of the CD and DVD, look at Bill Gates and his insistance that Windows come on CD-ROM.
But that was a long, long time ago and it's time to move on.
Apple has been moving away from opitical drives for the past few years. And now that we know that the new line of iMacs will come sans any CD/DVD drive, this tells us everything we need to know about where the company thinks about the future of CDs and DVDs.
Apple, like a lot of other companies, believe that the future of everything is online and in the cloud. Why go through the hassle of possessing something when access will work just fine?
Companies that still derive revenue from the selling of product on plastic can't be happy about this. When the biggest company in the world says that your formats are no longer important to them, it signals a seismic shift in priorities.
And frankly, consumers will adapt. This isn't going to stop me from buying CDs. And if you want a new iMac to store all your ripped music, you can buy an external Super Drive for $70 for those occasions.
But make no mistake. This is another tiny nail in the coffin for both CDs and DVDs.