OK Apple, WTF is up with the combo drive? - Macenstein

OK Apple, WTF is up with the combo drive?

One of the many items I am considering using to funnel my $100 iPhone rebate back into Apple’s pocket is a new MacBook. I’m basically looking for something simple to use as a blogging device, as I’m tired of spending countless hours in my basement office, ignoring the family while writing my lame articles. My hope is that a laptop would allow me to ignore my family from every room in my house, not just the basement.

To that end, the MacBook seemed fine. As a graphics “professional” I often have a hard time buying under-powered technology, but I figured I have a Mac Pro in the office for “real” work, I just need a word processor with internet access, so no reason to drop an extra grand on a MacBook Pro. In fact, I was actually looking forward to getting the lowest-priced MacBook out there, figuring the $100 credit could land me to the mythical “sub-$1000 Mac Laptop” scientist have theorized might exist in a dimension that parallels our own.

But my fingers could not type the letters “W-T-F” fast enough when I realized that Apple is still including COMBO drives in their low end MacBooks. That’s right, COMBO drives. As in, “why would anyone want to burn a DVD?” combo drives. Considering Apple is pushing iLife so hard, the lack of a DVD burner makes iDVD useless, cripples iPhoto and GarageBand, and even iTunes’s backup features are left asking “WTF?”

Now yes, in theory if all I will be doing is blogging, I don’t NEED to burn DVDs off the machine, but I would like to be able to use the software that comes with it (and which I am in theory paying for). Neither the mini nor the MacBook, both of which have iLife listed among their included software, have even an asterisk warning you that some features, such as iDVD, would be useless without purchasing additional hardware. To its credit though, the iLife description says:

iLife ’08 suite for creating photo projects, making movies, designing DVDs, building websites, and composing music

Great. Because that’s what I want to do. I want to design DVDs, and then… delete them? How about sharing them with friends and family without driving to their house with my new MacBook?

The only other computer Apple offers a combo drive on is the low-end Mac mini, and here too, this seems like it has to be a typo. This is an $1100 laptop and a $600 computer (without a keyboard, mouse, or monitor) that don’t even have the OPTION to upgrade the optical drive to a DVD Burner for $25. You can upgrade the RAM, the hard drive… what makes the optical drive off limits? It’s the cheapest of the 3 to upgrade? At this point it would almost seem as though it should cost Apple more money to offer the combo drive instead of unifying their parts orders with SuperDrives across the line.

Apple saw that the floppy drive’s 1.44 MB capacity was all but useless in the age of CDs, and led the way in ditching the technology with its original iMac. Pretty much all PC manufacturers eventually followed suit, dropping the floppy drive or making it an optional add-on. But now it seems it is the PC manufacturers that are leading the way, as across the board you can upgrade a combo drive to a DVD burner for about $25, even on the lowest of low $399 desktops and $499 laptops.

So c’mon Apple. 700 MB ain’t what it used to be, and CDs don’t cut it. Kill the combo drive.

11 Responses to “OK Apple, WTF is up with the combo drive?”
  1. Rowlings says:

    Pretty sure all you’ll get out of this is an asterisk by the iLife suite saying it won’t work on the combo drived minis and macbooks.

  2. Yo Yo Yoda says:

    And what’s the deal with airline food?!?
    Agreed, it should at least be an option.

  3. Piero says:

    Don’t be this happy, almost all of the burners that come with macbooks sucks anyway, you burn 10 discs and 5 are bad recorded, i’ve tested almost 20 macbooks and all of them have the same problem, the burner justs sucks.

  4. Mike says:

    If all you need it for is blogging and internet access why not get a cheapo used laptop and load Ubuntu on it? No Windows headaches, next best thing to a Mac and likely will only cost you $300.00 Then you can use the $100 credit to something you really want

  5. Nate Perute says:

    That IS kind of bush league you can’t just add one of the cheapest and easiest things to customize. I guess they figure they made iLife good enough that people will pay an extra $200 to get a burner so people can use the software that comes on the computer they bought. Kind of lame.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well, they obviously do it to increase the perceived value of the “higher end” machines, but I don’t get they way they sell these at all. They seem to be sticking to their old “good, better, best” configurations, when really, all the Macbooks are the same. They could just list one, and throw on a “customize button” (like they have now), and let you have a drop down for processor, hard drive, RAM, optical drive.

    Seems pretty simple to me. And it almost IS what they are doing. People who want the best will still buy the best, and people who want to cheap out will still cheap out.

  7. Dee says:

    Well, I have a G4 Mac mini and it came with a DVD-burning SuperDrive that works just fine. I’ve never had a coaster.

  8. Rowlings says:

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe Apple waded through all the $30 SuperDrives out there and found an AWESOME one for $200 somewhere, and you are getting what you paid for?

  9. jared says:

    i bought one of those $30 Superdrives that you mentioned, well over 2 years ago, and i have burned about 4 dvds a weeksince than, and have received 2 coasters, both of which were my fault. Ive recommended this drive to 3 other people, all of which have had no coasters either

    basically what im saying is, stop being an apple fanboi!

  10. Rowlings says:

    Jared, that was sarcasm. Like 105% of what I write.

  11. Yup, your title basically sums it up… WTF, Apple? You’re going to make me buy an external DVD burner, huh? And while we’re griping… eight hundred and fifty f-ing dollars for a 3 gb memory upgrade?

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