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My theory on why Apple isn't including Blu-ray drives in Macs

David Chartier

Engadget HD linked a theory from Robert X. Cringely as to why Apple hasn't included Blu-ray drives in any of their Macs yet (it isn't even an option in the Mac Pro), despite being on the board of the Blu-ray Disc Association. Mr. Cringely more or less links the lack of Blu-ray in Macs to movies and Apple's strategy with downloadable iTS content and the upcoming iTV. The thinking goes: if Apple can sell you a downloadable movie through the iTS and an iTV on which to watch it - why undercut that model with a Blu-ray drive built right into the machine?

I disagree. There's plenty of other uses and potential (heck, they can hold up to 50GB) in these warring next generation optical formats (Blu-ray and their mortal enemy, HD-DVD), and that's exactly the point: these formats are in the middle of an industry polarizing war, and I think Apple hasn't committed to including either in their machines because they don't want risk leaving their customers high and dry once the dust settles and (dear lord, finally) one format wins out. The iTS/movie downloads/iTV theory doesn't hold water in my book also because that would mean they should eliminate CD and DVD drives from their machines - after all, those drives can undercut their iTunes Store music and movie purchases, right? These discs can hold a lot more than simple movies.

This ridiculous Blu-ray/HD-DVD situation is Betamax vs. VHS all over again, and while Apple is known for pushing the envelope on which technologies they adopt, I believe they're simply waiting for an actual standard to emerge. The only question is when these camps are going to get over themselves and stop forcing consumers to stock up on Advil for every trip to the electronics store.

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